Fat, ugly, scrawny, pimply, too tall, too short – even though everybody is different, we can sometimes feel as though our bodies aren’t perfect. When you start to believe your looks determine your value as a person, and you fixate on parts of your body you don’t like, then you might be experiencing body image issues.
If you’re not careful, body image issues can escalate into bigger problems, such as:
Why do I feel negative about my body?
54% of teenage girls and 41% of teenage guys are dissatisfied with their looks. A huge reason for this is because of the unrealistic expectations placed on them by the media. Anyone who doesn’t fit the popular idea of what “beauty” or “hotness” is can find themselves feeling inadequate and wishing they could change their looks.
It doesn’t help that fashion also reinforces these stereotypes – you can feel as though you have to dress a certain way to be attractive.
Your peers also play a big part in this – you might develop through puberty at a different rate to others, and they can call attention to it in a negative way. Being rejected by someone you’re into or being pressured to look a certain way can leave you feeling inadequate. You might be encouraged to make fun of the way other people look.
It’s hard to ignore things people say about you, especially if they come from friends, crushes, or family. Remember, you’re not defined by the way you look. Try to spend time with people that make you feel happy and confident, and avoid watching or reading media that encourages you to look a certain way.
Managing body issues and building healthy habits
If you think a friend is experiencing body issues, or you’re feeling bad about your own body, here’s what you can do to help:
Always focus on your positive qualities, and remember that everyone in the world is different – you don’t have to look a certain way to be happy or have an amazing life. Rock your individuality and celebrate your body!