Body image

Having a negative view of yourself can affect your behaviour in many unhelpful ways. For example, you might:

  • Avoid social situations
  • Not speak your mind
  • Not feel confident to express your uniqueness through styles of clothing or hair
  • Avoid activities and/or sports that expose your body

There can be many reasons that you might not feel comfortable with your body. Understanding that ...

  • The media significantly influences our perceptions and standards of physical beauty – they often portray super thin, taller than average women with perfect complexions and perfect bodies. It is simply unrealistic to look like this!
  • It can take time to adjust to the body changes that occur as a natural part of puberty
  • It is common to feel awkward and to become fixated on imperfections particularly during adolescence
  • It is common to want to portray your own unique look and style but also "fit in" and be accepted by your peers, but this isn’t always easy to do
  • Beauty has many definitions
  • People come in all shapes and sizes
  • The majority of people don’t look like models
  • Even models have had a lot of assistance to achieve their look – most of the images that are portrayed in magazines and commercials have been digitally modified to enhance models’ appearance
  • No one is perfect

... can help you set realistic expectations for yourself when it comes to your body. And you might find it helpful to:

  • Work on accepting your body
  • Focus on all the things that your body does for you–it helps you move, interact with others and have fun!
  • Focus on the aspects of your face and body that you like and then accentuate these
  • Be yourself when you are choosing clothes and accessories – people will admire you for expressing the real you
  • Accept compliments without debating the issue or dismissing the comment – just say "Thank you"
  • Maintain an active lifestyle and a body weight that is healthy for you (remembering that we all come in different shapes and sizes)

Check out our nutrition and exercise sections for more information that can help you with your body image.

Last Reviewed September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team

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