Does something about your body bug you? Maybe you believe you'd be happier if only you were thinner, taller, shorter, more muscular -- whatever.
If so, you may be creating frustration and anxiety by trying to reach unattainable standards of beauty. To a healthy and productive life, experts suggest that you stop trying to change your natural body shape and start changing the way you think about it, instead.
Everyone has a "body concept" – a set of ideas about himself or herself and his or her body, including what he or she looks like. A person's body concept changes over the years and depends a great deal on what's happening at a given point in time. A person can also change his or her "body-esteem" – or opinions about what he or she sees in the mirror.
His eyes/her eyes
In general, society gives men and women very different messages about their bodies, how they should look and what they should do.
Men, for example, are more often taught to think of their body as an "instrument of action" that is strong and powerful. Most women, in contrast, tend to focus on being physically attractive and, many times, overly thin.
The sexes also tend to evaluate their bodies in different ways:
• Women either love their body or hate it. Men feel either positive or neutral.
• Women look at their body part by part. Men consider their body as a whole.
• Women are concerned about looking young. Men don't mind a few wrinkles.
Accent the positive
Low body-esteem, like low self-esteem, can leave you feeling depressed, frustrated, and socially isolated.
It can also lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as eating disorders, using steroids to build more muscle, fad diets, and even smoking to control weight.
Instead of punishing yourself for what you don't have or can never be, try building a positive concept of your body and yourself based on values that will last.
Here are some strategies: