1. the idea, conception or mental image one has of oneself;
2. a mental picture that depicts how we believe others see us (height, weight, hair color, gender, etc.);
3. things learned by us about ourselves from personal experience or by internalizing the judgments of others.
Basically how do we answer this question:
What do I believe people think about me?
Many women, including myself, struggle with their self-image. Self-image can be about our body image or our self-esteem, either way they are both related. If we have a low self-esteem it will affect how we see our body image. If we have a poor body image we probably have a low self-esteem. Because they are so closely related, by working on one we help both.
Here are some shocking female body image statistics:
- 7 out of 10 women get depressed and angry when looking at thin female fashion models.
- 2 out of 5 women would give up 3-5 years of their life if they could reach their goal weight.
- In the U.S. approximately 7 million girls and women experience eating disorders.
- 51% of girls between 9-10 yrs old say they feel better about themselves when dieting.
- 80% of women when asked are dissatisfied with their own appearance.
- 88% of girls admitted they feel a need to “look perfect.”
- Young girls are more afraid of getting fat than nuclear war, cancer or losing their parents.
Culture Beauty Standards Then and Now
- In 1917 the “perfect” woman was 5’4″ and weighed 140 pounds.
- Today’s average fashion model is 5’11” and weighs 115 pounds.
- Beauties of yesteryear like Marilyn Monroe would be considered fat by today’s standards.
- Today the average American woman is 5″4 and 140 lbs
Poor self-image can be the result of many things:
- Criticisms – Accumulated through childhood from parents or peers.
- Personality type – Type A personalities are prone to perfectionism and over achieving.
- Media influence – Television, magazines, billboards, Internet all push the “perfect look.”
The technical term for self-image used by psychologists is “self-schema.” A schema by definition is a diagram, plan, conceptual framework, or underlying structure. If our schema, our underlying structure is built on what we believe the opinion others have of us, what a shaky foundation that is!
Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to You, Lord, because You are my mighty rock and my protector. ~ Psalm 19:14 CEV
- I like myself!
- I am a positive person and I have a positive life.
- I am loved by others, valuable, smart and creative.
How to Love The Body You Have Today
- Silence your inner “mean girl!”
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Celebrate your body for the marvelous things it can do.
- Stop weighing yourself. Focus on how your clothes fit and how you feel.
- Surround yourself with people who have healthy relationships with their bodies.
- Nurture your inner self with bubble baths, massages, prayer, meditation, inspirational reading.