Body Image

All of the changes happening to your body during puberty impact your emotions. You might feel happy one moment, and then completely angry or sad the next. These kinds of mood swings are completely normal during adolescence. As your body changes, so does your self-image. It's not always easy to like every part of your looks, but when you get stuck on the negative, it can bring down your self-esteem. If you're feeling overwhelmed, it can help to talk about it with someone you trust like parents or friends.

Self-esteem is all about how you see yourself and how much you feel other people value you. This is important, because feeling good about yourself can affect your mental health, and how you act. There are a few things you can do to improve your own self-esteem:

  • Get to know yourself;
  • Identify your own strength and weaknesses; and
  • Find friends that like and appreciate you for who you are.

Body image is how you view your physical self - including whether you feel you are attractive and others like your looks. For many, especially young adults, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem.

Many things influence a person's self-esteem; these include:

  • Puberty
    • Many people struggle with their body image and self-esteem when they begin puberty, because it's a time when the body goes through many changes. These changes, combined with wanting to feel accepted, means it can be tempting to compare ourselves with others. The trouble with that is not everyone grows or develops at the same time, or in the same way. Everyone is different, and being different is normal!
  • Media and Other Outside Influences
    • Adolescence is a time when teens and young adults become more aware of celebrities and media images, as well as how other young people look and fit in. This is a time when people start to compare themselves to others or media images.
  • Families and School
    • Family life can sometimes influence our body image. Some parents or coaches might be too focused on looking a certain way, or changing our weight for sports teams. Family members might struggle with their own body image, which can influence a person's self-esteem, especially if they are sensitive to other peoples' comments. People can also experience hurtful comments about the way they look from classmates and peers, which can also affect body image and self-esteem.
  • Healthy Self-Esteem
    • If you have a positive body image, you probably accept yourself the way you are. This healthy attitude allows you to develop good friendships, become more independent, and challenge yourself physically and mentally; all of which can boost your self-esteem. A positive, optimistic attitude can help people develop strong self-esteem. Knowing what makes you happy and how to meet your goals can help you feel capable, strong, and in control of your life. A positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle are a great combination for building good self-esteem.

Tips for loving your body

Many people think they need to change how they look to feel good about themselves, but all you need to do is change the way you think about yourself. The following might help you do that.

  • Your body is your own, no matter what shape or size it comes in. Learn to love yourself, and try to focus on making yourself healthy and strong.
  • You are beautiful just the way you are! Remember, we are all imperfect, but that is what makes up unique and original. Remind yourself that "real people aren't perfect, and perfect people aren't real."
  • Make goals for yourself. Achieving your goal can boost your self-esteem!
  • Don't listen to negative comments coming from within, stop yourself! Appreciate that each person is more than just how he or she looks on any given day. Try to focus on what's unique and wonderful about you.
  • Compliment yourself at least 3 times every day. By focusing on the good thing, you can change how you feel about yourself.

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