‘Mirror mirror on the wall’….
‘Mirror mirror on the wall’….
Body image by definition is “how someone sees their own body and how attractive they feel themselves to be”.
So let’s break this definition down.
We ‘see’ the image of ourselves reflected back in the mirror and we compare this image with that of another image, real or perceived, to be able to come up with the conclusion that we are attractive to others or not. A brief sidestep into the toxicity of comparison – it is a destructive, toxic and unnecessary behaviour that we have not only normalised in our society, we have made it essential to ‘self-improvement’. The truth is that the moment you compare yourself with another, you can say goodbye to self-love, appreciation and acceptance of yourself. It sets you up to never feel good enough about yourself, and sets up an impossible, never achievable goal … for how can you be, look or act like another and be your true and authentic self?
If comparison didn’t exist, then the second part of this definition “… and how attractive they feel themselves to be” would have no meaning.
In our current world, there is no end of images of female and male bodies in magazines, on TV, in movies, social media, and even animated games and movies, as well as what we see at work, out shopping, socially, in our families, etc.
But is the above really the problem? Yes, we are saturated by all the images we see, but when the image is picture perfect, body image issues can still exist.
So, the problem nor the solution is in censoring what we see. That would be impossible and ridiculous. The question to be asked is, ‘Why do some people have issues with their own body?’ – Why do we even have something known as Body Image issues, or poor body image? Why is this even a ‘thing?’
What is going on for someone to end up with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, an addiction to dieting or exercise, or to resort to surgery in an effort to make their body look a certain way? Or, at the other end of the spectrum, for a person to feel that it is impossible to keep up with these images and to give up and let their body go to pot!
Why does one person have a body image issue and another does not? We are not born with body issues. Do you see babies or very young children checking each other out and comparing their own body with that of another? No, we don’t.
Having a body image issue has more to do with what is going on inside than it does with what we see in the mirror.
If we are looking after ourselves as a whole – body and being – then what we see in the mirror will be different than if we are not looking after ourselves as a whole, will it not? If we have no connection to our body other than what our eyes see, then how will we see and treat ourselves? Does this not offer some explanation as to why a woman or a man can have a picture-perfect body based on society’s current ideal but they themselves are not satisfied with how they look and still have anxiety, low self-confidence or self-worth issues?
If we are not looking after our own body and have a poor diet, poor exercise, poor self-care, then how is our body going to feel, and how will this be reflected in what we see in the mirror? If we have low self-worth or self-loathing, then no matter what size, shape or way our body is, we will still not feel good about ourselves.
Is it possible to not be the so-called perfect shape and size, and not fit the images of body perfection or even close to it and yet feel amazing, sexy, strong and lovely about yourself and your body?
We are tricked so much by our eyes – one sense out of six (our sixth sense is otherwise known as our Essence), and it is not the most accurate sense despite what we have been led to think.
If we see ourselves as purely human, then we will never be satisfied with our body. However, if we allow ourselves to be connected with our body (rather than in our thoughts/mind) and start to re-connect with the being inside, then the way we ‘see’ our own body will change, and there will be no need to look outside at the body of another to see if we measure up. We will measure up no matter what and will know what we need to do if indeed changes are needed in how we care and nurture our own body and our being.
The definition of body image then would not be needed because there would be no looking outside of ourselves at the body of another, simply the confirmation in the mirror of how we feel about ourselves from the inside.