Your Self Image reflects on your Self Esteem

He looked at himself in the mirror yet again – a closer look this time. Finally, he smiled. Yes, he had lost some weight. His morning routine to the gym, evening walk and his strict diet had finally resulted in visible weight loss. For months he had been off his favourite food now, forgotten what it is to eat what he loved. He was not a foodie. He called his wife to show her. She smiled – she understood his obsession to lose weight.  She was the one who been a witness to his low self-confidence because of that. To the outside world, he was a successful man – position, power, name and fame. People loved him for who he was. But he always had this ‘one’ thing that made him feel complexed.

Inner-image is the personal view we have of ourselves. It is a mental image of how we see ourselves – intelligent, beautiful, kind, talented, etc. It is a result of our learning and experiences in life.

Parents, teachers, friends, media play a critical role in forming this self-image. Our relationships reinforce what we think and feel about ourselves. The image we see in the mirror may be a real or distorted view of who we really are. Based on this view, we develop either a positive or a negative self-image.

Inner-image is important because how we think about ourselves directly affects how we feel about ourselves and how we respond to life. Self-image can determine the quality of our relationships with others. How we think and feel about ourselves influences the way we react or respond to life stressors.

Body image is a part of self-image. Our body-image includes more than what we look like or how others see us. It also refers to how we think, feel and react to our own self-perceived physical attributes. Body image is how someone feels about his or her own physical appearance. Heard his before – I’m fat, I don’t look attractive, I have large thighs, I want bigger muscles/ oval face/ to lose weight around my stomach /tighter abdomen….

There is a close relationship between body image and self-esteem. Advances in technology and in particular the rise of the mass media have caused normal concerns about how we look to become –obsessions. Thanks to media, we have very strict standards of what is attractive.

The ‘bias for being attractive’ operates in almost all social situations. In a society that is obsessed with ‘physical attractiveness’ the pressure is on all alike. Traditionally, women are more self-critical than men. This is because they are judged more on appearance than men and their standards of female beauty are higher. In the most recent research, there is some evidence of an increase in body-dissatisfaction among males. Men undergoing the so-called ‘mid-life crisis’ – i.e. men between the ages of about 40 and 55 – are most likely to be dissatisfied with their appearance. When men are dissatisfied, the main focuses of concern are height, stomachs, chests and hair loss. We may see them surreptitiously drawing in their stomachs and walking ‘taller’ as they pass the mirror.

Bad News: We live in a society that has obsessed with being Attractive and beautiful. These seeds a distorted body image is sown in childhood (Age 2+ onwards).

Good News: Body images are not fixed by expert help (There are many ways to remodel the outside- however, it also requires extensive inside changes in body-image.)