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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Warren

5 Body Image Myths to Stop Believing

From the moment we're born, we are surrounded by messages that impact our relationship with our body. We are told in so many different ways that smaller is more beautiful, weight loss should be celebrated, and gaining weight is bad, lazy, or means you've "let yourself go." This is problematic because our bodies are not meant to be put in this rigid box of rules! In order build a healthier relationship with self and body, it is essential to name and challenge the toxic messages that exist in our society. Below are five common body image myths that we will explore together. Let's see if we can ditch the unhelpful myths and step into acceptance, love, and/or peace with our bodies.

Women engaging in self care
  1. You must love your body in order to have healthy body image. The goal doesn't need to be loving your body's appearance. It's human of you to not fully like the way some body parts look and wish they were different. So what is the goal, you ask? Accepting your body so that you can love yourself. We want our presence, character, and who we truly are to be more important than our appearance. This mindset will give us the room to appreciate our bodies for what they do for us- legs that allow us to move freely throughout the world, arms that allow us to hug our loved one, a stomach that holds the food that will nourish our body and provide energy, etc. It's easy to believe that if you could just lose X number of pounds or have plastic surgery done, then you will find happiness. While these steps may provide some immediate relief, we see from research that it is not long lasting. Your body is not to blame. Your body was actually never the problem. Changing the outside does not address the beliefs, mindsets, fears, and insecurities on the inside.

  2. Confident people always like their bodies. People show you what they want you to see, and insecurities don't usually make the list. We assume that because someone is beautiful (in our eyes) or seems confident that they don't have bad body image days. This simply is not true. We are going to be our harshest critic, and no one is immune to the unhelpful and unrealistic beauty standards in our world. Also, confidence is a choice, not a destination or personality trait. By developing your confidence skills and choosing to use them, you can also be a generally confident person who sometimes has insecure moments.

  3. Your body shouldn't change size or shape over time. Bodies are supposed to evolve over time. Just because you were a certain size in high school does not mean that is your ideal size for adulthood. It is normal for our body weight and size to fluctuate and change. Not giving your body permission to embark on these changes sets us up for feeling inadequate and spending our lives tying our worth to the number on the scale. You don't have to live this way, and you are worth so much more than your size.

  4. Clothes that are too small are motivators to lose weight. I think most everyone can identify with the thought, "I don't want to get rid of this top... I may fit into it next summer." This is not a bad thought, as it's so understandable to like your clothes and not want to replace them. The thought of self compassion, on the other hand, says, "What is best for me" or "What do I need in this moment?" Seeing clothes that are too small and trying them on over and over can be a significant source of discouragement. This sends the message that you should fit into the clothes you have, rather than finding clothes that properly fit your body. Shaming yourself into any type of change is just not effective.

  5. Comparing your appearance to others on social media is not a big deal. There is substantial evidence that suggests a relationship between social media use and body dissatisfaction, disordered eating attitudes, anxiety, and depression. Have you ever been following someone (or multiple people) on social media and checked in with yourself about how seeing this person's content makes you feel? Social media is not ALL bad, but it is our responsibility to reflect on how the content we're consuming makes us feel. If following someone makes you feel inadequate, less than, sad, or jealous, it is time to unfollow them! This action has nothing to do with the person doing or being anything wrong... they are just no longer serving you. It is an act of self-kindness to adjust your social media to make sure it is serving you and bringing you joy. Your contentment matters!

Written By: Taylor Warren, Owner of The Grove Counseling & Consulting, LLC


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