A blogger has been successful on the networks after recording a very realistic video about her image. Called “Tour pelo meu corpo”, she shows in an authentic and humorous way all the tricks she uses to hide “her defects” in the photos she posts on Instagram. This video made me reflect a lot on the issue of our self-image and the desperate search of some women who still hope to achieve the perfect body. To what extent does the search for self-esteem turn into a desperate search for acceptance? How healthy is the need to feel more beautiful? Let’s find out now!
In today’s text we will address the following topics:
- Self-image and self-esteem
- Unreal patterns
- Worrying numbers
- An attempt at change
- No Photoshop
- Beyond beauty
- The mirrors that reflect our image
- A tour of my body – Tips to accept yourself
- Change depends on you
Self-image and self-esteem
In all my texts and lectures I always make a point of stressing that women need to have self-esteem to feel good. In this sense, to increase self-esteem the woman starts paying attention to both the psychological and the physical aspects.
However, when I talk about self-esteem, the key is that people learn to accept themselves, to highlight their strengths. This means that the woman needs to accept her self-image. If I took “a tour of my body” today, I would accept that my “fine changes”, my wrinkles and spots on my arm are part of who I am. I feel beautiful with them and I don’t want my body to look like anyone else’s. My body, combined with my personality, my qualities and defects are part of the true Cátia.
One of the main reasons why women do not accept their self-image is that the media works massively with an unrealistic standard of beauty. Actresses, bloggers, media personalities work tirelessly to convince you that it is possible to achieve the “perfect body”. However, only 5% of the female population would be able to reach that body type and only after much effort. This is because we have countless biotypes in Brazil and most of them would not be adapted to the “ideal body formula”. This does not mean that their bodies are worse or better, it is just different.
According to the cape Dove “The truth about real beauty”, 9 out of 10 girls would like to change something about their appearance, 6 out of 10 are so concerned about it that they prefer to stop performing important activities when they are not confident enough with their appearance, and only 4% of women think they are beautiful. Among Brazilian women, the percentage is higher, 14%.
Another worrying fact: 59% say they feel pressure to be beautiful. The survey shows, however, a light at the end of the tunnel: 72% of women say they are satisfied with their own beauty, even though they do not necessarily consider themselves beautiful.
Other surveys indicate that 80% of women are unhappy with the reflection in the mirror and more than half have a distorted view of themselves, thinking that they wear a larger number than yours, for example. Among the physical and psychological effects of low self-esteem are muscle or head pain, gastrointestinal problems, anguish, anxiety, depression and interpersonal conflicts, according to an ISMA-BR survey presented at the European Congress of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
An attempt at change
Some brands have already begun to realize that it is necessary to adapt to the new times and are doing advertisements encouraging women to love themselves as they are. One of the most famous campaigns was “Retratos da Real Beleza”, by Dove, which achieved a success rarely seen in world advertising. It is one of the most watched video advertising in the history of YouTube, with millions of hits, as well as being the winner of the main prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Prix. And it also has a totally Brazilian concept and creation.
In advertising, Dove asked women to describe themselves. Behind a mysterious curtain where an FBI-trained forensic artist remained he designed his portraits based on his descriptions. Then a stranger, randomly chosen, was asked to describe the same woman, to then see the difference between the two descriptions. The result? Two completely different pictures. The one based on the description of the unknown was more beautiful, cheerful and accurate. What this campaign proves: that women have a wrong self-image, that they are more beautiful than they imagine.
In France, a new law that entered a few months ago, obliges all fashion publications to inform when a model’s photo has been retouched. In case of non-compliance with the law, the publication can be punished with a fine of around R $ 140 thousand.
With the measure, the French government tries to contain the manipulation of images treating the technique as a public health problem. The change is expected to help contain extreme thinness in models and disorders related to body image among those who crave the perfect body and are inspired by those who have had the photos retouched.
France is not the first country to introduce such a rule. Something similar is already in place, for example, in Israel. But the obsession with thinness has intensified the debate in France. Thousands of people suffer from anorexia in the country with the lowest average body mass index in Europe.
A few years ago, the famous French cosmetics brand L’Oréal had to withdraw the makeup advertising campaign led by Julia Roberts. The reason? The British organization that controls the commercials detected that the photographs were too retouched and resulted in misleading promises to the public. The campaign photos of Roberts’ face, a 43-year-old actress, looked like a 30-year-old woman. This could confuse the buyer.
In addition to the beauty standards we are submitted to, we still have to deal with the expectations of our society regarding our role as a woman, mother, professional … We must always be impeccable, have a good job and still have time to pay attention to our children and companion. We are always trying to be more friendly, more pleasant, more tolerant. All of this with the smile on your face. So, we want to be perfect, and when we can’t, we don’t accept frustration.
What you need to keep in mind is that perfection does not exist. And as hard as you try, you will never be able to please everyone. So do not cancel your personality just to please someone, it will only affect your psychological.
The mirrors that reflect our image
There are two types of mirrors that we find in our lives: real and physical mirrors, in which we look to see our reflections, and metaphorical or symbolic mirrors, which reflect who we are and how we look at ourselves.
Let’s take the focus off society’s messages and ideals about our body image and return to our personal self-projections. Accepting ourselves as we are is the most powerful mirror we can see. So the goal here is to improve your ability to embrace who you are, in the most loving way possible.
You are the only person around you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year after year. You are responsible for your life, your appearance and, finally, how you feel in and out every day. That is why it is extremely important to learn to be less self-critical and to love yourself more.
A tour of my body – Tips to accept yourself
1. Take time out each day to focus on being your best
You cannot have negative thoughts about your body if you are working to make it better. Take a yoga class, exercise, put on some good music and start dancing around the house. While you are doing these activities, focus on thinking about how good your body is and how wonderful it is that you are working to keep it healthy. If negative thoughts enter your mind, push them and focus on what you are doing at the moment.
2. Stop criticizing your appearance
Begin not to allow insignificant words about your body or yourself to enter your mind. If they do, switch to something positive about you, like “I’m a good person”, “I’m smart” or “I’m always there if someone needs me”. As I mentioned earlier, you cannot have a negative and positive thought at the same time, so keep only those positive ones!
3. Be good to your body so that you feel appreciated and pampered
Take a relaxing bath, go to a spa where you can get a massage that will make your skin feel soft. While you are doing these things, remember how you are enjoying and nourishing your body and that you deserve to feel good.
4. Stop comparing yourself with other people
We are all different, and no one is perfect. You will always find someone with a smaller waist, less cellulite or smoother skin.
Don’t also think that your neighbor or co-worker is better than you just because they have more friends or have a car or a house that you would like. Each has its own frustrations, its own challenges. It’s a losing battle to try to be like someone else, so instead, focus on being your best.
5. Celebrate your strengths
Although you may not love everything about yourself, there must be some parts of it that you can appreciate. Do you have beautiful legs? A hair that draws attention? A mouth that knows just the right words to say to comfort someone in pain? A good head for numbers? A special talent for music? Focus on those strengths and always try to improve them.
6. Set a goal
What do you want for your life? Do you have any goals or several? How will you achieve them? What are your priorities? Organize your ambitions and see what features can help you get there. If you want to pass a contest, start studying more. Want to lose weight? Start walking. No matter what your goal is, you need to start fighting for it.
Change depends on you
I will be realistic: it is not easy to change your self-image. After all, this image is constructed by several elements, be they psychological or physical. And although the video “a tour of my body” and campaigns like Dove are very successful, the truth is that most of society still believes in perfection. It’s a slow job, but I can guarantee it’s worth it. When you start to accept yourself, when you accept your self-image, you will discover the beautiful woman you are. Believe me, when that happens, your whole life will get better. So, start today to accept yourself more and criticize less. Love yourself!