Body image is as much a mental state as well as it is emotional: it’s both the mental picture that you have of your body and the way you feel about your body when you look in a mirror.
Healthy body image is more than simply tolerating what you look like or “not disliking” yourself. A healthy body image means that you truly accept and like the way you look right now, and aren’t trying to change your body to fit the way you think you should look. It means recognising the individual qualities and strengths that make you feel good about yourself beyond weight, shape or appearance, and resisting the pressure to strive for the myth of the “perfect” body that you see in the media, online, in your communities.
Self-esteem is how you value and respect yourself as a person - it is the opinion that you have of yourself inside and out. Self-esteem impacts how you take care of yourself, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Self-esteem is about your whole self, not just your body. Both body image and self-esteem are a reflection of our self-worth and sense of belonging.
When you have good self-esteem, you value yourself, and you know that you deserve good care and respect - from yourself and from others. You can appreciate and celebrate your strengths and your abilities, and you don’t put yourself down if you make a mistake. Good self-esteem means that you still feel like you’re good enough even when you’re dealing with difficult feelings or situations.
See how good body image and self-esteem positively impact mental health:
Positive body image, self-esteem, and mental health are not about making yourself feel happy all the time. It is about respecting yourself and others, thinking realistically, and taking action to cope with problems or difficulties in healthy ways.
Below, see how poor body image and self-esteem negatively impact mental health:
Negative thoughts and feelings mean that people start to focus on shortcomings or problems in one area or one situation, it becomes very easy to only see problems in many other areas or situations.
Over the next few days we, at The Charity for Civil Servants, are going to focus on Body Image and the impact that it can have on ourselves, on those we love and what you can do to tackle the impact of negative body image.