The Intersection of Body Image and IdentityMay 08, 2023
The relationship between body image and identity is closely connected. It's a complex topic, but an important one to explore. I'm covering this on the Confidently She podcast and in this post. In this blog post, we're going to take a closer look at why it's harmful to identify as your appearance and how it can affect your body image. Listen to the podcast on iTunes and Spotify.
First, let's talk about what it means to identify as your appearance. This is when you see your body as an essential part of who you are. For example, if you believe that your thinness or muscularity is what makes you attractive or successful, you may be identifying too closely with your appearance. When you identify as your appearance, you're essentially saying that your body is more important than any other aspect of your identity.
So why is this harmful to your body image? Well, for one thing, it puts an incredible amount of pressure on your physical appearance. When you see your body as the most important part of who you are, you're constantly evaluating and critiquing it. You may be more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like restrictive dieting or over-exercising, in order to maintain a certain look. You may also feel like you're never good enough, because your appearance will inevitably change over time.
Identifying as your appearance can also lead to a narrow and limiting view of yourself. When you define yourself solely by your physical attributes, you're overlooking all of the other amazing qualities that make you who you are. Your personality, your passions, your talents - these are all important parts of your identity that have nothing to do with your appearance. When you focus too much on your body, you risk losing sight of everything else that makes you unique and special.
So what can you do to break free from the trap of identifying as your appearance? Here are a few tips:
1. Focus on your inner qualities.
Make a list of all the things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your appearance. Maybe you're a great listener, or you have a talent for writing. Whatever it is, try to appreciate and celebrate these qualities just as much as you would your physical appearance. You can also make a "baller list" which is everything you've accomplished so far in life. This includes things like education milestones, career accomplishments, physical accomplishments, etc. you can look at this list and remind yourself you're a baller.
2. Challenge your negative self-talk.
When you find yourself criticizing your body, try to reframe your thoughts in a more positive way. Instead of saying "I hate my thighs," try saying "My thighs help me walk and run and dance." By shifting your perspective, you can start to see your body in a more positive light. Challenging your self-talk is the biggest game changer for body confidence!
3. Surround yourself with positivity.
Seek out people who appreciate you for who you are, not just what you look like. Spend time with friends who uplift you and make you feel good about yourself. Avoid people who bring you down or make you feel bad about your appearance.
Remember, your body is just one part of who you are. It's important to appreciate and take care of it, but it's not the only thing that matters. By focusing on your inner qualities and challenging the idea that your appearance defines you, you can start to feel more confident and positive about yourself.