Taking a new look at body image & the pursuit of perfection


In today’s social media obsessed world, many women feel under pressure to pursue a physical perfection that is simply unattainable. Sadly, experts agree that most women (and some men) find it near impossible to accept their flaws, especially when it comes to their appearance. 

Given that the pressures on both women and men are only likely to increase in the future, we need to equip ourselves with strong coping mechanisms to prevent falling victim to such a condition.

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Often, we are comparing ourselves to images that are not a reflection of reality.

Firstly, it helps to understand what we are dealing with.

When an individual (who places a very high value on beauty) compares herself to other people, she minimises herself to that part or feature which she admires in others.

The more extreme that difference is within her to that person, the more she can distort her view of her own features. She will perceive herself as less beautiful than she is, not recognising her own unique features.  

Delving Deeper…

To address the evil of comparison, it is helpful to identify first of all whom (or what) you are comparing yourself to. Often, we are comparing ourselves to pictures and images that are simply not a reflection of reality (many images are doctored and tinkered with using advanced technology).

For example, I worked with someone who was comparing herself to JLo. I happened to have some actual pictures of her before they cropped and altered the images. The real pictures didn’t intimidate the woman I was working with, but the ‘after’ pictures did.

In reality, every woman, even supermodels, have physical elements that they do not like. The key, in my view, is to discover what they do like. Often, we are too humble to admit what we see in others in ourselves sometimes, and therefore we minimise ourselves.

The important thing is to ask: Where do I have the trait I see in them in my own form?

The moment our opinion of ourselves is equal to what we perceive in others, the dysmorphic view changes.

Let’s look at the scenario of a 50-year-old woman who is saying ‘I can’t compete with this younger 35 year old’. I would ask her, where exactly is it that you fail to compete?

She will answer: I lack the skin tone, the fit body, etc, which is attractive to men.

My advice would be for her to consider the fact that she has sex appeal that can attract men, because there are several areas of life that are attractive and appealing to the opposite sex! It’s not just physical. Many women have this idea that it is all about their physical appearance, but men are actually looking for someone who has depth, ambition, passion, intellect, etc.  

In short, the key is to go and find out what the feature, trait or quality is in others that you are comparing yourself to. Once you find this out, you can look for the elements in yourself where you do actually have incredible value, attractiveness and appeal. It’s all about identifying and acknowledging your own magnificence. 

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