What to Do if You Feel Like You Hate Your Body
At some point in your life, you’ve probably told yourself that you hate your body It’s not easy to love it every day or appreciate each of its imperfections and forms. However, those moments pass and, in the end, we accept it as it is because this fantastic physical vessel is what allows us to feel, breathe, hug, work, enjoy life, and interact with others.
However, in recent years, more and more people have a bad relationship with their body image. They reject themselves and they hate the being that’s reflected in the mirror because it doesn’t harmonize with the supposed “ideal bodies” they see on social networks or with those that are sold to us in our consumer society. How to deal with these situations? Learn more about it with the following article.
You don’t have to love your body, but you do need to respect it and accept it. However, culture and even education make more and more young people hate their body image, which leads to self-destructive behaviors.
How do you know if you feel like you hate your body?
It’s possible that every time you look in the mirror or at your selfies you tell yourself that you hate your body. What’s more, you may have a teenage child who expresses it frequently. At what point do we begin to worry about our own or others’ perceptions? When do we cross the line from “normal” to “pathological”?
A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry highlights that, although it’s normal to have concerns about physical appearance, when these become excessive, we could be within the spectrum of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
Consequently, it’s important to detect those negative feelings and attributions toward one’s own image that are more problematic. So that you’re more aware of these types of situations and negative feelings, we’ll list them below:
- Looking in the mirror, you only see flaws.
- You feel ashamed of your physical appearance.
- You obsess over your face, hair, nose, and skin.
- You constantly compare yourself to others.
- You experience feelings of insecurity and inferiority.
- You feel sadness and a lack of motivation because of your body type.
- Your romantic or sexual life is very limited by this problem.
- The idea of resorting to surgery haunts you persistently.
- You restrict your social life due to displeasure with your own image.
- These concerns regarding your own body occupy a good part of the day.
- You drift into compulsive behaviors such as constantly looking in the mirror or brushing your hair.
You may be interested in reading: How I Learned to Live in My Body
How to stop hating your body
Despite the fact that you’re told to “accept yourself as you are”, doing so isn’t easy. That’s because the mind is dominated by cognitive biases that feed the negative view of one’s own body image.
Also, there are learned beliefs and many unconscious irrational ideas that aren’t easy to deactivate. Such reformulation requires time and work. Let’s see what strategies are useful if you feel like you hate your body.
Practice body neutrality
Realities such as body dysmorphic disorder, as well as one’s own persistent dislike for physical image, have a part of their origin in low self-esteem. Meta-analysis such as the one reported in BMC Psychiatry indicates that this same factor is usually a transversal element.
One way to deactivate that rejection when you tell yourself that you hate your body is practicing body neutrality. It’s an emotional and motivational strategy aimed at improving the relationship you have with your physique. To do this, take note of the following recommendations:
- Make a list of everything you can do with your body: Breathe, see, walk, work, drive, hug, kiss, write, read, play with your pet, dance, and much more.
- Do rewarding activities: Take a walk, enjoy relaxing baths, dance, sing, etc. Carry out activities that allow you to enjoy each physical sensation that your body gives you.
- Accept your image without the need to love every part of it: Just appreciate everything that your body allows you to do, which is no small thing. This task involves developing proper empathy with yourself and allowing yourself to exist in your body without judging it.
One way to improve your relationship with your body is to practice bodily neutrality. It consists of stopping judging yourself, learning to live emphatically with your body, and enjoying what it allows you to do.
Regulate the use of social networks
We live in a society dominated by the tyranny of body image. Advertising, cinema, television, and social networks are media that impose the distorted idea that there are “standard bodies”. Therefore, any person who doesn’t conform to these ideal measurements, shapes, and proportions feels rejected and even ends up thinking that there’s something wrong with them.
Research such as that published in Clinics in Dermatology limits this problem. The use of social media and exposure to idealistic images of the body are behind many disorders and suffering. Therefore, it’s essential that you improve the use you make of social media and your exposure to their messages.
To achieve this goal, take note of the keys that can help in the process, which we’ll share below:
- Rephrase the social messages that cause you to strive for perfection: Remember that ideal bodies don’t exist. Real bodies do.
- Choose accounts that extol diversity, body health, and body positivity: The moment you start following figures or celebrities who value and respect all body types, the algorithm will continue to show you similar profiles.
- Limit or regulate the use you make of the media: Sometimes, you can spend too much time exposing yourself to messages that hurt and images that unconsciously reinforce the rejection of your body. Make good use of technology.
Heal yourself from the messages you received about your body throughout your life
It’s possible that the first time you said to yourself “I feel like I hate my body” was in your early teens. Often, our closest environment reinforces in us a rejection of our own image. There are messages like “You’d be prettier if you lost weight” that fill us with a very early discomfort toward our self-image.
To heal and build a good relationship with your body, you have to reformulate all those verbalizations that someone directed at you at some point. It’s a complex psychological task that even involves reviewing beliefs that you took for granted. Consider the following actions:
- Keep a diary and put nice phrases about yourself in it.
- Write the beliefs you have about your own image.
- Turn those negative messages around and transform them into positive ones.
- Ask yourself where these messages come from (from your family, past partners, friends, etc.).
- Understand that displeasure toward your image is a constructed idea that must be healed.
If you reject your body image, you may have grown up in a family that judged you on your physical appearance. The messages from our environment condition us.
Surround yourself with people who have a healthy body image
You may have a friend who’s obsessed with their physique. Spending time with people who are fixated on losing weight and always displaying supposed perfection, can influence you in a negative way. Once again, the messages that come from your environment may distort, little by little, the relationship you have with your body.
It would be very beneficial to have the closeness of figures who accept themselves as they are and who also value you for who you are. Self-esteem is also built by the words that come from those around us. Therefore, having friends who appreciate you, validate you, and don’t judge you by your body is something very healthy.
What to do if you feel like you persistently hate your body?
If you can’t stop thinking about your body and your psychosocial life is very limited, it’s time to ask for help. In general, this persistent rejection often translates into self-harm and even suicidal ideation. Avoid getting to this point. There are people who are specialized in this field who can help you very effectively.
Research such as that published in Behavior Therapy suggests that cognitive-behavioral therapy, combined with antidepressants, is appropriate. Although this study focuses on the young population, it should be noted that its benefits can also be correlated to the adult population.
You’ll enjoy reading: Body Awareness Helps You Understand Your Emotions
If I change my body, will hate or dislike go away?
There are many people who resort to cosmetic surgery in order to achieve a physical appearance that they can finally appreciate. However, will that negative self-perception change if you transform your body?
We can all resort to physical exercise and undergo surgery in order to see ourselves better off. There’s no denying that these changes often boost a person’s self-esteem. But we must be careful. Cosmetic surgery clinics should evaluate for the presence of a BDD; in these cases, the changes don’t guarantee that the person will feel better. The hate persists and they continue to need more and more operations.
To conclude, if you experience a bad relationship with your body image and those negative thoughts don’t dissipate, ask for help. In these situations, changing your body will be useless because the problem is in your mind. And there’s help for it.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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