Why Aren't You Satisfied With Your Body?

20 October, 2020
Dissatisfaction with your body usually stems from social pressure, along with certain dysfunctional beliefs that many of us hold. Today, we'll talk about how to change your self image.

Most of us have been unsatisfied with our bodies at one point or another. You’ve probably looked in the mirror and thought “I don’t like what I see”. Or tried clothes on in a department store dressing room and felt uncomfortable in your own skin. Wanting to get rid of, add, or change different parts of your body is a common desire. But why aren’t you satisfied with your body?

Nevertheless, being unsatisfied with your own body goes far beyond the purely physical. Plenty of people feel that their worth and success is determined by how they look. Consequently, feeling like you don’t meet the common beauty standards makes you feel like a failure, incapable, and unworthy.

Why don’t I like my body?

A woman who isn't satisfied with her body.

External causes

Culture and society have a strong influence on people’s self-image. Beauty standards have changed over the years, but the ideas about what’s acceptable and desirable have always been very limited.

Today, the ideal is unrealistic and unreachable for both women and men.

Above all, these imposed traits make no sense, considering the great diversity of human bodies in the world. Trying to meet the very limited standards of what’s considered beautiful can cause psychological damage to those who don’t fit the bill. You can see evidence of this in practically any store with a small range of available sizes.

Therefore, we grow up rejecting our bodies, feeling inadequate, and mentally berating ourselves for not meeting the standards. The social pressure can also be devastating. After all, from a very young age, children start rejecting anything that’s different.

Internal reasons why you aren’t satisfied with your body

What we discussed above are standards that are imposed on people. However, other aspects of this issue have to do with your personality and attitude. Certain behaviors and ideas can lead you to have a negative self-image.

  • Unfair comparisons. It’s evident that beauty standards exist, but it’s up to you to understand that they’re unrealistic and there’s no reason to measure yourself against them. Constantly comparing yourself to celebrities or even other people in your life will make you feel bad about yourself. Instead, try to recognize and value the incredible variety of human bodies and shapes.
  • Rigid or dichotomous thinking. This is thinking that there are only ever two possibilities that are at odds with each other. If you have a so-called “negative” trait, for example, you automatically fall into the “ugly” category. Focusing only on the part of your body you don’t like will make you feel very unsatisfied with how you look.
  • Mistaken assumptions. When you don’t like the way you look, you’ll assume that other people don’t either. What’s worse, you think that you’re unworthy of love and attention simply because you don’t meet the conventional beauty standards. You might even believe that you don’t have the “right” to dress in certain kinds of clothing or do certain activities. Poor body image can lead to feelings of failure on a social and emotional level.
A woman wearing a sweater.

What can you do if you’re not satisfied with your body?

There are two important things you should focus on. First, work on changing the beliefs and attitudes that are making you feel bad about yourself. Open your mind and start thinking good thoughts about your physical qualities. You should also try to separate your worth as a person from your outward appearance.

The second thing is to work on loving and accepting your body exactly how it is. Appreciate all of the things your body allows you to do. Remember that your beautiful body allows you to breathe, laugh, run, and hug your loved ones. Make peace with the image in the mirror and treat yourself with love and respect, no matter how you look.

If you want to take care of your body and your looks in a healthy way, you have to start with unconditional acceptance. If you do that, you’ll be exercising and eating healthy for the right reasons. You’ll be taking care of yourself because you love your body, not because you hate it.

  • Martínez-Oña, M. D. M., & Muñoz-Muñoz, A. M. (2015). Iconografía, estereotipos y manipulación fotográfica de la belleza femenina. Estudios sobre el mensaje periodístico21(1), 369-384.
  • Salaberria, K., Rodríguez, S., & Cruz, S. (2007). Percepción de la imagen corporal. Osasunaz8(2), 171-83.