Body image was first defined as the “picture of our own body which we form in our own minds” (Schilder, 1935). It is the way in which the body appears to us.
Body and identity are personally and socially constructed. All too often, we are conscious of having a big butt, pear shape body, old-looking hands, … We all have a body part we are not all that happy about. It can be more than one part that troubles us. Unfortunately, that part of the body often makes us feel not fit to fit in.
We may feel shame, at risk of being shunned, of not being allowed to belong as a group member. After all, ugliness is associated with very negative traits such as low intellectual capacity, lower achievement, criminal behavior, and so on.
The Greeks used the word stigma to refer to bodily signs that exposed something unusual and wrong about the moral status of a person. Not looking good involves a risk of being unable to move up in the world. Our search for beauty should not come as a surprise. After all, and regardless of how we define beauty: Beauty is a virtue.
It is not uncommon to feel shame and not fit to fit in. Some people remember who said what. Others do not remember how they received their judgmental message. A few even acknowledge that we can be our worst enemies. In any case, such an idea can hurt like a pinprick. It can hurt for a long, long time.
You can feel better. The first step is to open up and ask for help.
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