The fear, anxieties and facts of body image

Being a woman has many perks but perhaps one of the largest pitfalls is that many women have no idea how wonderful their own bodies are.

Whether it’s snide comments about our changing bodies during puberty, an acne breakout or a pair of jeans that no longer fits (even though they are at least 3 years old) we are constantly forced to examine our bodies, often obsessing over “flaws” that only we see. As a woman, I admit I have struggled with this issue myself. All it took was one insensitive guy in highs school to deem me “thunder thighs,” to immediately take away my confidence. As the years have passed however, I am starting to realize that this is the only body I will ever have and really it’s not as terribly awful as I once believed.

For young girls growing up today, the pressures of “perfection” are ever mounting. Pop stars are constantly criticized when they experience sudden weight loss and completely chastised if they are caught on a beach wearing something that exposes cellulite (gasp), this is something as females we experience and you know what? All that matters is that you are comfortable in your skin - all other negative opinions need to come in one ear and out the other. You are fabulous, embrace it!

If I could write a letter to my younger self, or speak directly to young girls who have already begun experiencing insecurities about their bodies, I think I would highlight the following things.

1. High school is tough and criticism from classmates often spurs from their own insecurities.
When puberty hits, women sort of get the short-end of the stick. Not that the metamorphosis from girl to woman is not amazing and sexy, but these changes can cause unwanted attention, the type of attention that causes insecurities to fester.

2. Everyone has insecurities.
Even the popular head cheerleader in high school, the successful CEO and celebrities of all shapes and sizes – everyone has things that they notice about their bodies that they simply wish would go away. From the outside, a lot of people seem confident in their own bodies, but body image is something that affects more people than you can imagine.

3. Your view of yourself is not always the way other people view you.
This is especially true for those suffering from body dysmorphic disorder. Many people suffer unknowing from this type of mental illness that causes them to focus and obsess constantly on parts of their body that they can’t stand. Often these “flaws” are simply figments of the imagination. Many times this is what leads women (and men for that matter) down the path of constantly turning to plastic surgery after plastic surgery in an unsuccessful hunt to become “perfect.” Understand that the image you see in the mirror and scrutinize over is not what people see when they look at you and those who ever judge you based on your appearance, are those who are not worth having in your life.

Whether it takes telling yourself everyday in the mirror that you are beautiful the way you are or reminding yourself of positive daily affirmations throughout the day, getting to the point where you feel comfortable in your own skin and love your body may take some time, but it is well worth the effort.

Emily Murray is a contributing writer for KwikMed, the company approved by Watson Pharmaceuticals as the exclusive online distributor of the new morning after pill called ella.