Here’s What’s Standing Between You and a Healthy Body Image

Cardio, dental work, hair supplements, hyaluronic acid, cosmetic implants, and much, much more – there’s a reason why everyone is so very proactive about looking good. After all, looking good means good things like a pathway to a spectrum of favorable opportunities and well-being.

Unfortunately, looking good and thinking you look good are two different things, so that for many people having a healthy body image is not a reality. Why? Here are 3 reasons. 

Social Media Distortion

Social media is this whirlwind where people really go all out so that you’ll only get to see their best selves, tweaking images with filters and edits, carefully picking and choosing pictures that make them look flawless, perfect lighting, angles that defy gravity – you name it. It’s like this virtual stage where reality takes a back seat to what looks perfect. 

What this does is create this alternate reality where everyone seems to be living their best life so that comparisons,, where you fall short are inevitable.

How many times do you scroll through a feed full of people with killer abs, straight noses, and all those other “perfect” features? Yes, the reality may be very different, thanks to the magic of editing apps, but still, it’s like a highlight reel of the best and it can be damaging.

It’s crucial to recognize that these curated images rarely represent the diverse range of normal human appearances- fostering insecurity and contributing to the struggle for a positive body image.

Body Shaming Culture

Our culture really hones in on specific body types, thanks to media, ads, and societal norms. There’s this unspoken rule that certain bodies are ‘in,’ and it’s pervasive enough that there’s a lot of judgment for the “others.” In fact, the media for example often throws shade at bodies that don’t fit the supposed mold. Jokes, stereotypes, and even subtle cues send the message that if you don’t meet these standards, you’re somehow falling short. It’s like this silent pressure to conform.

And so if your body is not “perfect” and you’re constantly teased or mocked for not having the ‘ideal’ body in a culture that subtly tells people their bodies aren’t good enough, it’s little wonder that you’d have trouble recognizing when you have a perfectly great body. 

Internalized Criticism

Then, of course, the next phase is internalizing it all and actually – unfortunately – turning all these expectations into a self-critical monologue that plays on repeat.

It’s really very easy to start measuring ourselves against them so that such internalized judgment becomes a reflex that means constant self-evaluation where flaws seem magnified.

Think of looking in the mirror and immediately focusing on what doesn’t fit the supposed ‘ideal.’ It’s not just a one-time thing – it becomes a habit, and one that’s incredibly hard to break. And ultimately, if nothing is done, it becomes harder and harder to appreciate your own unique beauty.

Fortunately, knowing why is frequently a good first step, and there’s no reason why you can’t find ways around these and the other things standing between you and a healthy body image.