How satisfied are you with your appearance?
Across the ages, norms of beauty have been set by cultures and passed down in the context of family, close community and friends. With time and technology, however, the setting of norms has changed and so has their impact.
A closer look at the actual impact of such media norms invites us to reconsider ways to re-set the criteria for our own definition of beauty.
Teens and Young Adults
The impact of the media doesn’t abate for adults. On a regular basis, men and women see what they could, should or once looked like. Whether married or single and regardless of life’s work, people fear being judged on the basis of media ideals which obscure diversity.
Whether a teen, a young adult or a mid-life adult, it is crucial to take back ownership of your own body image, use your own or a flexible version of cultural norms and reclaim a way to feel personal acceptance and satisfaction.
A crucial step is putting physical appearance into perspective as one aspect of your multi-dimensional self. There is little doubt that people will more readily respond to you and you will feel at your best if you are well groomed with good hygiene. That said, when you are in the zone of playing an instrument you love, preparing a special dinner that you never tried, winning the essay contest or making your friends laugh— you are more attractive than any media image. Who we are and how we look is a function of all of our talents and traits.
An important way to change the anxiety, self-criticism and doubt we feel about our appearance is to change what we think, more specifically to clarify distortions.
Consider these findings:
A study of 118 college men and 87 college women by Cohn and Adler found that 69% of the women chose the three thinnest silhouettes as most attractive to men. In reality only 25% of the men selected the thinnest figures as most attractive to them.
Similarly men also misjudged the body size most attractive to the women. Men overestimated the extent to which women view large and muscular male figures as attractive. The men thought women would prefer a build that was actually 15-20 lbs. more muscular than the ones the females actually preferred.
In a study reported by Nick Epley in his book Mindwise, research volunteers where asked to predict how attractive they would be rated by a member of the opposite sex who looked at a photograph of them.
Their accuracy was abysmal. Whereas people tend to evaluate themselves through a more microscopic lens, noting every flaw and imperfection, others see them with a much broader lens making note of general features not imperfect details.
People are much more likely to remember the bright eyes than the unexpected blemish.
Identify What You Can Control
A crucial step in putting physical attractiveness into perspective is recognizing what we can and cannot change and taking charge of what we can.
Appreciating your own results adds the glow of self-confidence that is very attractive.
Re-think and Balance Media Messages
Remembering that everyone on film is camera ready, that the perfect teen in the movie is actually 25 years old and that shows that celebrate diversity, gender differences , range of sizes and different life choices offer a crucial and balancing message is important. Be entertained and informed–not stifled by what you see.
Recognize Serious Problems
Commonly beginning in the teen years, and often underscored by genetic predisposition, some teens and adults become so obsessed with a perceived flaw that it impairs life functioning. For them there is no procedure, workout, or medical intervention that brings relief from anxiety, depression and even suicidal thinking. This often reflects Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. BDD is very treatable with a combination of medication and therapy. If you or someone you love is suffering in this way, professional help is an answer.
Look in the Mirror of Happiness
Nothing Makes People More Beautiful Than Happiness!
Listen in to Psych UP to hear Dr. Fugen Neziroglu discuss ” Helping Those Who Hate Their Bodies”
This post currently has
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.
From Psych Central's website:
Dissatisfied With Your Appearance? Re-set The Criteria of Beauty – PsychCentral.com (blog)Smart Health | Smart Health (July 2, 2014)
NHL Eastern Conference Free Agent Frenzy Roundup (July 5, 2014)
Last reviewed: 2 Jul 2014