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Body Image & Social Support

{My parents, Brian and I at Savannah, GA, taken almost three years ago}

While it’s important to build self-acceptance from the inside out, it’s also important to surround yourself with loving and supportive people who always have our hearts in mind.

My family has always made me feel beautiful. Even during those inevitably awkward adolescent acne-filled years, they made me feel beautiful.

Regardless of my weight or looks, my parents never had anything negative to say. There were no backhanded remarks or hints to lose weight.

They always supported me unconditionally in all areas of my life.

My longtime boyfriend also makes me feel beautiful, whether I’m dressed up, wearing makeup, or wearing sweats and haven’t washed my hair in a few days (which rarely happens, of course).

I have several friends who do the same. Who don’t fat talk or focus on appearances, and they’re incredibly positive.

But this wasn’t always the case.

I had friends who made me feel like crap. I let it happen, instead of standing up for myself and telling them where to go (in an assertive, not aggressive way, of course).

Today, I wanted us to think about the people in our lives. The people we surround ourselves with play a big role in our lives. They play a big role in how we see ourselves and how we feel about ourselves.

We know that others can help to derail our body image or to boost it.

Think about your parents, family, friends and co-workers.

Think about who makes you feel beautiful. Who makes you feel comfortable. Who creates a positive atmosphere wherever you go together.

And if the people you’re close with don’t make you feel beautiful or comfortable, why is that? How do they make you feel? What can you do to change that?

I’ve been hard enough on myself my entire life.

Had my parents made negative comments about my appearance, that would’ve pushed me into a more devastating place. Had I not been surrounded by such generous and compassionate people in grad school, my body image and sense of self would’ve probably plummeted further. (It’s very likely, actually.)

Social support is also key when we’re trying to recover from disordered eating or eating disorders. We know that parents, for instance, have a pivotal part in their child’s recovery. The key with social support is not to have a loved one become a symptom cop but to offer real support (see here for the difference).

Either way, the people in our lives have an impact. Let’s make sure that it’s a positive one.

What kind of people do you surround yourself with? How do they make you feel? Who supports you unconditionally? How have others help with your recovery?

Body Image & Social Support

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2011). Body Image & Social Support. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Apr 2011
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