Think of a time when you felt particularly confident in your physical appearance. Maybe you were wearing your absolute favorite shirt or just got the best haircut of your life. Did it affect your mood? Your performance? The way you interacted with other people? Probably. Just like you can probably remember a time that you did not feel good about the way you looked. Wearing a swimsuit that didn’t fit when you knew you needed to lose a few pounds, or standing next to someone who is younger, fitter, and more attractive than you. In those situations it’s common to feel like you want to shrink and hide, keep quiet and under the radar, hoping no one notices you.
Body image has a tremendous impact on the way we live our lives. Unfortunately it also has a tremendous impact on the way we evaluate ourselves. Body image shouldn’t control our lives, or dominate our thoughts, but it also shouldn’t be something we ignore or displace entirely. It’s hard to balance. Fashion and beauty industries want us to put all of our eggs in the body image basket. And often older generations and parents of teen girls go the other way – ignoring body image or pretending that issues with body image aren’t real.
Negative Body Image
Because body image issues are real – and they matter. Negative body image, especially in teen girls, can have serious, far-reaching, devastating effects. To ignore the impact of body image is to risk the reality that your teen daughter could fall prey to the “perfect body trap.” From this trap come eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, among other serious effects.
Positive Body Image
On the other hand, positive body image can change the entire trajectory of a teen girl’s life. Positive body image correlates with self-esteem, ambition, confidence, and success. When a girl is able to develop positive feelings about her body, acceptance of her own strengths and weaknesses, and an awareness of the unrealistic and unfair body expectations of the world around her, she is able to focus on the things that matter.
Rather than turning to drugs, eating disorders, inappropriate relationships or friendships, or other coping mechanisms to deal with poor body image, girls with positive body image are able to see themselves as individuals with supreme self-worth. They are able to focus on goals and ambitions. Their positive body image is directly correlated with success in their personal, academic, business, and social lives.
Cultivating a positive body image is a critical step for all individuals at any stage in life, because positive body image leads to confidence and success everywhere you turn. It is particularly helpful for teen girls, who generally stuff the most from poor body image. If your teen daughter is struggling with her body image, especially to the point of eating disorders or other serious coping mechanisms, it may be time to get help from body image and teen issue experts at Havenwood Academy. Do not let your daughter’s success be robbed by the poor body image that poisons the teen years.