How Body Image Affects Romantic Relationships


Every person has an individual body type. Psychologists in their studies have found a definite connection between a particular body type and the psychological characteristics of a person. It signals what is happening to us – either we are all right (straight posture, smooth gait, head held high) or we feel discomfort (hunched back, small, mincing step, head down). Body image conveys much more information about us than you think. If you are shy of your body or too critical of it, this attitude will affect the image as a whole. If you have a healthy body image, if you take your body as it is, then your image will benefit in many ways.

healthy body image

What Is Body Image?

Every person has an individual body type. Psychologists in their studies have found a definite connection between a particular If we try to define body image, then it can be said that this is our subjective perception of our body, how we see it, understand it, and how we treat it. It is also an assessment of its attractiveness and its significance for us. In general, the body image includes 4 components.

  • Overall satisfaction with the body
  • Emotional reaction to the body
  • Knowledge of nuances of the body
  • Body-related behavior (how you dress, behave, avoid any situations where you need to demonstrate the body or vice versa, look for them).

Everyone has body image. In fact, the perception of one’s own body is an important part of human life. However, body image sometimes turns into a problem. The ability to change one’s own appearance is a potential source of dissatisfaction with oneself. Imagination, in turn, allows us to draw a picture of what our life would be like if we looked a little different. As a result, we begin to endlessly pursuit an ideal. The perception of the body is often distorted. Discontent or, on the contrary, excessive admiration of one’s body shifts the focus. And the brain adapts to these beliefs. Body image can affect a person’s health: if it seems to you that you are fat, then you will feel the same way, and the reflection in the mirror will cause unpleasant feelings. It will seem that everyone looks at you and sees flaws. If you are satisfied with your body, that is, the body image is positive, then you feel comfortable with the way you look.

Negative and Positive Body Image

If people have positive body image, they are not afraid to dress or undress according to the situation, don’t try to show their bodies to everyone, but at the same time, don’t hide them. These people like their reflection in a mirror and the way they look.

Positive body image means that you…

  • Don’t pay too much attention to stereotypes.
  • Like your shapes and know that there are much more important things in a person.
  • Accept your body as it is. It is not necessary for you to be on a diet, calculating every excess kilo.
  • Feel comfortable in your body.

body image and self esteemHowever, there is also such a phenomenon as “dissatisfaction with one’s own body.” This is a rather complex set of emotions, thoughts, expectations, and beliefs associated with negative experiences from your own body. For example, a person who doesn’t like it tries to dress so that to hide the flaws of the body, refuses to visit the pool or the beach, and so on. A person runs in the morning, not for health but because he or she is afraid of getting fat. People think that regular exercise often leads to an improved body image. However, having achieved certain results, a person doesn’t feel satisfied. This may be a temporary emotion or the beginning of a more complex formation – “negative body image.”

Negative body image means that you…

  • Don’t like your shapes.
  • Think that everyone pays attention only to your appearance. And your body is far from perfect. This fact disappoints you.
  • Feel shame about your body.
  • Think that you are clumsy in this body.

By the way, there is one more type of body image – it is called “distorted body image.” This is the most severe disorder. This is the feeling of imperfection regardless of whether it is a real imperfection or not. People think that they are imperfect and ugly and can’t do anything with these thoughts.

Body Image Issues

Common reasons for body image issues are the following.

1. Opinion of others

That is, surrounding people in every possible way make it clear that life success depends on the size, mass, and shape of the body. There are statements about the appearance of other people with an emphasis on the importance of physical attractiveness. Thus, a person gets the impression that a beautiful body is the most important thing in life.

2. Sexual abuse

Studies have shown that the number of people with body image issues is very high among victims of sexual violence. There are several theories trying to explain this phenomenon. Many of these people (most often women) say that they don’t feel and don’t understand their body, and they want to “disappear” to get rid of it and from the negative experiences associated with it.

3. Physical and emotional abuse

It can also give rise to body image issues. If a person decides that others laugh only at fat people, he or she will stop eating. And if a person decides to replace unpleasant emotions with food and sweets, then this can only aggravate the situation.

4. The influence of the media

Of course, it is wrong to blame only the media, but we need to mention it. According to the poll of one famous magazine, 67% of readers were dissatisfied with their body and wanted to lose weight, while 53% had a normal weight but wanted to lose more.

All of this, indeed, is part of the negative experience faced by many people with body image problems. Unfortunately, our negative emotions about the body and the fight against it take away a lot of our strength and largely determine our perception of our own personality. You probably notice how body image problems affect your thoughts and feelings about yourself. You are trying to control your thoughts and emotions, but it is not always possible.

Social Media and Body Image

Let us explain to you how social media affects body image. The essence of social life is that we try to show a better life – who has more money, who has a better personal life, who has a nice appearance, and so on. And it seems that there are only successful people with idealized body image around. Everything is “wonderful” and “life is good.” And it doesn’t matter that all this is often just a beautiful facade, behind which much less attractive reality hides. But still, everyone around is “successful,” and you are not. And you will try to match them. At least, you want to be “no worse.” And if this doesn’t work out, there are neuroses, complexes, and phobias.

One research showed that social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest may have a negative impact on people’s self-esteem. There is an opinion that those users who spend more than one hour on social networks are not so satisfied with their bodies. Most of them think that slender people are more beautiful. That is why they become overly critical of their appearance. In addition, people tend to feel more depressed and isolated from society as well as obsessed with the idea of losing weight. how social media affects body imageYes, studies show that body image and eating disorders are closely related. Before you visit Instagram again, remember that often the images and information you see are not a reflection of reality. It is not those people who live in real life but their media images. We try to show the best version of ourselves: we select the most beautiful photos where our body looks perfect. We try to seem more beautiful and interesting than we really are.

It is interesting that plastic surgeons say that body image and the media are provoking more operations. Today, patients come to them not with photos of celebrities as before but with own photos with applied filters. On the other hand, body positive does its job too: social networks become a platform through which people who are far from perfect tell the whole world about themselves. Then they appear in advertising campaigns, go to the podium and prove with their own example that a body is worthy of respect. All this lead either to depression of followers or it stimulates them to become better.

Body Image and Romantic Relationships

In a love relationship, the benefits of an attractive personality seem undeniable. It seems to us that beautiful people feel more confident. Is it so? Actually, body image and self-esteem are closely related. If one of the partners has body issues, it doesn’t give a person the opportunity to build a normal relationship. A person with normal self-esteem, having met a partner with disrespectful behavior, doesn’t develop a relationship with him or her but stops them. Gradually turning over possible options, he/she meets a new person with whom it is possible to build a constructive relationship, and people stay together.

A person with low self-esteem and negative body image, having met a disrespectful or aggressive partner, doesn’t demand a good attitude (he/she doesn’t think that it is possible to demand something in a relationship), the focus of attention shifts to a partner, and a person begins to deal with problems, tries to figure out why the second one is so aggressive – tries to understand what happened in childhood or at work, what can be done to reduce aggression, for example, how to start behaving, what to say and what not to say so that the partner calms down and/or begins to respect. And all this happens due to the fact that a person has low self-esteem because of negative body image.

But interestingly, as one of the body image facts shows, when we think about love, many of us try to avoid beautiful people of the opposite sex. Our subconscious suggests that beauty will become a threat to a serious and lasting relationship. As it turns out, we choose soulmates based on deep psychological reasons.

So, as you can see, there is no need to be nervous about own body image because there is definitely a person who loves you as you are. You just need to love and accept yourself. If you do that, you will have high self-esteem, that is, it will be easy for you to build healthy relationships.

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