I know, I know. Body image on social media is a common topic nowadays. Despite our great efforts to fight unrealistic standards, I still find this phenomenon problematic for many girls. Clearly, we still prioritize certain features, as idealized influencers amass followers and likes on social media. You may spend hours trying to emulate these photoshopped pics, but at the end of the day, should you let your self-esteem be dependent on followers and likes?
Fortunately, my body image experience was not that horrible compared to other stories. In high school, I recall how my classmates used to bully me for having a flat butt and chest; they told me that guys don't find me attractive. I admit that it did affect me at first, but then, I reminded myself that I am REAL. 99% of what you see online is heavily altered. I was strong enough to fight back and overcome the bullying. This doesn’t mean I am totally in love with my body. Today I linger between body positivity and body neutrality. Sometimes, I feel good about my body and other times I feel not-so-good about it, but I recognize that this feeling is fleeting. The ebb and flow of how I feel about my body is natural, and these emotions do not determine my value.
I had a friend who developed an eating disorder after she started looking at female K-pop idols. It really hurt me so much to see my friend with a life-threatening condition. It took a trip to the ER to make her realize the gravity of her illness.
Don’t forget that celebrities also take their time to work for bodies to satisfy what the industry requires of them. People like Selena Gomez, Lili Reinhart, Demi Lovato, and many other celebrities also struggle with body image issues due to these pressures, just like us!
Many women struggle with body image, and how they are portrayed on social media. For the sake of our health, both physical and mental, it’s time to abandon these expectations. The media is a traumatic environment for body image. Unfollow who you need to unfollow, take a beak, and tend to your body and your mental health!
Here are a couple of healthy coping strategies that I used to improve my body image. Low-impact exercising, such as yoga or walking, is definitely the best way to boost your mental health and feel better about your body. It’s not about getting toned - moving your body is loving your body. Plus, your body naturally produces feel-good brain chemicals after being active. Incorporating healthy food is important too! Make sure to balance out nutritious foods with your favorite treats. That is true self love.
When it comes to social media, follow influencers with a diverse range of body types, to remind yourself that every body is a beautiful body. You can also purchase a body image or mental health journal. Write anything that you feel about yourself or the world around you. Daily reflections will help you learn to appreciate your body. Nothing is truly perfect in this world. We all have flaws. If your body image issues are impacting your quality of life, or if you simply want to improve your relationship with your body, professional help is available. Therapy is a common form of treatment for body image issues. Talking always makes things better, and that's exactly what I did!
Written by: Stefanny Leung YuInstagram: @stefflyp