The Perfect You

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Positive Body Image

Think about all the things your body can do. Have you ever thought about just how amazing your body really is? Adding to the amazing features of your body, you have a unique body type, none of us look exactly the same. This makes the world a much more exciting place to be. As you grow and develop, your body will begin to take on its genetically programmed shape. This basic shape can’t be changed. It’s all in your genes. Look at the bodies of other people in your family. As your body grows it may start to look more like other family members. There are multiple body types, which will be discussed later.

Your body image is how you feel about your body. Having a positive body image is very important. It means you love, accept and appreciate your body. It doesn’t matter if you’re not perfect. No one is. If you’re confident and carry yourself with pride then you’ll be attractive. Therefore, love your body and take care of it.

Positive Body Image

Some people are shaped like a spoon. Their upper body is smaller than their lower body. Other people are shaped like an hourglass. This shape is curvy with a larger upper and lower body, but smaller waist. Another shape is a ruler. This shape is straight with not much difference between the upper and lower body. The upper body of someone that is cone shaped is larger than their lower body. No category is better or worse than any other, only different. Learn to like and respect your body the way it is built, and make the most of what you've got.

Ways to improve and maintain a positive body image:

  • No amount of exercise or change in eating habits will change the basic, genetically programmed shape of your body.
  • Don’t try to be a shape that you can’t be.
  • Learn to like and respect your body the way it is built.
  • Make the most of what you’ve got.
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good about your body.
  • Work with your body, not against it.

Factors to be aware of when building a positive body image:

Your Peers

Everyone wants to have friends and feel part of a group. This is normal and part of growing up. It's good and healthy to have friends. But it's not healthy when it means giving into pressure just to fit in. Only you know what is best for you. Don't let your friends make decisions for you or tell you to do things that are unsafe, unhealthy, or unkind, and that you will later wish you hadn't done. Part of self-esteem is having the power to be yourself because you are such a special person.

The Media

It's wonderful living in a world where there are so many different types of people. Sometimes the media doesn't represent these differences. Girls, don't let the images of girls and women in the media be your standard of what is "normal." Fella’s don’t let the pumped up, muscular physiques cause you to over work your still growing and developing bodies. Remember that computers can do amazing things to pictures. The pictures of models you see have been airbrushed and touched up. Things like wrinkles, blemishes, uneven skin tones, sags, bulges, or out of place hairs, can be fixed by a computer before going to print. For TV and movie stars, looking the way they do is a full-time job, and they get a lot of help too. They have makeup artists, hairstylists, clothing consultants, and lighting experts to help make them look so good. How many teens do you know that have personal and physical trainers? And besides, you have better things to do, like making friends, studying to accomplish your goals, playing sports, and having fun.

A lot of celebrities work out really hard with their own personal trainers to get their bodies in shape. Working out is good for your body, but many celebrities will train for several hours a day to get the muscular look you see. Most people don't have this much time, and working out this much can be damaging to your body anyway. As you can tell, these standards of beauty set by the media aren't real and can be dangerous.

Feeling Attractive

Everyone wants to be attractive, but what is it about a person that really makes him or her attractive? The truth is that it's not any one thing. Beauty is a combination of many qualities that give pleasure to the senses or mind. Your personality, sense of humor, and compassion for others is a large part of what makes you attractive. The secret to being attractive is feeling attractive. It is more about inner qualities than physical appearance. You may not love all of your qualities, but if you see yourself as a strong person with many goals and talents, you will begin to feel more comfortable with yourself. Feel good about yourself and let your positive attitude shine.

Sometimes it can be a challenge to remember that beauty is about what's on the inside. Don't measure yourself against the media's unrealistic ideals and don't compare yourself to other teens either. You are a unique person. You'll never be someone else and no one else will ever be you. That's what makes our world so great. We live on a diverse planet and have many different gifts to share. Instead of trying to be like someone else, just try being you. Celebrate your differences. What is it that makes you special: Is it your great laugh? Your listening ear? Your sense of humor? Your athletic ability? Your concern for others? As you discover your own strengths you will begin to feel more comfortable with yourself. You will see that you are a beautiful person with the power to make your goals a reality.

Sources:

Seek Wellness:
http://www.seekwellness.com/weight/body_image_and_you.htm
The Alcohol and Drug Information Clearinghouse:
http://www.prevlink.org/therightstuff/youth/positivebody.html