If a woman acts differently, in a way not expected, other women will turn on her. If they can destroy the rebel’s self-confidence they can make her change and conform to the remainder of the ‘in group’.
Ways to reduce body anxiety and increase your body self esteem: I mprove the way you talk to yourself and refer to your
and other people’s bodies. Psychology, in part, is about rewiring the way that you have used language to describe your world. Also reroute your focus to concentrating on your body’s strengths and less time on your physicality’s weakness. P sychology tip: Use positive affirmations and mantras to shape your internal dialogue, also verbally congratulate others when you notice something inspiring about their body image. F ace your body anxiety fears one at a time, slowly and
and more voluminous body lines that men find more desirable. An important footnote to these studies of female attractiveness is that the more natural female faces desired by men often had minimal makeup. In short, women might consider trying less hard to please other women, and in doing so find they are more attractive to the opposite sex (and happier to boot!). American neuro-psychiatrist Ms Louann Brizendine theorises about the way women psychologically bind to one another in her book The Female Brain. In her book she explains that it’s programmed into women to connect with other women intensely in their childbearing years, because we need the support and protection of other women when the males are away (e.g. hunting by our forefathers and at the office in the modern age). This need for female bonding can been seen in the way women control one another, namely the idea that “if everyone acts and thinks the same way, the group will stay intact, everyone will survive and we will stay protected”. Put simply, there is a need to control females in the group as a matter of survival. Obviously, as a human species we have evolved and progressed, however this hypothesis by Ms Brizendine suggests that as a function of our social programming, if a woman acts differently, in a way not expected, other women will turn on her. If they can destroy the rebel’s self-confidence they can make her change and conform to the remainder of the ‘in’ group. Ms Brizendine’ theory can go some way to explaining women’s body anxiety: women can be vicious to each other. Women instinctively know each other’s psychological Achilles’ heel (because they might also suffer from the same body anxiety insecurity), and might use this to destroy her self-confidence. Fundamentally, what one woman says about other women’s physical form is a projection of how that woman feels about her own physical form. So a woman who is not happy in her own skin relieves herself of her own self-loathing by projecting her unhappiness onto the unsuspecting image of another woman. In the end, all this will do is further damage her own, already damaged, sense of self and possibly the self-esteem of the unsuspecting recipient. Remember, if a woman was happy in her own skin, it shows in what she says about herself, and other women. Ultimately, this will make her even more attractive, just as a negative or critical attitude can make a person seem less attractive. So, get rid of the idea that all women need to confirm to some specific body ideal; these attitudes are archaic relics from our past. Take that anxiety we all feel and convert it into an energy that can be used to uplift yourself and other women. Listen to that childhood voice that believes you are beautiful. Use new age survival instinct and positive mantras for you to quieten those negative thoughts. Ignore the unhelpful critiques of yourself and others. Resist the temptation of the Machiavellian delight and delicious anonymity that comes with being a cyber troll or social body image critic, and create a common conversation in your social circle of staying focused on pure positive body affirmation to reduce body anxiety in all of us.
gently, by setting realistic goals for yourself. The more you celebrate yourself; the better you’ll feel about yourself. Don’t give up! Success takes a lot of work! P sychology tip: Pair down your make up routine to allow your natural beauty to shine, men will thank you for it! Also, refrain from using social media to convey a digitally altered facade of yourself. S urround yourself with others who are supportive of
your desire to raise your body self-esteem. This process is about ensuring that you have positive relationship influences. It’s fun and a great way to make new friends while doing something that feeds your frontal cortex of your brain with the naturally occurring feel good hormones of dopamine and serotonin. Ask the people who you have contact with to help you raise your selfesteem. Treat each other with respect and be honest about all your feelings. P sychology tip: You might join a club or activity such as a team sport or service organisation to surround yourself with a supportive community.
H elp someone less fortunate in your community. Be a
volunteer or donate some of your time to someone to gain perspective about your own body image – it feels really good to help others. Whatever you do will be appreciated! P sychology tip: Volunteer at the burns unit at your local hospital, or maybe children with special needs (physical and cognitively impaired), this will give you greater insight and perspective about what body anxiety you might have about yourself. F orgive yourself for your body management mistakes.
Learn what you can from them and then let them go. Accept yourself the way you are, and then take the steps to improve those areas in your life you want to change. P sychology tip: Set aside mandated “Reflection Time” each day, where you have the sole purpose to worry as much or as little as you need. By being structured with your worry time you will become more effective with your problem solving skills. M ake a conscious choice to take responsibility for your
own self-esteem, and remember that while others might bear some influence on the way you feel about yourself, the true value you give yourself, is ultimately a choice which is up to you.
Emma Howard is the Principal Psychologist at Equilibrium Health, 21 Labrador Street, Labrador 4215. Contact Emma on 07 5528 2255 or email@example.com
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