The results of a survey in Girlfriend magazine and featured in the Herald Sun yesterday about body image are not surprising. The survey of 1000 teenage girls found 60 per cent do not think they are beautiful. I work with women everyday that have had an unhealthy body image all their lives. This issue is not just relevant to teenagers, it’s across all age groups but certainly starts at a young age and can be passed down from mother to daughter, and in some cases men.
In my experience, helping women of all ages with this issue isn’t as simple as the conventional way of dealing with it. Psychiatrists, counsellors and other groups that target body image issues and eating disorders encourage the development of a healthy body image by focusing on personality and health rather than appearance.
While I agree with most of this approach, changing a person’s attitude and belief about what is beautiful in today’s world can be like trying to keep your hair straight in a cyclone, the messages and experiences we have in day-to-day life are just going to keep reinforcing the belief that appearance is very important too.
It’s not just the media and fashion parades that push the ideal image of a beautiful body as being skinny; it’s many other life experiences. The pretty girl in the school playground that gets most of the attention which continues through to adulthood in clubs and bars, even women themselves admire and appreciate a beautiful woman. The majority of males are hard wired to be attracted to beautiful, confident women, and women know this.
If a woman doesn’t love the way she looks it can eat away at her, eroding self-image and confidence. This can affect their whole world around them, including their partner and children.
Yes we can all look beautiful once you know how (even Hollywood actresses have to work at it), I help women with this everyday and I know the impact it can have because of the emails of life changing stories I receive almost daily. When a woman knows how to dress and present herself to enhance her natural beauty and together with encouraging them to choose more positive thought patterns about themselves, they start to truly feel beautiful. This then radiates outwards through their personality and confidence and that is when amazing things start to happen in their lives.