Suzanne Manser, PhD

Licensed Psychologist

Body Image

Body image is how you feel about how you look, how you feel in your body, at this particular moment. Your body image might be great on Monday and terrible by Tuesday. Or you might feel very good about certain parts of your body and much less comfortable with others. Interestingly, your body image has little to do with how you “actually” look. It is much more impacted by things like your mood, your stress level, and how much sleep you got last night.

Most of us struggle with body image at least occasionally. For some, this struggle becomes a primary focus of their lives. Some people don’t allow themselves to feel good about anything regarding themselves or their lives until they consistently love how they look. They constantly assess their appearance to determine how they feel about themselves. It becomes a vicious cycle that is very difficult to step out of. It is a serious problem when self-acceptance becomes firmly linked to body image.

People who have positive or neutral body images have managed to separate their sense of worth as a human from their body. Having a positive body image does not mean that you are the most beautiful person in the room or that you feel confident about every part of your body all of the time. Having a positive body image means that you generally feel good about how you look and feel relatively comfortable in your body – not because of how it looks or doesn’t look, but because you accept it and love it as is.For some of us, a positive body image may feel out of reach. An alternative goal is a neutral body image. This means that you don’t look to your body as a source of frustration or joy. You don’t focus on how your body or any particular body part looks. Instead, you focus on whatever makes you feel fulfilled. (Please read my blog post about it for more information.)

Having a neutral or positive body image means your appearance does not dictate your level of self-acceptance or your mood. This is a goal I work towards with many of my patients.
“Food is not the enemy. Self-hate is.”

— TheLoveYourselfChallenge.Tumblr