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Health, Body and Delusion -- How Your Body Image Depends On You

Updated: Mar 19


Body Positivity is About More Than Looks


Even the most conventionally attractive people can struggle with crippling self-doubt, while those deemed "unattractive" by societal standards can cultivate a greater sense of self-appreciation. This is because our perception of our bodies is often a self-reflection, a psychological construct rather than a purely physical one.


Body positivity, at its core, transcends the limitations of the physical. It's not about ignoring health concerns or pretending medical issues don't exist. It's about recognizing that our self-image, that critical voice in our heads, can be wildly out of sync with reality.



True body positivity goes beyond aesthetics. It focuses on building healthy self-esteem, independent of the clothes we wear or the shape we perceive in the mirror. It's about accepting and appreciating ourselves for who we are, not just the vessel we inhabit.


Whether or not we choose to accept who we are is our prerogative because our lives, like our bodies, belong to us, and are not the property of others. As such, while the freedom of expression allows anyone to criticize and judge us, it's our choice to whether or not to accept who we are, and whether or not to strive to what we wish to become.


Thus, we need to create this mental barrier between our sense of self and between what others think of us, as both of these are equally legitimate perceptions. People are allowed to judge us the same as we are allowed to heavily disagree with them.


As such, the ability to sustain a good body-image is also a matter of resolve, a mental struggle towards being confident within our own skin while being able to withstand and recognize the existence of opinions which would disapprove of us, for who we currently are, and for what we might become, should we fail to meet societal expectations.


The mental and social struggle in this issue cannot be denied therefore.


The Internal Battle -- Making the Clear Sense of Distinction


There's a misconception that "body positivity" is society fixing a problem for individuals. The reality? It's an internal struggle towards the resolution of inner peace. It's a battle fought within each of us, regardless of our physical appearance.


Here are some points that need to be known to fully understand this body-mind issue:


  1. Beyond Aesthetics: True body positivity isn't about forcing someone to believe they are "beautiful." It's about dismantling the false idea that self-worth necessarily correlates with physical perfection. In reality, however, the happiness that comes with a good sense of self worth, as well as happiness in general, is subjective to the individual. It would be illogical to expect that the same goals give all people happiness once they're achieved, thus the path of happiness is based on self-knowledge, and not on social trends.

  2. Internal World, External Impact:  While our self-image is internal, it bleeds into the external world. Low self-esteem can lead to social withdrawal, impacting relationships and productivity. By cultivating the inner strength to exist despite of the external impact on us, we can reduce its overall influence on our mentality by refusing to comply and submit to it. When you fully understand every part of yourself you are less likely to be impacted by the world around you. You become more sure of yourself.

  3. From Apathy to Empathy: In a world defined by its general apathy to individuals, it's often unrealistic to expect empathy from others, and that especially includes strangers and those who refuse to understand us properly. If anything, the best thing we could do is to not be disappointed by this fact, but work towards giving empathy to ourselves. To accept ourselves despite our flaws, and choose to work on these flaws should we ever decide to. We do not have to fully accept our flaws when we can muster, by desire, to change these flaws through training and discipline. Either way much of our ability to empathize with ourselves depends on our resolve to do so. We're the first people who can love our own selves.

  4. Health Beyond Appearance: Health is crucial for a productive society, and body positivity can be a gateway to healthier choices. When we accept our current state of our bodies, we're more likely to take care of our bodies – physically and mentally -- to preserve it.

  5. Breaking the Materialistic Machine: Society isn't just a "profit machine." It thrives on a diverse and fulfilled population, who can contribute to others despite of financial profit being made. Body positivity empowers individuals to pursue their passions. Our bodies are there as tools to help us achieve our hopes and dreams, and it's why the body is capable of much adaptability.



Reframing the Discourse


Let's shift the focus from body image to a healthier lifestyle. Encouraging healthy habits – whether we're individuals talking to friends, parents raising kids, teachers guiding students, or content creators influencing followers – is a far more productive approach. Over time, this can positively impact body image on a broader scale, than trying to appease the demands of large-scale organizations and corporations who don't necessarily care about your individual uniqueness.


Here are points to consider for a healthier mindset, which can improve body image more effectively:


  1. Obsession vs. Appreciation: Constantly obsessing over minor imperfections is a drain on time and energy. However, a healthy level of self-awareness is important. The key lies in appreciating our bodies for what they can do, rather than solely focusing on appearance. By improving our self esteem we can live in greater harmony with our imperfections, and thrive despite of them, if they don't serve as significant obstacles in our path to self-actualization

  2. Criticizing the Ideal Body Myth: The concept of an "ideal" body is a cultural mirage that won't necessarily bring you the happiness you seek. Firstly, there's no universal standard for beauty, as different cultures, and individuals have varying preferences. Some women, for example, were found to be attracted more to overweight men. That's despite the fact that an ideal, stereotypical body isn't overweight. Imagine showing people from around the world a range of physiques – who they find attractive will differ greatly. In Tajikistan, for example, unibrows are considered a "symbol of feminine beauty and and purity". Conversely, fashion models who appear unhealthily thin in Western cultures are stereotypically presented as the epitome of female beauty. We can therefore deduce that an "ideal body" is not objective but is subject to perception.

  3. Understanding Modeling: Models showcase clothing, not human ideals. They're essentially "human clothes hangers." They are there to influence you to buy clothing and accessories, not to tell you what you should become or look like. They are there to inspire you to buy, not to inspire you to follow their example, like a role model would. They only necessarily model appearance. The rest of their functionality is attributed subjectively. While modeling can be lucrative, it doesn't contribute significantly to society beyond vanity. There are far more impactful and valuable ways to contribute to the world. As such, pure beauty deserves to be criticized.

  4. The Delusion of Looks: People can be delusional about their appearance in both positive and negative ways. Some believe they need improvement despite being attractive to many people, while others believe they deserve admiration for external qualities that aren't there. However, to play the devil's advocate, delusions can be used as a self-defense mechanism.


Conclusions


Ultimately, the choice on our bodies, both in perception and action, is ours. We can succumb to unrealistic beauty standards, or we can cultivate a healthy self-image that values our bodies for their capabilities and focuses on overall well-being. To expand and utilize our lifespan and our mental health, we can promote healthy living and self-acceptance. We can work a society where everyone thrives, not just in terms of social worth, but in all aspects of life.


And yet again, the choice for that is forever ours, and forever begins on the individual's consent. Respecting other people is also expressed by respecting their consent.


Your self-worth is defined by the width of your belly only if you choose to. With your permission you can choose to focus on other aspects of who you are, such as the strength of your will and the vastness of your potential.


Mr. Nathan Lasher's Feedback


You begin to understand self worth when you start to fully understand yourself and what you have to offer to the world. When you realize stuff of this nature people's opinions mean little as they can’t take away from facts. It really does boil down to presenting yourself in a way that you want other people to see and think of you as.
Any time you let others decide your worth you will always be in for a disappointment. Create a value that other people can’t so easily deny. 


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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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