Body perception is an important component of self-awareness. All people recognize themselves in the mirror (which is available only to some species of animals).
Thinking about ourselves, indulging in dreams or playing social situations in our head, we imagine our image. How do we imagine our body.
Body image = body?
How different is our self-image from reality?
Try to imagine your body, and then go to the mirror and compare the images. Better yet, compare the inner look to the photograph. Are they different?
I’m sure the answer is yes. But why is this so? Self-awareness error? Low self-esteem? Whims of the imagination?
All assumptions are correct. The body image is made up of the visual perception of oneself in a mirror, in a photo or when looking at the body.
But it is superimposed on self-esteem, social and personal expectations. Tension zones or muscle clamps are often distorted by us.
As a result, the body image is different from the body itself. But how much?
Normally, the difference is minimal. If we draw our own body image, the other person will recognize us, or may not notice the differences visible to our eye.
For example, an artist paints two portraits of girls. One from their words, the other from the words of a man who watched the girls for some time.
The portraits are different from each other. On average, girls see themselves as less well-groomed and beautiful than outsiders.
Is body perception normal in girls? Yes and no.
On the one hand, we see how different the portraits written from the words of the girls are. Different people are looking at us from the portraits.
On the other hand, it is not a serious violation of self-awareness, as with anosognosia or somatoparaphrenia.
With anosognosia, patients are not aware of their physical illness. They deny that they have a broken leg or even blindness.
With another violation of self-awareness — somatoparaphrenia — patients deny that a part of the body belongs to them (sometimes they do not recognize the whole body). A leg, an arm, or the whole body seems alien to them.
So what happens? Serious disorders of self-awareness remain rare exotic diseases, but mild disorders, like deformation of the body image, suffer the majority?
What to do?
When I work with clients on a body image, I ask them to do one exercise. It sounds simple in words, but in reality it is not.
You need to look at yourself in the mirror and not include your inner critic. No “too long nose”, “bangs need to be removed”, “how many pimples!” and other criticisms. You don’t need to make far-fetched compliments either.
Look at yourself in silence, fix your makeup or wash your face, and move on. If you manage to hold out for 2 weeks, then you will notice that the image of the body now looks more like a reflection in a mirror.
In the most difficult cases, I ask you not to go to the mirrors, remove them from the house and hang them. If any of you have been on a hike, then you know that it takes 2–3 weeks to look only into the muddy surface of the water, and self-esteem rises. Here the effect is the same.
Remember that body image is influenced by our thoughts, the media, social media, and other sources of information about the body.
Filter them or use with care. Especially if you feel how upset your self-esteem is after another post in a fitness public or a photo of a familiar phyto-nyasha in the news feed.
Have a healthy body image!