How Do I Heal From A Toxic Body Image?


You are in the most profound relationship of your life, and you may not even know it. Your relationship with your body defines your relationships with yourself and others. Everyone is born with genes that determine whether you will be tall, short, athletic, etc. No one can change their body type despite the diets, surgery, or filters you put yourself through. Instead of finding what’s wrong with your body, try to find what makes you happy.

What Is Body Image?

What does body image mean to you? When you look in the mirror, think about how you feel about yourself. You have a positive body image wherever you have love, confidence, or a sense of value for yourself. 

However, not everyone feels like this when they look in the mirror. A person can feel shame, embarrassment, or want to change their appearance. A person who feels like this has a poor body image. Whether you have a positive or negative body image, how you feel about yourself affects your physical and mental health.

How you see yourself is another part of body image. Maybe when you look in the mirror or at pictures, you think you look fat or out of shape, or you think your hair, eyes, and mouth look terrible. In reality, you aren’t any of those things. You are perfect. The behaviors you engage in also affect your body image. For example, if you feel good about your body, you may actively engage in social activities. However, if you don’t like your appearance, you may want to isolate yourself.

What Can Cause Issues With Body Image?

Poor body image relationships often stem from the following three causes:

#1. Social Media

Studies have found a correlation between the time spent on social media and a negative body image. Poor body image is more likely to occur when you scroll through appearance-related content, like accounts of a fitness instructor or model on Instagram.

The images you see on social media, shows, or movies can lead you to judge or criticize how you look. However, these sites or shows don’t tell you the amount of time and effort it takes to make a person look flawless. Actors and social media influencers have an advantage with make-up and filters.

However, social media can also positively affect body image and promote body positivity. Viewing body-positive content on social media platforms can help you become more accepting and appreciative of your body.

#2. Childhood Relationships

The type of relationship you had with your parents when you were a child can determine your emotions, relationships, and perception of yourself. Likewise, your relationship with those who raised you when you were younger affects your body image.

#3. Past Trauma

Trauma can also affect your self-esteem and body image. The development of a healthy body image can be severely impaired by violations of body boundaries during a traumatic event, leading to poor body image.

The Effects of Body Image

When you feel good about how you look, there’s a higher chance you will take risks, go after what you want, and believe in yourself. Conversely, someone with a poor body image can experience self-loathing, low self-esteem, or depression. 

In some cases, a person who doesn’t like what they look like can turn to harmful coping mechanisms to feel better. For instance, a person may engage in self-harm to release their pain, depression, or unhealthy thoughts about themselves. Regret or shame may follow after leading to the urge to release their feelings. 

Taking a Deeper Look at Your Relationship With Your Body

The relationship you have with your body may be complicated. However, it’s crucial to remember that perfection doesn’t exist. Even the most perfect-looking person can think they need to change to look better. It’s important to recognize that your flaws make you perfect. Embrace the perceived imperfections because they’re what make you unique. 

How Can You Heal?

Luckily, you can take steps to learn to love your body. Because you are with your body all day, you have the opportunity to listen and tap into your inner self every day. 

Here are a few tips for healing how you feel about your body:

  • Find ways to listen to your body:

    Activities like yoga, meditation, or journaling can help you slow down and listen. Your mind processes what you say and think all the time. Allow it to go quiet and rest. You can also practice mindful meditation and check in with each body part to see how it feels. For example, breathe in and out while scanning your whole body — see where you’re holding negative energy or tightening your muscles.

  • Change your eating patterns:

    Your body will let you know when it’s hungry. Listen to it. 

  • Accept your body:

    Regardless of your body type, work on being at peace with your body. Discover who you are, your values, and your unique beauty. 

Your relationship with your body is the most meaningful relationship you will ever be involved in. Because of this, how you see, think, and feel about yourself is vital to your physical and mental well-being. Take a moment to think about how you feel when you look at yourself. Pay attention to the first words or thoughts that cross your mind. Positive or negative thoughts about your body affect relationships, emotions, or behaviors. If you need to talk to someone about your body image, reach out for help. At SokyaHealth, we encourage you to connect with us on our convenient and easy-to-use virtual platform. We offer coaching, therapy, and self-care options that fit your needs and schedule. We believe you have the right to access mental health care regardless of your location or time zone. Call SokyaHealth today at (877) 840-6956 to learn more about we can help you heal your perception of self.

More than 50% of Americans struggle with mental health.

Headlight is now collaborating with health plans and companies to make therapy more accessible and affordable. Speak to a Care Coordinator today.