Body image is the way you perceive how you look in comparison to others.

Having a positive body image means that most of the time you see yourself accurately – you feel comfortable in your body, and you feel good about the way you look. Conversely, having a negative body image can often lead to complications such as exercise and eating disorders.

Body image can be a struggle no matter who you are. Everyone has feelings about the way they look and they are often associated with how others think they look, as well.

This is especially apparent in the New Year, which is why we see so many crazy diet trends that are guaranteed to get you “slim” or help you “shed fat.” The New Year is often associated with making lots of changes, and lots of those changes revolve around health and the body.

However, carrying a negative view of yourself can also affect your behaviour in many other unhelpful ways.

For example, you might:

  • Avoid social situations
  • Not speak your mind
  • Not feel confident expressing your uniqueness
  • Avoid activities and/or sports that expose your body
  • And a whole lot more

And there can be many reasons you might not feel comfortable with your body.

The media significantly influences our perceptions and standards of physical beauty – they often portray super thin, taller than average women with perfect complexions and perfect bodies. It’s simply unrealistic for most people to look like them.

Growing up, your body is always changing, too. It takes time to adjust to everything you’re going through. That’s just a natural part of life. It’s normal to feel awkward and to become fixated on imperfections, particularly during adolescence

It’s also common to want to portray your own unique look and style, but also try to ‘fit in’ and be accepted by your peers. Though, this isn’t always easy to do.

Beauty has many definitions. People come in all shapes and sizes. And in reality, the majority of people don’t look anything like the models you see plastered all over the media. Besides, even those models had a lot of assistance to achieve their look – and most of the images or commercials you see have been digitally modified by professionals to make them look ‘perfect.’

But no one is perfect.

Everyone is unique.

And it’s this uniqueness that makes you special.

It’s this uniqueness that makes you who you are.

Unfortunately, it’s still hard to set realistic expectations for yourself when it comes to your body. But there are ways you can foster a healthier attitude about it.

Here are five ways you can start trying today:

  • Focus on the aspects of your face and body that you like and then accentuate these
  • Be yourself when choosing what to wear – people will admire you for expressing the real you
  • Choose a hairstyle that’s compatible with your type of hair and that you can manage
  • Accept compliments without debating the issue or dismissing them – just say “thank you”
  • Maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy body weight

This doesn’t have to be hard. Though, it does seem the cards have been stacked against you sometimes.

The main point is to be who you are. And whether you believe it or not, it truly is your individuality that’s going to shine through.

Don’t aim for perfection. Aim to express your uniqueness, and let that attract those to your life who want to be a part of it.

You’re perfectly imperfect just the way you are – and you should never let anyone (or anything) make you feel bad for being exactly that.

Learn to be you – then watch as your unique beauty shines through.