Your body image
It seems like everyone compares themselves to other people—looking around hoping that whatever is happening to them is “normal.” You probably hear your friends compare their body parts, sizes, faces, and periods.
People focus on parts of their body they feel uncomfortable about, like: “I have too many freckles; I don’t like my hair color; my eyebrows are bushy; my legs are too big; my breasts are too small; my feet are too big; my neck is too long; I’m not pretty; I have too many pimples….”
We’ve heard it all, and we bet you’ve heard your fair share as well.
This is body shame. Almost all of us have seen or dealt with this.
If you catch yourself caught in a body ‘shame spiral,’ think instead about the things you like about your body and all the great things it can do. Don’t let other people’s words get you down. Life is too short to point out what you don’t have; instead embrace what you have.
Be body positive
Instead of stressing about things you can’t change, be proactive about the things you can do to help your body be healthy and feel good.
Eat good food—fruits and vegetables might seem silly, but they can give you the energy and natural glow you can’t get anywhere else.
Play sports & get moving—training for a game or working out with any movement you like helps your body and mind grow and can help you feel good.
Help others—Serving others is a great way to feel like you (and your body) is doing something good. So, volunteer! Go sing at a nursing home. Help out a homeless shelter. Sell cookies with your scouts for a good cause. Or set up an event for your community. Your body isn’t about how it looks—it’s about what it helps you do!
Stop comparing yourself to movie stars and models—Beauty and attraction comes in many forms and flavors. Sure—movie stars might be “vanilla” (because most people like vanilla)! But only you can decide what your flavor is—and that’s what makes you who you are. So be you—someone is going to love your Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream self!
Be who you are—Even the hottest person can be uninteresting and lousy to hang around. Your personality, humor, and heart matter far more than anything outside.
Protect your skin—Trust us, try not to go to the tanning beds and don’t forget your sunscreen. Your skin is important, and taking care of it (and avoiding things like skin cancer) is a part of being healthy!
Get a hobby—what do you like to do? Do you like to sing? Are you into crafts? Or maybe hiking is more your style. Find something you love and are proud to share with others, and do it!
Work hard & practice!—Nothing is as satisfying as putting in hard work and being rewarded for it. Life isn’t a big lottery—there is lots of work that helps people grow and become successful. So find a mentor and start working hard at the things you love.
Be creative—What do you see that no one else can see? Be unique to you and take chances to grow.
Take a good risk—Risks aren’t all bad. Know the good ones. Enter a competition or apply to a special program or school. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Build great friendships—Friends center you and help you grow. Surround yourself by friends you feel comfortable around and who you trust and love. And surround yourself with friends you admire yourself. Chances are that they admire you, too!
Thinking about body changes?
Now more than ever, people talk about changing their bodies. Some people decide to go to the gym and change the way they eat. Some people get piercings, get tattoos, and color and cut their hair.
And some people—as you know—use cosmetic surgery to change how they look.
“My pores are huge!”
“My butt is too small.”
“I want implants—one breast is bigger than the other.”
“My nose is too big.”
And even from average everyday people, “My labia are too long and floppy—I need a labia reduction!” or even “I want hair permanently removed from my pubic area.”
Permanently changing the genitals and the body is a money-making industry, and whether you’ve read about it or heard people talking about it, it can seem like the way to make you look and feel like a better you.
But, these kinds of changes often happen when people are insecure with their body. In the mirror, the problem can be all that they see. However, the problem often isn’t in a body part, it is in the mind. Some people feel different after they change something about their body, but sometimes the desire only becomes larger to change more. These changes alter the body, but they may not solve the difficult feelings that come with wanting to change the body.
If you are thinking about some of these changes, talk with a psychologist, counselor, or someone who can help you think about why you want it and think about the decision in different ways