Body image relates to the relationship you have with your physical body.

Your thoughts and feelings about your body, and the way you treat your body determine your body image. When choosing to live with self-esteem, there is a responsibility and commitment to have a loving, nurturing relationship with your body to maintain optimal health. Whilst you may have limitations of one kind or another, it is vital that you address the body image issues that you are able to address for example: choosing to eat healthily; exercise wherever possible; making sure you get sufficient rest and , most importantly, to accept the things that you can't change. Living with a good self-esteem requires that you create awareness about your body image. Your attitude towards your body and towards the quality of life that you seek for yourself is extremely important.

Your attitude affects the way you feel about yourself, the way you treat yourself and the way in which you interact with your world. Thoughts and feelings of judgement and harshness regarding your body image will negatively impact your feelings of value and worth and therefore, your quality of life. A healthy body image implies that you believe that you are OK. You are OK with the fact that you are what you are. You look like you and can never look like anyone else.

This simple, but powerful belief allows you to maintain integrity with who you are. It is important to understand that people who are not happy to be in their own bodies are unable to feel valuable and worthwhile and often experience a lifetime of unhappiness. The truth is that you can never be anybody but yourself. It is your individual responsibility to address aspects of your body that you are not happy with. You need to change what you can, and give yourself permission to accept the rest. Your physical body is your unique temple and needs care and respect The physical body you inhabit belongs to you. It is an individual, unique vessel and is made up of muscle, bone, skin, blood, etc. It requires your attention because it has the potential to degenerate and age. You need to respect it and take care of it right from the beginning so that as you mature, your body continues to function in an optimal way.

Choosing to be appreciative of the parts of your body that function correctly assists you to remain positive in the face of other physical challenges. Factors that influence your body image You need to be aware that you are surrounded by the media. You are constantly inundated by pictures of people who are beautiful, slim, tall, elegant, well-dressed and well- groomed. These images create a belief that if you want to be anybody, get anywhere and be successful, you need to be body beautiful.
Everybody has a unique body shape and that about 98% of the population is never going to look like a model, particularly an airbrushed one.

The effect of body image on your life Your body image affects the quality and extent with which you have relationships with other people. If you have a good body image, you feel whole. You will seek out friends regardless of your whether you happen to have physical limitations. You will choose people who are good for you. A healthy body image would help to keep your feelings towards others from being cluttered by the imperfections of your own body.

You would look for somebody who is attracted to you, and would be comfortable with that attention. If you are going to be sexually active, you are more likely to be at ease with yourself in front of your partner. The relationship that you have with your body, its physical shape, its internal and external manifestations play a significant role in your life. Importantly, the relationship that you form with yourself and the quality of the relationships that you form with others are impacted by your self-image. You need to consciously work with the three core statements of your self-esteem, namely, "I know me, I accept me, I like me."

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