“Beautiful” is not a word many women willingly call themselves. In fact, according to a global report, women all over the world are more comfortable with using words like “natural” and “average” to describe their looks. The study interviewed 3,200 women, ages 18 to 34, and only 2% of the women claimed to be beautiful.
Let that sink in. ONLY TWO PERCENT.
This held true across all age groups. Additionally, western women, unlike their eastern counterparts, rated themselves as “better than average on everything from kindness, intelligence, and popularity to their skills as a partner, parent, and employee.”
So how do our body image issues affect our daily life?
1. We have low self-esteem.
We always feel like we’re not good/pretty/smart/rich/successful enough. We hold ourselves to an unattainable standard and we compare ourselves to everyone.
2. We put our lives on hold until we’re “better.”
“Bibilhin ko na lang ‘tong dress kapag payat na'ko.” “I’ll start dating when I lose 15 more pounds. Konti pa.” “Tsaka na lang ako lalabas.” Do these sound familiar? When we say something like this, what we really mean is that how we are right now isn’t worth pampering, loving, or even seeing.
3. Our relationships suffer.
When we feel undeserving of love and attention, these manifest in our relationships in different ways: Some are paralyzed by their insecurities. Others stay in abusive relationships. And sometimes, we take it out on other people by putting them down in order to make ourselves feel better.
4. We get in the way of our own professional growth.
Those with low self-esteem “engage in subconscious behaviors that undermine their own success, making them less likely to ask for promotions, raises, and even jobs.” Accordingly, Sheryl Sandberg said that women are less likely to make visible contributions at work, opting for more behind-the-scenes assistance. Come on, girls! We can do so much more than just fetch the coffee.
5. We’re at a higher risk of hurting ourselves.
As early as 10 years old, girls who see themselves as too fat are more susceptible to suicidal thoughts than boys. It's also around this age that girls start dieting.
6. Our insecurities are passed down.
Kids pick up on everything! When you tear yourself down, your kids will think that that's normal or acceptable. We need to be more aware about the kind of behavior we model around the younger generation and we need to be better at practicing self-love.
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