The Role of the Body in Self-Image Among Emerging Adults

  • Posted at Mar 25, 2014
  • Written by yellowbrick

How we feel about our bodies and our self-image directly impacts how we function in society. The formation of self-image and how we feel about our bodies starts at an early age, as outside influences shape our initial views of ourselves. The role of the body in self-image plays a significant factor in establishing self-confidence, which can impact how emerging adults mature into adulthood.

Establishing Self-Image

Ironically speaking, formation of self-image is influenced throughout childhood by many people other than ourselves. As a child, vulnerable to believe what our families, caregivers, coaches, and peers think, a view of our bodies starts to form, based on what others say.  And then, puberty hits, totally transforming the shape and functions of our bodies, opening the opportunity for others to critique our bodies even more than before. The formation of self-image, including a positive body image, may have been thrown off by peer bullying or parental pressures. Kids are teased and pressed about their bodies all of the time. From the pimples on their face, to their weight, to the development of their maturing bodies, all of the negative or positive comments that young adults receive play a role in developing self-image. However, with age, young adults should be able to establish a more solid sense of themselves, letting go of what others have to say.

Image is Everything

A healthy self-image and good amount of self-confidence can set an emerging adult on the right track in taking on the challenges of adulthood. People who feel good about their bodies have an easier time accepting responsibility for their feelings and how their actions affect others. They usually have the ability to self-reflect and emotionally evolve after experiencing conflict or problems. This allows emerging adults who are confident in their self-image to form meaningful relationships with others, learn from their mistakes, and set realistic expectations for future goals. The transition into adulthood may feel smooth to someone who has a positive self-image.

On the contrary, a negative self-image can be damaging for an emerging adult. When self-confidence suffers, so does emotional well-being. People with low self-esteem tend to think negatively, especially when it comes to unexpected problems or conflicts. They often internalize mishaps, blame themselves for mistakes, and feel like a failure. While somebody with a positive self-image can learn and grow from encountering difficulties, the emerging young adult with a low self-image will usually fall into self-loathing patterns of critique. They may question their choices in life, their relationships with others, and their view of themselves, including how they see their body.

Improve your Image

Take positive steps in order to increase your self-esteem and boost your body image. Let go of the negativities of your past and focus on how you feel about yourself. Practice every day by finding something you love about yourself and your body. Be sure to surround yourself with supporters.

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