What do you think about your body? Do you like every body part on you? Or do you feel like God should have done a better job when creating you? Maybe God did a good job. Maybe it is your body insecurities that you need to deal with so you can appreciate that you are beautiful the way you are. Let’s talk about body image.
In the broad meaning of a self-image is a narrower subject, body image. Self-image is the idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality. Our focus here is on appearance. Your body image.
According to Wikipedia, Body image is a person’s thoughts, feelings, and perception of the aesthetics or sexual attractiveness of their own body. Do you think your height, lips, eyes, nose, skin color, etc are attractive to the eyes of others?
Your answer to the latter question is your body image. It communicates two things, you either feel confident or insecure about your entire body or a specific body part on you.
Body insecurities are feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty in one’s entire physical body appearance or a specific body part attractiveness.
Body insecurities in Women.
Society’s beauty expectations from women are very high. Men have high regard for beauty as one of the things they look for in a partner. 75% of men still consider beauty when looking for a long-term partner.
For this, the pressure on women to be physically attractive is too high. This explains why women are more insecure about their bodies than men are.
Here are some of the physical body features women are insecure about.
Many women will not feel beautiful enough around other beautiful women. Insecurity will creep into their minds even when they are not ugly. They will look out for that one thing other women have better looking than them and then feel insecure. It’s all in the mind.
The issue of how much weight a woman should have to look attractive is very relative. It is in fact not influenced by health but by society’s perception of beauty.
In some societies, thin women are what men find beautiful. Women in those societies feel beautiful and confident with thin bodies. A slight weight increase beyond the perceived thin body makes them feel insecure.
This is the opposite in other areas. In Western Uganda, a woman with thick body flesh is seen as attractive. It is common to find thin girls in such areas trying to gain weight to look attractive.
3. Feeling old.
The common statements like ‘’never ask a woman her age’’ are not of any intended harm or disrespect from those that ask. They are made from mental gymnastics to hide the common age insecurity of females. Some women start to conceal their age or become uncomfortable with the ‘‘how old are you?’’ question when they enter their 30s.
The misconception that beauty and fertility in women are high between the ages of 16 to 30 makes them feel less attractive. To them, to feel old is to feel unattractive. This is one insecurity very common.
4. Too tall or too short.
We asked 30 women what their desirable height would be. 23 preferred to be mid-height. 5’7 to 5’9. Not too short and not too tall. They reasoned that a woman too tall would be out of society’s comprehension of a feminine woman and less attractive to the opposite sex.
A woman too short would not feel as beautiful as a middle-height woman. Even when men do not mind so much about shortness, women still prefer to be mid-height for competition and social bias reasons.
However, the issue of a woman’s height is relative as well. In some societies, a mid-height woman is regarded as short. In other societies she can be seen as too tall.
5. Bust size and shape.
As much as it is hard to accept but the opposite sex dictates what is beautiful or not beautiful in the other. Men dictate what they find attractive on a woman’s body just like women do with men.
In some societies, men love big busts. Others prefer them medium. And then some prefer them petite.
How insecure a woman will feel about her breasts will be determined by what society finds as beautiful.
6. Butt and curves
The case with breasts is not different with butts and curves. I have watched videos of girls in the US admitting how insecure they feel about the curves on their thighs and the sizes of their butts. What they felt insecure about is what men in my area would kill for.
That is how relative the foundations of insecurities are. If you are a woman in a society where a small or flat butt is what is called attractive, you will not feel insecure. If you go to societies where you must have a big butt for men to look at you, you will feel insecure.
7. Stretch marks and cellulite.
Some of the things that cause insecurities in women can not be avoided and can be changed. If you plan to give birth, stretch marks should be expected. If you put on weight stretch marks and cellulite will come.
The good news is that these are things you can change. Go to the gym and shade off the excess weight to lose the cellulite and stretch marks. Go to a beautician or a dermatologist, you will be able to reverse the stretch marks.
Women will hardly admit this insecurity as men do but the truth is, they do get concerned about how sexually alluring or appealing they are. They wonder if their partners enjoy having sex with their bodies.
They wonder if their genitals are tight enough or good enough for their partners. All these stimulate insecurities in them. A woman’s body insecurities can make her fail to get an orgasm or enjoy sex even when the man is doing all that he has to do.
Body insecurities in men.
Even though women do not prioritize the physical attractiveness of men when looking for a long-term partner, they do for one-offs or short flings. They will appreciate an attractive man when they see one. That is if he matches their opinion of a good-looking man. So, the body insecurities cut does not exclude men.
Men feel insecure about their bodies too and here are the body features they are most insecure about:
In the fight or flight old days of man, being able to fight and defend yourself, your family, and your community was a must-have quality of every man. Before women look at anything in a prospective partner, they had to be sure he could fight and protect them.
Being tall has an advantage in a physical fight. For this reason, a tall man would be perceived as physically strong. Because physical strength is an attractive value, tall men were preferred.
Short men were looked at as the opposite of their tall counterparts. Even when they could fight and beat tall men. To be perceived as weak created insecurities in them that have been carried on generation after generation.
Short men will feel insecure about their height around tall men and try to compensate for their inferiority in height in other ways. The Napoleonic syndrome comes from the 19th-century French general Napoleon Bonaparte who was overly aggressive. It was believed this aggression came from his height insecurities.
2. Penis size.
It’s still debatable whether men are more insecure about their height than they are about their manhood. Nevertheless, many men are very insecure about the size of their penises. Society has stereotyped having a big penis as being very masculine and sexually potent.
For this, many men wonder if they are man enough because of the size of their manhood. They wonder if they have enough size to satisfy a woman.
Studies have shown that women inflate the penis size they want when asked compared to the one they actually enjoy when having sex. A minimum of 5inches is all they need.
So, if you are one of those men searching for ways to increase the size of your manhood, better be sure you have a reason to be insecure about it before you are scammed. Even still, it’s not the size that does the work, it’s the skill.
Yes, women are generally more insecure about their bodies than men. However, men are more insecure about their weight than women. Why? Being overweight or obese in women mainly affects their perception of beauty. To men, it is interpreted as physical weakness, laziness, poor health, being sexually weak, etc.
For this, overweight men will try to compensate for their insecurity in other ways like overspending on a partner. It is not bad to be overly generous but for many of these men, they don’t do it not because they are generous, they do it to numb their weight insecurities.
4. Muscle tone
One other insecurity common in men is how big or toned their muscles are. Even though we leave in the modern era where one does not need to physically fight to be perceived as a man, men and women still hold physical strength in high regard.
Big or toned muscles are a sign of physical strength. Men that have thin muscles feel insecure about them most especially in the presence of other men that have big or toned muscles.
Fortunately, with a gym workout program and a protein-rich diet, this can be changed.
How to overcome your body insecurities.
1. Change your inner conversations.
We sometimes chase for the 20% and ignore the 80% that we have. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you focus on the hair that you are insecure about and ignore your other beautiful features.
The insecurity you have about your hair creeps into your mind all the time and occupies your inner conversations. Instead of affirming how beautiful you are, your keep pondering about how bad your hair is. Even when it is not as bad as you think or not as beautiful as you want it.
If you change your inner conversations to focus on uplifting yourself and appreciating the 80% that you have, your body image will change. You will love and accept yourself for who you are.
You will realize that you are just blowing things out of proportion. You will realize that what you think is not beautiful is what a lot of people wish for.
2. Practice self-acceptance.
The truth is in some cases, you have a reason to feel insecure. Nature can be unpredictable and not easy to understand. If you have something on your body that does not match the normal, you will feel insecure. The case of motivational speaker Nick Vujicic is a perfect example.
Born without limbs, Nick hated himself and felt insecure and vulnerable. At some point, he contemplated suicide. But what can you do if nature decided you should come to earth without hands and legs? Nothing you can do about it but accept the reality and make peace with it.
It will cease to be insecurity when you accept and make peace with it. You will then be able to see the powerful, creative and talented side of you that was overshadowed by your insecurities. You will become confident in who you are.
When Nick Vujicic made peace with his disability, he discovered his disabilities. He discovered that he would speak to minds and inspire them. When nick speaks, the only thing I want to do is listen.
3. Get out of your head.
It is easy for negativity to creep into our minds because we give it too much attention. When we see something about ourselves, we give it more attention than it deserves. We have wired our minds to make a big deal out of our jars of insecurities and a small deal out of our strengths.
People think the good things about them are not as good as they see them and the bad things about them are worse than they see them. In reality, the height you call short is what another man wishes he had. The breasts you call big, someone is paying thousands of dollars to put implants to make their breasts as big.
You need to get out of your head and stop ruminating over your insecurities. The more you think about them the bigger they grow. When you overthink your insecurities, they grow bigger than reality. In your mind, your insecurity about your height will be 5ft when in reality you are 6ft.
4. Practice self-love.
Love is unconditional. Love embraces you regardless of how beautiful or ugly you may be. It is like that love of a mother that stands by her son whether he is a savior or a terrorist. You have to love yourself unconditionally.
When you love yourself, you accept who you are and make peace with your reality. No one can use your insecurities against you because you know them and made peace with them.
When you love yourself, you will look for ways to make yourself better. You will see opportunities and discover a lot of strengths in yourself. You will be able to focus on those strengths and celebrate them instead of wallowing in your insecurities.
5. Stop comparing yourself.
Comparison is the thief of joy. When you compare yourself to others, you will most likely look out for the body parts that you think others have better looking. Then you will focus on those and forget that you are still beautiful with what you have.
Society has inflated the perception of beauty by making models and Tv stars the standard measure of beauty yet in reality they are not. Many of them are covered in make-up. Yes, some are really beautiful and appear perfect but they are special cases. Special cases are unusual and can not be the standard measure.
If you compare yourself to what you watch on Tv, you will distort your reality. You will think you are less yet you are more. Comparing yourself to others stimulates body insecurities.
6. Transmute your insecurities.
It is a healthy way to find ways to compensate for your insecurities. It is a form of self-awareness. When you know you are not as beautiful as your partner’s ex, you can become more loving, caring, supportive, and understanding.
If you have Napoleonic syndrome or feel insecure about your height, master a skill or do something with your life that compensates for it. It is not a bad thing. As you work on yourself to uplift your strengths, you will feel less and less insecure about your inadequacies because you are confident in a lot of other ways.
7. Do body contouring.
With the advancement in medical science and technology, a lot of abnormalities can be corrected. Not just abnormalities, even normal body parts are worked on to be more beautiful. It is okay to go for a surgical procedure to improve how a part of your body looks.
For as long as your doctor approves of it and it will be done by a professional, go ahead and do it.
Your teeth can be corrected to improve your smile, your bones can be reassembled, your sight can be corrected and a lot more doctors can do to make you look better. Body contouring is an effective way of overcoming body insecurities.
If you can afford it and have done sufficient research to support it, go ahead.
In conclusion, we all get insecure about parts of our bodies. That is because no one is perfect. Insecurities and perfection are relative when it comes to the physical body. What may appear as perfect to you may be someone else’s insecurity. There will always be someone taller, more handsome, more beautiful, etc. You just have to accept and be grateful for what nature gave you and accept the imperfect nature of the world. I hope you manage to deal with your insecurities.