Body image is something many people struggle with around the world, and the UAE is no exception. With the evolving expectations of society and the prominence of social media, social status and self-perception have become great sources of motivation for almost everything for people nowadays.

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Sometimes, for some people, how others perceive and their opinions of us have become so important. This may push people to become better versions of themselves, but may also be harmful. Body image has become such a growing concern that it is affecting the way children and even adults live.

Identifying Poor Body Image

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Please take note that body image is based on your thoughts and feelings about the way your body looks, not others. Sometimes, overthinking how other people will judge your appearance can affect significantly to your body image.

Poor body image comes from negative thoughts and feelings about your appearance, and a healthy body image is made up of thoughts and feelings that are positive. Body image is a major factor in self-esteem; which is the way you think and feel about yourself as a person.

The Danger of Poor Self-esteem

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  • Fear of improvement. People with low self-esteem, will at some point give up trying to fix their condition or situation. Their lack of trust in themselves and fear of failure compiles and will end up killing their desire to improve. This will demotivate them and can even change their behaviour further. Having so much doubt in their ability will make them avoid challenges and feel more isolated.
  • Fear of being judged. Sometimes, people with low self-esteem, find themselves troubled in social environments or when they have to come in contact with others. Their fear of being judged by others will demotivate and dishearten them to the point they won’t even try or participate with others. People with low self-esteem may also feel this way even if others do try to engage with them or are being particularly friendly.
  • Lack of self-care. The person with low self-esteem may have such little confidence in themselves; they may begin to neglect their health and self-care. This can lead to mismanaging their diet, no motivation to make friends and lack of motivation at work or school. More serious concerns may be substance abuse or self-harm.
  • Relationship problems. Because a person with low self-esteem may have difficulty with socializing with others, this may affect their behaviour when with close friends or family. Low self-esteem or poor body image may translate into aggression towards loved ones, stubbornness, and even unreasonable behaviour.
  • Self-harm. This is a symptom of a more serious health condition. Self-harm can be as simple as eating disorders, anxiousness and can become more serious matters such as drug abuse or suicidal thoughts. This behaviour often stems from a mental health disorder that may be caused by self-esteem issues.

Improving Body Image

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Body image is a common problem in the UAE and one of the main reasons why most adolescents and adults are insecure or have low self-esteem. The best way to improve this is to understand how to be positive, self-care and treatment.

The below points are great ways to get started or to find ground on tackling this issue.

  • Embrace what makes you unique. Everyone has talents, qualities, and characteristics that make them unique. Whether its a skill, habit or physical trait, instead of using them as indifference to others, highlight them, embrace them and be happy with what makes you unique.
  • Engage and participate with others. If you have a poor body image or low self-esteem, this may be quite a challenge for you. But its always important to remember nobody’s perfect and there is no right or wrong socializing or engaging with others. You’ll be surprised how most people are happy to engage with you no matter who you are or what you look like.
  • Set goals for yourself.Setting goals for yourself means that you hold yourself to your standards and no one else’s. It means you are making a conscious change to improve your condition or situation with the motivation of pleasing yourself and not others. Whether it’s to improve your physical body image or to boost your self-esteem, setting goals for yourself is the first step to making positive change.

When to Seek Help?

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If low self-esteem is causing you problems such as anxiousness, depression, isolation or other mental conditions, the UAE has an abundance of support networks. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone.

The UAE has plenty of resources to help you improve poor self-esteem and mental issues. Speaking with a professional psychiatrist or even your doctor is a good place to start.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.