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Body Image and Social Communication

Body image is self-perception of one’s body, specifically attributed to appearance and attractiveness. Most of us unnecessarily compare ourselves with some contemporary standards of physical beauty built upon popular personalities or theoretical modeling. In fact, most of us are quite in good size and shape - adhered with our genetic predisposed physical aspects. As per observations, people who are regarded as beautiful than average by masses also suffer from body image issues. On the contrary, markedly average or below average looking persons do well only by their positive thinking towards themselves and what they do.

Body image also corresponds to self-esteem. How worthy you feel about yourself affects the way you behave with yourself and others. While choosing, attracting, and retaining a partner in romantic or marital relationship; issues related body image become more serious but they are elusively ignored. Body image disorders can lead to martial dissatisfaction too. Two persons with dissimilar body image perception index might drift apart due to predictive complex they develop about themselves.

Obsession to meet hypothetical beauty standards escalates to physical and psychological disorders that are very difficult to cure.

We simply can’t deny importance of body image with respect to way we communicate both nonverbally and verbally with others. It has been widely observed by researchers and psychologists that persons suffering with body image issues avoid social approach and interactions as much as possible.

Following are some combined nonverbal or behavioral symptoms:

1) They smile very rarely, walk slowly, and appear more psychologically occupied - lacking energy and confidence.

2) They get nervous very quickly and ruminate a lot. They adopt defensive or withdrawal postures most of time. They engage themselves in petty tasks for long time. 

3) They refrain themselves from exposures, interactions, open discussions or debates. They avoid direct eye contact and comfortable parade. They don’t take initiatives of themselves.

4) They seat with arched back and maintain downward gaze mostly. They use more grooming gestures, engage in forced solicitations, and try to seek affirmation from others about their beauty and attractiveness.

5) Generally, they stay closer with others who suffer with body image issue. They feel paralyzed when isolated from such individual or group.

6) They may also impulsively defend to somebody commenting on their appearance even if it’s bogus or a joke.

7) They may express jealousy towards persons (irrespective of gender) having positive body image and stay away from them.

8) They pass sarcastic or derogatory comments in absence of person whom they suppose to be more beautiful and good looking. In fact, they never genuinely appreciate good looking persons.

9) They are more likely to develop eating disorders typically known as Bulimia or Anorexia. They hardly can understand that their eating habits are harmful to their health.

10) Frequent peeping into mirrors, trying different looks - attires that don't match with their social image and copying others blindly is also well known behavioral symptom in them. These traits are also more common in youngsters going through or following puberty.

Most women suffer from body image issues and there are very strong reasons of same. Especially after World War II, industrial revolution and socio-economical changes gave opportunity to women for working in offices, factories, institutions, stores and organization. At the same time, increasing penetration of television, advertisement and fashion industry that thrives to standardize and materialize female (and even male) beauty began creating an illusionary images that women started to chase desperately. Global hike in cosmetic sales and increased medications - therapies are the indicators of same.

Following pregnancies, most women develop body image issues due to sudden change in body shape and size. Many women might choose very weird ways to gain their self-respect and confidence that are not easily understood or accepted by male partners.

Only way to overcome body image issue is to accept inheritance and adopting healthy practices. Don’t compare your physical features with others at all. Equating healthiness with beauty should be kept in mind. Persons acutely suffering from body image issues should approach counselors or psychologists as early as possible.

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