By: Cheryl Ann Mwende

Most of us have have something we wish we could change in our bodies if given a chance, but what about feeling good in our own skin and body as much as we can? We fail to realize that how we feel about our self is more important than our looks. Body image refers to a person’s emotional attitude, beliefs and perceptions of their own body relating to appearance, height, weight and shape. These believes can affect you either positively or negatively, that is why you find some people feeling unhappy with some parts of their bodies while others are comfortable with how they look.

When you have a positive body image you understand that your appearance doesn’t determine your self-worth. Some people say, “when I get in better shape I will like my body,” failing to realize that by accepting their body, taking good care of their body and finding things to love about their body is the other side of it.  You could start by liking your hair, eyes or even your smile. Accepting those things that you can’t change and reminding yourself what you like about yourself could be the beginning of a strong positive body image.

A negative body image is when you feel dissatisfied with your body and appearance. People with negative body images tend to compare themselves with others and feel inadequate when doing so. Avoid comparing yourself with others or feeling embarrassed about how you look because this may lead to having a low self-esteem and lack of confidence. We are all different and unique in our own ways, after all, we are all wonderfully and fearfully made.

In today’s generation, we are easily influenced by social media which seems to encourage young people to believe that there is an ideal body. The media also sets unhealthy competition at times and you find that a certain body type is being glorified to the public. We are so obsessed with achieving those body goals and that’s why you find some of us opting to go for unnecessary cosmetic surgeries or starving ourselves to lose weight. In all that, we forget that beauty is not just about appearance!

I definitely have body issues, I’m guessing you do too but when you come to realization that almost everyone else does then you can start living comfortably in your skin. Being positive is as simple as deciding to love yourself despite your shortcomings, to embrace yourself and not letting others dictate how you feel about your body. Lastly, let’s stop body shaming! I have been through my fair share of the same which affected my self-esteem.  I was insecure about my round and chubby face accompanied by a slightly big forehead that creates the illusion of big cheeks when I smile. I had friends who made fun of my forehead and they’d refer to it as “balcony ya mawazo.” Mean huh! I wasn’t able to fully embrace myself with that kind of energy around but somehow I worked on it, I focused on the things I liked about myself; my dimple and bright white eyes. I learnt that I’m allowed to look beautiful and worthy of all those things and so are you!

You are either as beautiful or as ugly as you believe you are. You have to practice positive self-talk, be around positive people and cut off any negativity. The problem is not your body; it’s what you think of yourself. If you are feeling bad about how you look, I hope Alessia Cara’s song – Scars to your beautiful can make you feel better and remember that you don’t have to change a thing, you are a star and you are beautiful.