The media and social media are messing with people’s body image—and it’s just not one outlet. The media has been propagating negative body image mentality for decades before social media emerged. Now spaces like Reddit, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and more are all included. Posts are constantly popping up about how someone got a ripped body in a couple of months, which are lies. A year or more of hard work and dedication are needed as a great body doesn’t happen overnight or in a couple of months.
But you see guys knocking themselves down because they don’t look like these ripped guys in the media and social media. Research has demonstrated that only 37% of men are as lean and muscular as the men getting all the engagement on social media. Even though men are told not to believe what they see online because images can be manipulated, they still fall into the trap of comparing themselves to others. It’s human nature, but we must fight it and find what works for us individually. We are all unique with our own circumstances.
Women are generally more judged on their appearance than utility than men. So this body image issue that I’ve been talking about has been more often related to women and less often to men. But the effects of media and social media body image issues on men have recently gained some traction. People are finally starting to consider the serious body image issues regarding men and that it’s not all targeted at women.
Society seems to recognize women’s feelings more than men’s regarding body image issues. But men face the body image pressure as well (think underwear models, action heroes, athletes, product ads, and more). These men that I just listed only represent .01% of society! Typical women don’t look like supermodels but can still be attractive. Likewise, men typically don’t look like Jason Momoa or Chris Hemsworth, but they can still be attractive.
You are currently living in the only body you will ever have, and hating the way you appear for any reason has no point. If you’re fat, unfit, or unhealthy, you have the same opportunity as anyone else to change that. However, the only reason you should change that is for yourself. F*ck everyone else. Those passing judgment on you don’t care about you, so don’t care about them.
I hated my ears when I was younger because I thought I looked like Spock or Eddie Munster. I considered having my ears pinned back, and I used to stand in the mirror and assess what I was really self-conscious about. So what am I going to do about them? After time, I have grown into them and started to give them less and less consideration & attention. In other words, nothing. I will do nothing about them — not even think about them.
Many times when we’re younger, we may feel self-conscious and awkward about an aspect of our body or face. But as we mature and develop into more confident individuals, some of those concerns fade. For me, my ears still stick out a bit, but they are the least of my concerns.
But this also brings me to the fact that WE ARE OUR OWN WORST CRITIC. We are so incredibly hard on ourselves. We can take something that is totally a non-issue, which nobody in a million years would ever guess that we’re worried about, and make an issue out of it. We can make it blow up into some huge thing.
Gentlemen, we are all different. We all have different unique aspects, characteristics, and idiosyncrasies about our personalities and bodies. We could modify our bodies with surgery, but chances are something else will cause insecurity. Instead, the best bet is to work on making yourself more CONFIDENT and secure. That way, over time, you’ll pay less and less attention to that aspect that made you self-conscious. You’ll come to terms with the situation and realize that whatever was causing the insecurity adds character to you. Here are a few steps to get you there.
- Recognize and identify your insecurities – what makes you uncomfortable, scared, and ashamed of yourself. Write it down.
- Talk about it – face it by addressing it with people you trust. Resolve these issues to move on. Some problems might not go away but accepting and dealing with them allows you to move on. Accept who you are and what has happened to you.
- Don’t dwell on mistakes.
- Identify what you are really good / excel at – permit yourself to be proud.
- Be thankful for what you have.
- Eliminate negativity from your thoughts and speech – positivity spreads, and you’ll be amazed at the people who you touch in a positive way.
- Accept compliments – say ‘thank you.’
- Stick to your principles.
- Help others – by being a kind person, your self-esteem and confidence are boosted.
- Do something for yourself daily — something that makes you happy and that you enjoy!
Stop yourself from being fixated on something that is truly all in your mind. Instead, be good to yourself and realize that we are all way too hard on ourselves. Eventually, the media and social media will lose their power, and in the end, you will discover who you really are and feel better about yourself than you ever have. Don’t be hard on yourself because you are beautiful and made perfectly you.
We all want to be confident, look good, and feel our best, and that’s a good thing. But one of the saddest things is that 1 in every 20 men has been harassed, trolled, or shamed on social media because of his appearance or weight. Gentlemen, the pressure is already raised. Instead of tearing each other down, let’s work on building each other up.