Ask The Expert: Change Your Perception Of The Expectations

WHEN it comes to body image there are many schools of thought – from what the optimum size and shape is to the perfect weight.

But all these things are simply aesthetics, the real issue when it comes to body image is what’s going on in the mind.

Jimmy Smyth

Jimmy Smyth

One person who deals with this issue on a regular basis is author, life coach and counsellor Jimmy Smyth.

With over 40 years experience working in the mental health field, Jimmy is currently one of the partners in The Health & Wellbeing Company.

He is also author of The Journey, a novel about a young girl called Mary set in 1930’s Northern Ireland.

Here he writes for BAM about Body Image:

By Jimmy Smyth

Body image is the perception that we have regarding how we look and how we are physically.

Added to that are our feelings and thoughts, in our minds, relating to how we see ourselves physically.

Our perception of ourselves is one thing, and this in itself can have a detrimental effect on various aspects of our life; but more importantly it is our feelings and thoughts, depending on our perception, that can make or break us.


It’s not how we look but how we feel about what we look like

The feelings that we have can be either negative or positive and they are influenced by a number of factors; such as family, friends, culture and the media – such as social media, newspapers, radio, television and of course advertising in all its many forms.

We are bombarded, on a daily basis, by images, photographs and opinions as to what our ideal body image should be.

For many people, particularly young people, this almost daily exposure to these images and opinions can cause undue pressure; stress and self-criticism by making people who are vulnerable feel less than normal, or indeed ugly.

Many countries, especially America and the United Kingdom have high and unrealistic standards of the perfect body and how women and indeed men should look, and be perceived as beautiful.

These unrealistic high standards are encouraged by the media, advertisements, celebrities and models and promoted to the extent that young people, especially girls, are entrapped into a world where they are chasing perfection in their dream of having a body image as portrayed by others.


The question isn’t ‘are you perfect enough’ but more whether perfection actually exists

This can become a curse that leads thousands of young people on a journey of doom that will take them into a hell of Depression, Eating Disorders and Female Oppression.

The time has now come to stand against this crazy and perverted notion of what body image should be and to look inwards, into our hearts and into our souls to discover what is really important in life while at the same time realising, that it is the person you are, that really matters and is everything and what really determines your beauty, your image and the magic that is you.

Distant yourself…

From those who are trying to dictate the person you should be; the person you should look like and the clone you ought to become. This is not for you: you are beautiful; you are unique, you are so special and you are you: with no aspirations to become someone else.

Don’t concern yourself with Body Image…

Concern yourself with Self-Esteem; your opinion of yourself, the real you. Be healthy in your thoughts, value your achievements, be proud of the person you are and be happy and satisfied with the special person you are.

Body image is not based on fact…

It’s a figment of your imagination and influenced more by your self-esteem than by actual physical attractiveness, as judged by others.

Don’t let them inside your head, to invade your mind, manipulate your thoughts and poison you with a false concept of what you should strive to be in order to attain a body image that may be alien to the person you really are.

For more information about Jimmy Smyth or The Health & Wellbeing Company log onto

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To buy Jimmy’s book The Journey just click the picture below:

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