Mental Health Journal: Self-Image

By: Josi Billings

When I see myself I don’t see who I want to see. I don’t see the beautiful blonde that I see on the screen when I scroll through Instagram, or the super tan and skinny models plastered all over posters. I stare into the mirror and wish I was somebody else. I step on the scale and see a bundle of numbers that for some reason I think define me. If only that number was smaller, then I could learn to love myself. If only my hair was longer, my teeth were whiter, my legs were longer, and my waist was smaller. I just don’t understand why I can’t look as good as the other girls, why do I have to look like this?

   Everyone experiences some kind of negative thinking when it comes to self-image. One of the biggest age categories that struggle with a negative self-image the most are teenagers today. Technology, social media, magazines, and television all harm how teenagers see themselves. There are many ways to see if you or a friend are experiencing negative self-image and how to get help when suffering from it.

Who struggles with a negative self-image?

   According to, “Boys, girls, men, and women can all be affected by body image issues, but in different ways. For example, teenage girls who don’t like their bodies often want to lose weight and be thinner. Teenage boys want to lose weight, be taller or have more muscles.” Though girls are known to experience negative self-image more we have to remember that everyone experiences it every once in a while.

What are some signs of a negative self-image to watch out for?

Some negative signs of a negative self-image to watch out for:

  • Criticizing the body.
  • Comparing yourself to others.
  • Not wanting to leave the house because of how you look.
  • Obsessing over losing weight.
  • Spending lots of time looking in the mirror.
  • Linking food with feelings of guilt, shame, or blame.

You can also look for these signs within other people or friends if you’re concerned about them as well. 

What are some risk factors of negative self-image?

Some students are more prone to feel unhappy about themselves than others.

Some risk factors of a negative self-image are:

  • Feels pressure from family, peers, or media. 
  • Are perfectionist.
  • Look at themselves from the outside rather than inside. 
  • Have low self-esteem.
  • Have symptoms of depression.
  • Have physical disabilities.

What can I do to reduce negative self-image within myself?

Some things you can do to reduce negative self imagine within yourself are:

  • Taking a break from social media.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Surround yourself with good family and friends.
  • Repeat positive affirmations.
  • Try to find the best in yourself instead of comparing yourself to others.

What can I do to help a friend suffering from a negative self-image?

Some things you can do to help a friend suffering from a negative self-image are:

  • Talking and listening to them.
  • Focusing on that person as a whole.’
  • Being a positive role model.
  • Help them identify their strengths.
  • Praise their accomplishments. 
  • Refer them to counseling if necessary.

Help Resources:

Contact an anonymous service like Kids Helpline – phone 1800 551 800

Use Kids Helpline web counseling or Kids Helpline email counseling services


2019-11-20T15:16:59+00:00November 20th, 2019|Opinion|