In this piece, Helen Birch shared her expert opinion about how we exactly how even positive comments about our appearance can negatively impact us, and how we can give better compliments for fostering self-love. The full article can be found at The Know here
I decided to explore further why people are preferring to have no comments about their appearance and what is behind the new philosophy of body neutrality.
But for others, hearing even positive comments about their appearance makes them feel like they need to uphold a certain standard. As hypnotherapist Helen Birch puts it, it can create a “vicious body image relationship”, where the pressure to live up to ‘positive’ attention can increase self doubt, and push you to “extreme and dangerous measures.”
What’s wrong will giving a compliment? Its a nice thing isn’t it?
While the perception of receiving a compliment is a positive action, it can in fact provide a feeling of not being good enough, as no matter what you look like it can feel like you can never measure up to the image that you have in your mind. It can lead a person to further seek approval from others rather than within themselves. A person begins to constantly crave everyone’s opinion on themselves and become overly concerned with what other people think about them. They attach their happiness and self esteem to what others think and even adapt their lives to seek that approval, rather than being true to themselves
Receiving a compliment It can lead to constant comparisons of yourself, based on the positive comments others make about you. It can cause issues such as jealousy, envy and low self-esteem. It can also create unrealistic standards for ourselves which, even if we try to achieve, they are unlikely to be healthy or sustainable choices. For example, you get a positive comment about your weight loss, makes you want to lose even more weight so you may begin an unhealthy crash diet.
It can result in objectification, which is where a person evaluates themselves based on how they look and view themselves as an object. Even if you receive a positive comment, it creates self conscious awareness of how they look and how others see them. It creates a disconnect from pleasure, sensations and enjoyment. Objectification can mean you begin to fear rejection because you might not always look this way.
A negative narrative of thinking
It can also create a vicious body image relationship narrative:
- You receive a positive comment about your body, it makes you feel good, boosts your confidence and you enjoy the positive attention
- You then begin to worry that you will not keep receiving that positive attention, creating a pressure to maintain
- Doubt and paranoia also begin to creep in as you crave more of that positive attention
- The pressure results in you taking more extreme/dangerous measures to receive the positive comments about your body
It can also create self doubt which can be crippling. If a person receives a positive comment about their body particularly after its appearance has changed such as weight loss. They can then begin to think that the positive comment must mean that they were really unattractive before as they never received the positive comments when they were larger. A person may give a well intentioned comment but it can cause people to feel insecure, less confident and even body shamed of how their body was before. Further reinforcing that they are not good enough, or something is wrong with their body.
Beat The Brain Battle
If negative vicious body image loops have taken over, or you feel unable to break out of the self doubt, then hypnotherapy can work wonders. Hypnotherapy works to rewire the brain pathways to create positive thought patterns and behaviours. To find out how hypnotherapy can help you to ditch self doubt and boost self esteem, get in touch for a free consultation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free call.