Appearance plays an important part in our self-worth. How you see yourself, and who you think you are, develop from a very young age, and is particularly sensitive in adolescence when you begin to build an identity. We base a large proportion of our self-worth on our appearance. If we are dissatisfied with how we look this can have a powerful impact on our self-esteem and self-confidence.
Symptoms of low body image can include: having a distorted view of what you actually look like; changes in eating patterns; being highly critical of yourself or your actions/abilities; having high self-doubt or only seeing yourself to blame if things go wrong; ignoring positive qualities or finding it hard to accept compliments; predicting that things will not turn out well; feeling depressed, anxious, guilty, ashamed or frustrated.
These thoughts and feelings may then make life more difficult. For example, a person may become consumed with their appearance and look for evidence that confirms their negative beliefs; avoid places or situations that remind them of their appearance; try to change their appearance or self-harm through harsh dieting and exercise regimes; place unrealistic expectations on themselves, which leaves them vulnerable to failure which in turn reinforces feelings of low self-worth.