Body Image Source of Much Stress For Students

Loving yourself, and caring for your body doesn’t always come easily, however, when you achieve self-love and self-confidence it becomes a mindset. According to, confidence comes from believing in yourself and accepting who you are. Everyone in the world struggles from insecurities, but how do we stop ourselves from letting our insecurities consume us?

The KidsHealth article, entitled “Body Image and Self Esteem” suggests that the answer is simple:  love, and understanding. Love is the opposite of hate. Instead of thinking about all of the things you hate about yourself, think of all of the things you love. Understanding is the opposite of fear. Understand that your body is the way it is because it is the healthiest form for your body.

Insecurities are developed when we compare ourselves to others. They can also be caused by bullying or an unhealthy relationship with a friend or a parent. Science teacher Brianna Burnett was insecure as a teen, but also finds herself feeling insecure even as an adult.

“A lot of those insecurities came from having ‘friends’ who were very negative people,” Burnett explained. “They either made fun of me, or made fun of other people, which made me worry they would make fun of me.”

It may not be easy at all times but to achieve confidence you have to believe you are beautiful. Mental Health America (MHA), a national organization, suggests surrounding yourself with people who make you feel valued.

“Teens have to learn to love themselves as they are,” said Burnett. “Others can’t force them to see themselves as beautiful; but, the simple act of complimenting them, encouraging them, and making them feel comfortable and valued can go a long way.”

When these insecurities are severe, they are known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD, and can have serious ramifications.

“BDD can interfere with an individual’s ability to interact with classmates and teachers and may even prevent students from attending school at all – some teens have reported missing an entire year of school because of BDD. One study found that 18 percent of students with BDD dropped out of school entirely because their symptoms were so severe.” says the MHA article on this disorder.

Even in the virtual environment, Burnett has perceived some issues with body dysmorphia.

“Some students don’t want to make Flip Grids or turn on their cameras,” said Burnett, who suspects that dysmorphia could be behind these insecurities.  “They have told me they can’t stand to look at themselves.”

Ms. Burnett feels much more confident about her appearance most of the time now, partly because of good friends, and also because of her experience as a photographer.

“Those good friends helped me feel secure and happy with who I was as a person and how I looked.  I began to see myself through their eyes and I knew they thought I was beautiful despite my imperfections,” she said.

With her photography, Burnett notices the individuality in the people she photographs. “When I take portraits of people, all I see is their beauty,” she said.

When she learned that sometimes those people didn’t see that same beauty in themselves, it made her very sad.  “I realized that the people who matter only see my beauty, not the things I don’t like when I look.”

At the end of the day, we all have something we want to change about ourselves, but it is more important to focus on the things we love about ourselves.