Questions for Linda Papadopoulos of My Naked Secret
Linda Papadopoulos is a published author, distinguished researcher and practicing psychologist and also the host of Discovery Fit and Health's My Naked Secret. We sat down with Dr. Linda to ask her a few questions about her expertise -- self-confidence and the body. Read what she had to say!
What are the three most common things people don’t like about their bodies?
It’s a very personal thing, but if you look at cosmetic surgery stats, breasts, tummies and noses tend to top the list for women. For men, hair loss is often the biggest issue, however personal experiences growing up and cultural and celebrity trends really feed in to body insecurities as well.
Is it possible for someone to “learn” body confidence?
Absolutely. The way we feel about our bodies has more to do with the way we think they look rather than objective assessment of what we actually look like. If you can look at the things that feed into poor body confidence like buying into the beauty myth, media pressure, bullying and family norms, you can begin to alter it.
What are some things you can do to build body confidence?
Challenging the notion that beauty only comes in one shape and size; being aware of negative internal dialogue related to appearance and learning to mute it; seeing your body as functional and not just as aesthetic; learning to look in the mirror so that instead of focusing on what you don’t like about your body, you make a point of focusing on the parts your appearance that you do.
Why are body image issues so common in women in particular?
I think it is because society places so much more value on women's appearances than on men's. This causes some women to believe that that is the most important thing about them and so they need to invest it in often to the detriment of other things that could contribute to a healthy self-esteem.
How is self-esteem related to the interactions you have with family, friends, and even strangers?
The way we look has an effect on our confidence and can impact social interactions, both with strangers and those close to us -- many fall into the trap of self-fulfilling prophesies i.e. they expect that people will reject them because of their appearance so they act in such a way to bring about the result they expect. For others, there is a chance of putting life ‘on hold’ until they look better, thus missing out on experiences and even healthy relationships.
What advice would you give someone who claims to hate his or her body?
Don’t use the word "hate." "I hate my legs" can turn into "I hate my body" which can eventually turn into "I hate myself." Don’t bully yourself; celebrate your own kind of beauty rather than trying to copy or conform; learn to see your body as functional, not just as aesthetic; learn to love your body for what it can do, not just what it looks like. Build a self-esteem that is not just dependent on what you look like but rather on what you can do, what you’re passionate about and what your beliefs and talents are.