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What is Body Image?

Updated: Feb 1

If you think that body image is simply what you see in the mirror, you are wrong.

The image you have about your body is a complex combination of different feelings you develop about yourself.

In this post, I am going to break out BI (Body Image) into 3 different topics you have to know about it.

What are the three major components of BI (Body Image)?

Is common sense that an image results from a combination of light, an eye, and a brain. Light hits the object, then creates information that your eye can receive and send to your brain to be interpreted.

When comes to random objects this is very simple. However, when the object is our own body, the image we see is more complex.


Because what you see is what you are. What you feel about being. What people say about you. The memories your body carries. Your story, your fears, your strengths.

Ok.. I’ll give you a minute to reflect on that!

In the past, I worked with children who are blind, partially sighted, or deaf-blind. Their Body Image representation intrigued me immensely. Children who never saw the light were able to draw their own bodies. To creatively represent their body shapes.

I couldn't stop wondering: “What is Body Image anyway?”

As a psychoanalysis lover, I came across Jacques Lacan’s work and his understanding of the Mirror Stage. While learning his concept, I figured that none of us has actual access to the image of our bodies. And regardless of the way our eyes and brain react to light, all of us create an imaginary relationship with our own image.

Booooom… that was mind-blowing for me.

Being able to physically see yourself in the mirror doesn't give you access to the reality of who you are as a body.

So what exactly is that image we build about ourselves?

Is a combination of different aspects. And every school of Psychology explains this differently.

But they all agree that your Body Image is more that your reflection in the mirror.

Psychoanalysis goes a little far, but I’ll keep it simple for this post.

Body Image is composed of dimensions, such as

  • Organic

The word speaks by itself, is the flash, the bones, the skiing, the eyes. The organs, the tissues, the chemistry, the biology.

The part we can touch.

  • Social

Narratives have the power to build a body.

Since our parents, peers, partners, and friends to the social dominant ideologies.

Culture, relationships, ideas, stigmas, and social class.

Every word spoken about your body causes a huge effect on what you see when you look at yourself, and how you feel about the image reflected.

  • Psychological

You develop feelings about your image when you give a subjective interpretation of your own body.

The emotional reactions, the symptoms your psych “creates” due to your relationship with your body. The behaviors you adopt are caused by the specific way you interpret your image.

The way you subjectively position yourself in the world causes you to see a specific image.

What are the subjective results of BI (Body Image)

Creating this organic, social, and psychological image affects your subjectivity.


Body Image affects your thinking pattern.

What keeps your mind busy?

Whatever is predominantly on your head is there because of the way you see yourself.


Body Image dictates feelings that are constantly increasing.

Anger, fear, discouragement, and anguish are connected to a “negative” body image. Whereas feelings of worthiness, excitement, and joy relate to a “positive” body image.


Body Image interferes with the way you apprehend the world.

Not only the sensorial perception.

The perspective you look at life. To problems, conflicts, challenges, and opportunities.

Feeling bad about it creates a world vision full of negativity, depression, and helplessness. While feeling better makes you read the world as a nice place to be.

Positive and Negative Body Image

The difference between a positive and a negative Body Image is obvious, but important to mention.

A positive Body Image means so much more than finding yourself beautiful. It means feeling great in your own skin, and knowing how capable you are of achieving your goals, regardless of any personal or social restrictions.

A negative body image means being connected to harsh feelings and having a predominately depressed and unworthy vision of yourself.


Knowing about Body Image is really important. If you are a professional who somehow has an interface with this phenomenon is crucial to always keep in mind how complex this topic is. If you are a person searching in order to develop a better image of your own body, you are also in the right place. Gathering information is not the only factor to create a better relationship with your body, but is a great start.

Please, let me know in the comments below your thoughts, feelings, and questions. As well as suggestions about topics you would like to read more about in the next posts!

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