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Countless Americans spend all summer dreaming of the beach and dreading it once they arrive for one reason—bathing suits. Something about the heat of the summer sun and the short length of hemlines stirs a lot of us into a frenzy. Thankfully, there is only one step to having a bikini body—putting on a bikini. Why does society value appearance so much and how can you feel confident in your own skin?

Keeping Up Appearances

The good and bad news is that Americans aren’t just obsessed with the appearance of bodies, they are also obsessed with the appearance of everything else, from smartphones to picket fences. How obsessed are we? A recent study by Allure magazine showed that 50% of people felt their appearance also defined their identity. A whopping 61% of men and women think their lives would be significantly better if they were more attractive and 50% of men and women believe that being more attractive would help them get ahead at work.

How Do We See the Obsession?

Other than self-reported data, there are many ways that you can see our obsession with appearance throughout the culture. Social networking has increased awareness of ourselves and each other. Many people judge their worth based on how many likes or followers they have on different social networks. Appearance even matters at the ballot box, especially in local and state-wide elections, as a recent New York Time study demonstrated that voters choose the more competent-looking person based solely on appearance. If that isn’t enough proof, look at the multi-billion-dollar industry surrounding plastic surgery and body modifications.

How Are We Buying into the Obsession?

While we all buy into the preoccupation with appearance to some extent through purchasing make-up, coloring our hair, obsessing over our stomachs and fretting about what size swimsuit to wear, there are ways to combat the pressure.

  • Realize that trends come and go, but your body is the only one you are going to get. Accept your body for what it is—beautiful and your only one.
  • Focus on what your body can do by taking a new exercise class or doing an outdoor activity.
  • Practice what you preach by not defining others by their physical appearance.
  • Smile!
  • Focus on comfort and function when it comes to clothing, not restriction and fashion.
  • Set your goal toward optimal health for you, not looking like someone else.

Get in Touch This Summer

Need advice on feeling confident in your appearance this summer? Contact CBT Baltimore to get on the right track at 443-470-9815.