Are ZOOM Meetings Affecting Your Self-Image?

Business team in video conference

Do you suffer from Zoom Dysmorphia? If you've been spending a lot of time in ZOOM meetings and as a result have become hyper-critical of your looks then maybe you do. Day after day your face, neck and shoulders for that matter, are on display for all of your remotely located co-workers to see. The same goes for them.

At first we enjoyed the casualness of the Zoom set-up and it seemed how we dressed from the waist down didn't matter. Yoga pants and sweats became the norm, if we wore pants at all. Then the fun began as we toiled over choosing a simulated background for ourselves or maybe going as far as to redecorate the wall in our workspace behind us either to impress or distract the other viewers. "Wow, is that a bobblehead of the warden from Shawshank on your shelf? Wait, what did he say?""

Believe it or not, people with ZOOM Dysmorphia are resorting to plastic surgery to fix the flaws. We are all, to some degree, self-conscious or self-aware. We care about how we look. If not why would we even brush our teeth, or use a comb or a razor in the morning. The up close and personal nature of ZOOM meeting has taken how you feel about yourself and how you think others look at you to a whole new level.

It's worse for those who already deal with Body Dysmorphia Disorder. Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD), by definition, is a body-image disorder characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one's appearance. Some people already know what parts of their body they don't like but aren't obsessing about it. Others fixate on what they think are their flaws and it becomes a daily struggle. That's BDD, and it's real. If you suffered from it before the pandemic, your symptoms have likely worsened over the last year.

Personally, I'm well aware of my body's flaws but it just so happens I don't have a camera function on my desktop screen. "You can't see me, na na, na na na!" Furthermore I don't spend my time during a ZOOM meeting analyzing my co-workers looks. "Wow, his left ear is lower than his right ear!", "Her roots are showing!, "I like her voice but she holds her mouth funny when she talks!" I employ something I learned in speech class in high school. I got over my fear of speaking in front of my classmates by realizing that they are each as nervous as me. It worked. It's an over simplification but try applying this approach during your next online meeting. He may be the most handsome or she the most beautiful but you can be sure there is something out of place. Just move beyond the looks because your idea or input is just as good as theirs. And your insight and creativity was something you were born with and did not come from a plastic surgeon's knife.

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