Why it is important to give yourself validation and love? Have you noticed how social media can influence the way you perceive yourself? Is your age related to beauty? In this podcast, Dr. Castagnini speaks with Jessica Marini about her mental health blog and journey with body image and body dysmorphia.


Jessica is a 30-year-old Speech Language Pathologist in a special education school, where she helps teenagers communicate their wants and needs to others. During the pandemic, she also decided to start a blog, Decompress with Jess. It is her intention with this blog to create a space where people can totally decompress and relax while discussing mental health, body image, and everything in between. Jess thought it would be nice to hear from the perspective of an everyday average person (just your everyday average Jess), going through this just like you and sharing her experiences. Visit her website and connect on Instagram. Email Jess at decompresswithjess@yahoo.com


  • It’s not about how you look
  • Your appearance does not dictate your worth
  • Age is not related to beauty

It’s not about how you look

It’s not about how you look, it’s that feeling inside. The feeling you have inside is dictating so much about … your perception of you. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
Body image comes from the inside. The way you perceive your body comes from how you feel about yourself inside, so in essence, it does not matter how you look, it matters more how you see and feel about yourself. Observe the way you speak to yourself, especially during periods of tension or stress. If you do not give yourself validation and love, then you will be forced to look for it in other places. This ultimately leads to feeling like you have to curate yourself to the standards of others, which is a losing battle. Give yourself love and validation and know that your body is yours, no one else’s, and you do not have to make yourself into something else to be accepted.

Your appearance does not dictate your worth

Unfortunately, due to the rise of power and influence of social media, many people have started equating how many likes they receive on their posts and pictures to how much worth they have as human beings.  This is not true. This is not reality.
I try to say to myself “in the real world, what does that mean?” if you could carry [likes] over into the real world, there’s really no translation to it. (Jessica Marini)
Due to the fact that social media is so prevalent in our lives, it gets treated like another reality, but it is not real, and it does not – and should not – have power over what actually is real. Social media is a mirror and a vacuum where things can be said and done in an unregulated manner, a place where there are few consequences. This is not a reality that reflects real life. Guard your mind and your energy from social media because it can suck you in and make you question what you think about yourself. Remember that you ultimately have the power of your mind.
If we just opened up the blinders and saw what makes somebody wonderful is just beyond a picture. It’s so two dimensional but when you get to know somebody and you see them in person and get their personality and get to know who they are … it’s so different when you actually connect with somebody [in real life] and their appearance goes away because you’re connecting with an actual person … what’s on the inside is so much more important but I think people forget that. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)

Age is not related to beauty

Beauty standards change over time. What was considered beautiful 100 years ago is different from what was considered beautiful 50 years ago which is different from current beauty standards in 2021. Once you realize this, it becomes a pointless task to try to fit in with a standard that always changes. The only thing that does not change is you, and therefore you can be your greatest and strongest standard instead of looking for it outside of yourself. Some people think that age is related to beauty, and it is not. That is a symptom of current beauty trends which exemplify youth as a marker of beauty, leading many people to chase looking young instead of embracing their bodies at their true age. Genuine beauty is universal and timeless, not fixated on current trends.



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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