If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, you’re not alone. A bad self-image, lack of confidence and low self-esteem are traits shared among so many of us. In a perfect world, we would all see ourselves through a lens of love and acceptance. Yet, in reality, that lens is clouded by past teasing, bullying or abuse, critical people, negative relationships, unrealistic media, and more.
We feel pressured to look a certain way by both internal and external influences and we feel bad about ourselves when we don’t meet that ideal. We see ourselves as too fat, too skinny, too short, or too tall. We want to change our hair, our nose, our eyes or chin. We look in the mirror and see everything we dislike about ourselves even when there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the way we look.
It’s time to put a stop to that self-criticism and start boosting body image. Here’s how:
Avoid critical people. You know those “friends” who always find a way to point out your faults or deliver a back-handed compliment? Time to get those phony friends out of your life and surround yourself with positive people. Stick with people who encourage and support you instead of those who damage your self-esteem and bring you down.
Don’t compare yourself. When you’re insecure about your own looks, it’s easy to notice everyone else’s positive traits. Do you find yourself wishing you had your sister’s beautiful hair or your friend’s naturally thin frame? Chances are, they also have things about themselves they don’t like. Stop focusing on other people’s looks and you may also stop focusing on your own appearance.
Stop the negativity. This might be a tough one, but it’s time to stop talking trash about the way people look. Don’t engage in negative talk about appearances with other people, whether it’s about yourself or someone else. In the same vein, try banishing negative thoughts about your physical self. When you find yourself thinking bad about your looks, refocus on something positive. Keep a running list of the things you like about yourself and refer to it when you’re feeling negative. Silence your inner critic and awaken your inner cheerleader.
Be nice to yourself. Self-care can help us heal inside and out. It’s a key component of our well-being. Take care of your body and mind. Treat yourself to the spa or run a luxurious bath at home. Take yourself to the movies. Indulge in a little shopping therapy. Read an inspiring book. Enjoy activities and hobbies that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself.
Find your purpose. Focus on something unrelated to the way you look. Volunteer for a cause that matters to you. Take up a creative pursuit. Discover a new hobby. Lose yourself in something that ignites your passion and makes you feel good about yourself.