Building Your Self Esteem & Healthy Body Image

Updated: Nov 15, 2019



There’s no doubt that many of us, including myself, have days when we don’t like what we see in the mirror or we imagine that other people see us in a negative way. What does this actually mean and how can we conquer feeling self conscious in our own skin?


We all have a little voice inside our head that provides constant feedback throughout the day on what we see and experience. One of these things is body image, that little voice will either tell you wonderful and positive things about your body or it will do the opposite and talk in a negative way about your body and shape. That little voice can cause us to have a negative body image.


Another part of that inner voice is our self esteem, this is about how we value and respect ourselves, it’s the opinion we have of ourselves. When we lack self esteem we will typically have thoughts like ‘other people are better than me’ or ‘I don’t think I’m good enough’. When we lack self esteem this can negatively impact our body image ,so they go hand in hand.


There is no ‘perfect’ body shape or size because we are all unique individuals. What you look like does not determine your value as a person. Take a moment to think about your body image. Are you unkind to yourself when you look in the mirror? Only seeing the parts you don’t like? And not noticing your great parts? We judge ourselves much more harshly than anyone else would judge us, try to treat yourself like you would your best friend. Body image is really about the way you think, not the way you look.


Media

Popular media influences our perception of body image and creates an idealised image of what ‘attractiveness’ should look like. We are fed with this information and images on a daily basis, particularly through social media. We can all fall into the social media scrolling trap!

  • Understand that more often than not, the images produced by media are not realistic and will usually be edited to achieve the ‘perfect look’ which isn’t real for anyone. Even our friends feel that influence and often take lots of pictures but only post the ones that they feel are ‘the best’.

  • Filter your media, choose to only let your social feeds to be filled with healthy body images that are realistic, or social influences that focus on what their body can do rather than just what it looks like. If you look at an image and it makes you feel bad about yourself, stop following that media source.

Fashion

We’re all different shapes and sizes, which means we all look great in different clothes. Don’t let media make you feel pressured to dress a certain way. You will look best when you have your own unique flare and style to the way you dress. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and express your personality, as well as clothes that fit you now.


What You Eat

Media plays a big role in what we think we should and shouldn’t eat and selling the unbelievable results of fad diets. We’ve discussed the negative consequences of fad diets here. The people in our circle of influence can also make us feel we need to eat a certain way.

  • Eat well balanced meals and exercise because it makes you feel healthy, energetic and strong, not as a way to control your body.

  • Understand that enjoying some happy food occasionally is okay, more on this over here.

  • Avoid fad diets - they often end up with us actually feeling worse about ourselves.

Other People

Whether it’s that inner voice comparing yourself to others, or friends & family who think it's okay to discuss your body and how it looks, it can be hard to ignore these comments.

  • Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about your body and shape.

  • Remind yourself you are not defined by the way you look.

  • When you judge yourself or others based on weight, appearance or size (I call this the comparison trap), ask yourself if there are other qualities you could look for that result in positive thoughts.

  • Building healthy body image doesn’t happen overnight and it’s a continuous work in progress.

Remember, no one is perfect and everyone has ‘imperfections’. We can decide to focus on the ‘imperfections’ and have negative thoughts, or we can focus on the positive aspects of our body and personality, when you start looking for them, you will realise how amazing you really are! Continue to refer back to these points to fine tune your healthy body image.


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