Negative self-esteem are the opinions you’ve developed about yourself based on the perceptions others have of you. Developing good positive image has nothing to do with popularity or physical looks but a true appreciation of self – faults and all.
We live in an internet world where body shamers sit behind a PC and tell you how your stomach should look, or how your glutes need toning. Magazine covers of gorgeous models with well-defined abs and spotless skins influence your perception of self. Research from the University of California posits that poor body image affects physical and mental health and the more unhappy women are with their body, the more unlikely they are to exercise.
What can you do to combat years of self-image issues to improve self-esteem and be happy in your body?
- Don’t compare yourself to seemingly perfect people
Even models on the runway have something they wish they could change about their body. Wishing you had someone’s straight hair, smooth skin or toned body takes away from your uniqueness. Accentuate your qualities to minimize what you don’t like and boost your spirit.
- Avoid certain media
The media is a major contributor to problems people have with body image. Magazine covers with women weighing under 45, TV shows featuring skinny, beautiful women with no imperfections and magazine columns that insist there is something wrong with plus-sized people. What you expose yourself to affects how you think and feel. Overhaul your current subscriptions, are they helping to build a positive self-image or highlighting your flaws? Avoid image focused TV shows, gossip and fashion media and adverts.
- Adjust exercise goals
Instead of wishing you were taller or had blonde hair, redirect your attention and efforts to parts of your body you can work on. The benefits of a regular exercise regimen is endless. A 2014 study in Body Image shows that women who exercise to reduce stress enjoy better body image than those exercising for appearance.
When you’re at the gym think of where you want to be, how your efforts will help to reduce stress and alleviate the pressure to be perfect. Forget about your weight loss goal and focus on yourself, it will push you to feats you thought impossible.
Buy clothes that fit
People with body-image issues always struggle to find the right cloth for work. You might feel tempted to squeeze your body into a dress that doesn’t fit anymore or look through a wardrobe full of clothes you can’t wear. Purge your closet of clothes that make you uncomfortable, frustrated and disappointed in yourself. Shop new clothes that fit your body and highlights your beautiful figure. The old clothes doesn’t represent the new improved you and the new clothes gives your body room to adapt and settle.
Nothing kills your confidence more than setting unrealistic expectations, if your expectations are disappointing you, adjust them. Unfollow people that body shame others on social media and look for positive self-image groups where you draw love and support from people who have struggled like you.
Self-esteem cannot be based on the perception of others nor on an old version of yourself that doesn’t exist. It might seem like a frightening journey but through patience, perseverance and a strong support system, you will improve your body image perceptions, build confidence and improve their health.