How to Improve Your Self Confidence and Self Image
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
These lines are instantly recognizable as the oft spoken words of the wicked Queen in the Grimm Brothers story Snow White. It's tempting to say that the Queen suffered from a lack of self confidence, especially as regards her looks, but that's only half the story. She also happened to be quite nasty, vindictive, insanely jealous and unmistakably sadistic.
Snow White was written by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s, a long time ago - but the idea of getting gratification and self respect from seeing a reflection in a piece of glass is still as important as it was then.
Build a Better Self Image
It's not surprising that so many of us find it difficult to be happy with the body we've got. Nowadays we have more than a mirror on the wall to contend with. In fact, the media has become our looking glass, reflecting back at us the bodies of people half our age whose only job in life is to look slim and beautiful.
And they trick us at every turn. For instance, how can it be possible for companies to advertise anti-aging solutions on women that are obviously in their twenties? Do they take us for fools? Do they think we're stupid enough to fall for it?
Yes, they do - because that's exactly what happens.
We can't help getting older, but we can at least try to do something about it. We buy the creams and potions in the hope that they'll at least restore some of our youthful vigor, knowing full well that they won't turn back time, but that they might make its effects less obvious. And it can't hurt to treat your skin well, giving it daily nourishment and helping it remain smooth and supple.
Like it or not, we do look in the mirror every day. We need reassurance that our hair looks right, our clothes are presentable and our overall shape is pleasing to the eye. But as necessary as these things might be, they don't enable us to get at the root of the problem.
Self Confidence Grows Up With Us
We've all done it... looked into a baby stroller and said something like this:
"What a handsome young man."
"What a pretty little girl."
It's natural. We feel compelled to compliment the parents on their little bundles of joy, and we do so using phrases relative to their gender. And that's when the whole issue of self image begins.
The idea of handsome boys and pretty girls gets ingrained in our heads as soon as we're old enough to understand the words. As a result, we spend a considerable part of the rest of our lives trying to live up to these descriptions. We succumb to peer pressure through our teens and high school years, and then to even more pressure from our colleagues in the workplace. Those pressures can either help us to develop the inner confidence we need to survive, or it can cause it to shatter into a hundred pieces.
Self Image Issues Affect both Men and Women
Media messages target men and women with equal zest, so why is it that women seem so much more concerned with their self image?
Part of the answer lies in our evolution. A woman's role in life used to be to attract a mate, and in order to secure the strongest and best provider amongst the resident population she had to use every advantage available. She needed someone who could:
- successfully father children
- hunt well enough to feed them both
- protect her from danger
Back then men could choose whomever they wished, so it was up to the female to ensure that she was able to offer more than her rivals. In most cases that initially came down to looks, and naturally any respectable caveman is going to choose the woman with the nicest shape, with all the bits in just the right place, or at least in the places where he particularly prefers them.
The gender divide is far less clear cut than it used to be, yet still women spend more time and money on the way they look than men. Looking good makes them feel good about themselves, boosting their confidence levels and giving them a soupcon of self esteem they can't get anywhere else. Women are more likely to go on diets, and they're more likely to equate being thin with being happy. But are there ways to boost one's body image without resorting to harmful weight loss regimes - or costly and invasive procedures to remove cellulite?
Five Tips to Boost Your Self Image
Here are some tips for giving your self confidence and self image a boost just by putting a bit more thought into it. No need to lose weight or take any drastic measures - just make a few positive changes in the way you think and behave to discover a more confident and more exciting lifestyle.
Tip #1: Think Positive, Talk Positive
We all talk to ourselves every day. That little voice in our heads is responsible for the way we see ourselves, the way we think other people see us and the way we evaluate our contributions. If that voice is negative we're never going to have the confidence we need to succeed and feel worthy of our efforts.
Try to catch yourself thinking negative thoughts such as "My bum's too big" and focus instead on your positive aspects. Nobody's perfect, so don't try to be. Tell yourself that you're OK, and that perhaps there are things you can work on. And remember that everyone you meet is in exactly the same boat.
Tip #2: Be Your Own Best Friend
Would you ever tell your best friend that he or she was a loser? Of course you wouldn't. So why do it to yourself?
Remember this simple truth: if you have even just one friend, then you must be someone worth knowing. You must be someone that another person enjoys being with, and you must be someone that makes a difference in their life. So stop beating yourself up.
Check Your Confidence Levels
Able to appreciate your good points
Always critical of yourself
Able to accept compliments graciously
Dislike compliments because you think you're not worth it
Able to do what you think is right no matter what other people say or do
Scared to act without other people's approval
Able to admit your mistakes, learn from them and move on
Unable to cope when things go wrong
Able to believe in yourself and your unique contributions
Unable to value the things you can offer
Tip #3: Highlight Your Best Features
Has someone ever told you you have gorgeous eyes? An infectious smile? Great teeth? Hair to die for?
Chances are there's something about you that other people admire or even envy. Use that to your advantage. Concentrate on what you know to be an asset, a quality or feature that makes you unique and that others appreciate. Forget about all the other stuff, because it doesn't matter.
Tip #4: Dress For Success
If your thighs are bigger than you wish they were, don't wear clothing that accentuates them. Hide them if that makes you feel better by dressing appropriately. Show off your large breasts, your great legs, your tight butt or your sexy shoulders.
Buy clothes that fit you and that make you look dynamite. Spend some time and money getting it right, because when you do you'll feel like a million dollars. If possible, get a friend to go shopping with you to offer advice and feedback.
Tip #5: Accept Yourself
No matter what else happens, remember that you are unique. There's no one else like you on the planet. You've got talents, character traits and ideas that make you an individual, and no one has the same qualities as you.
Only 2% of the world's population fit into the category of the supermodel. They're the freaks of nature, in reality. There's nothing wrong with looking like they do, but it's not the norm. Beauty is only skin deep - the real value of a human being is measured by who they are, and not by what they look like.
I'm a freelance writer, author, musician and composer. Visit my self help blog at http://theselfhelpzone.blogspot.co.uk/ for lots of freebies.
More Info on Self Confidence Issues
- Look More Confident
Can you look more confident even if you don't feel that way? Find out what you can do to give off the impression of total confidence... and boost your confidence levels at the same time.
- Body Image and Self Esteem
Your body image can seriously affect your levels of self esteem. But is it different for men and women? When do the problems really begin? And what can you do to balance the scales?
- Build your Self Esteem, a Guide to Self Improvement
How can you build your self esteem? Start by taking a look at the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are holding you back.