Everyday tasks can deteriorate our self-esteem and self-image. The media are constantly telling women how to look—get smoother skin, lose weight, look younger. Men are bombarded with messages about how to be stronger, act tougher, be a man. These messages can wear on us and give us mixed messages about who we are as people and about our gender and sexuality.
Building your self-esteem can be a way to combat these messages while improving your schema of yourself and how you view others. Here are three easy ways to help you build your self-image and self-esteem:
- Pick a quality you like about yourself and express it at least once a day. Maybe you believe yourself to be thoughtful, caring, giving, considerate, generous, honest, loyal, or hard-working; anything positive that you believe to be true about you will do. Express that quality with others. Offer to pick up a cup of coffee for a coworker if you are going to pick up one for yourself, turn in a report on time at work, or reach out to a friend or relative you have been meaning to contact. Any small task that reinforces positive beliefs about yourself only helps confirm that belief and also improves your thoughts about who you are as a person.
- Pick an aspect of your body image to put in the spotlight. You may like that you have kind eyes, broad shoulders, nice feet or legs, or a nice smile. Choose to emphasize the aspect of yourself that you like most. Maybe you decide to wear a skirt to work, or a blazer to emphasize your shoulders. Try smiling more often to highlight your asset. Whatever it is that you personally like about your appearance, choose to bring it out and show it to others. Note how you feel when you do this. It would be hard not to feel good about yourself. And when you feel good, you do good—for yourself and for others.
- Only positive self-talk will do for today … and every day. Make it a ritual to use only positive words when thinking or speaking of yourself. Some experts say it takes five positives to outweigh any one negative. So, start each morning by reciting in the mirror five positive things about yourself, or five positive things you will do today, and then make it happen. It may seem strange at first, but try it and see the benefit of positively reinforcing your thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Soon, you won’t even notice any negativity in the background. And if you do, you will be able to more easily let it roll off your shoulders and move on because it will not coincide with your personal beliefs. If it’s not true, it won’t stick.
These are easily implemented steps that you can do to personally take charge of your self-esteem and self-image. It takes only small steps each day to help you improve your self-esteem. Once these steps become a regular part of your routine, they become more or less automatic, and less thought and effort is put into building and maintaining your self-esteem.
Why not start today?
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Carolyn Russo, MS, LMHC, therapist in Seattle, Washington
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