Everyday, we are bombarded with media images of impossibly thin, impossibly beautiful, and impossibly successful models. Subconsciously, these models have become our role models. As a result, millions of us end up aspiring to impossible goals. Or deciding to fail on a grand scale. Could this be one reason so many of us have eating disorders?
Yet how you look affects how you feel about yourself. You should be able to love your body and be comfortable in your own skin regardless of the cultural pressures, but not everyone can do it.
Plastic surgery is one approach that helps many people with their self-image issues. But many people also believe that plastic surgery—even something as non-invasive as a Botox® injection—is not for everyone. While most people may want to look great, they don’t all need to look great to feel great about themselves. That’s an important distinction.
Here are some non-surgical ways to improve how you feel about your self-image:
1. Wear comfortable clothes. Yes, your clothes say something about you, but if they make you uncomfortable, you won’t be at your best. No matter what your current shape, find a style that both looks good and feels comfortable.
2. Support your body. If you feel terrible, maybe it’s what you’ve been eating. If you feel like a sloth, maybe it’s time to go for a walk. Every single day, you have the opportunity to choose a healthier lifestyle.
3. Think positively about yourself. Everyone has some redeeming qualities. What is it you like about yourself? What are you good at? Be honest. Write it down and then hang it somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Keep a pen nearby so you can add to it.
4. Spend some mirror time by yourself. When you’re alone, spend some time in front of a mirror. Take a good look. Examine different aspects of your face and your body. Find things you like about yourself. In other words, “count your blessings, not your blemishes.”
5. Get active. Find something you enjoy doing: taking walks, going dancing, or participating in a martial arts class. Get outside and into nature. Movement helps improve your attitude. Don’t let your self-image get in the way.
6. Find support. If you want to lose weight, get in shape, or quit smoking, find another person with the same goal so you can motivate each other. Your mutual challenge becomes another reason to hang out together, making it more fun.
7. Take care of yourself. Reward yourself for reaching milestones—not with a double scoop of chocolate fudge, but with a full-body massage. Do nice things for yourself, and you’ll like yourself more.
8. Take pride in yourself. Instead of comparing yourself to fashion models, look at photos of yourself before you started. You are making positive changes in your life. No matter where you go, hold your head high.