How to build a positive self-image (so you can go for what you really want!)
My friend Emma recently emailed me the above Dove Real Beauty video and I loved it so much I just had to share it with you.
In fact, the timing was uncanny. Only the weekend before had a conversation with friends led to the acknowledgement that we too often fail to see- and truly celebrate- our own beauty, talents and quirks.
It started with a simple remark.
I commented on how stunning my friend looks in her bright white top and how I was envious of her beautiful olive skin- unfortunately, with my pale complexion I’d end up looking like a walking corpse if I went anywhere near the colour white! She was touched by the compliment but admitted that she had always wished she had fair skin like mine.
I remember her clearly saying “If we could only see in ourselves what others could see in us” – and with those words she hit the nail on the head.
With the media pumping out ridiculously idealistic ideas of what is it to be beautiful, we can end up focusing our energy on moulding ourselves into our perception of what beauty should be, rather than cherishing the inner and outer beauty that we already possess. This isn’t just about how we look on the outside, but our personal qualities, talents, passions, aspirations - all of those things that make us unique and that others appreciate in us (even though we can be blind to them).
Here's the thing:
If we want to enjoy personal fulfillment and really live our most inspiring life and business vision, it’s essential we learn to cherish the natural beauty in ourselves.
The hard truth is:
If we don’t appreciate our own talents and strengths, we hold ourselves back from living life to the full. We either won't have the self-belief to go for what we really want or our successes will never really be enough.
Deep down, we'll feel imposters- like any minute we could be shamefully 'found out' and be bought back to reality with an almighty crash. Rather than opening up and embracing the moment, fear and apprehension keep us wound up and stuck on the sidelines. It's like going to a banquet but not tucking in to feast.
There's no avoiding it: a positive self-image is the absolute bedrock for a vibrant, happy life.
So, how do you build a positive self-image? See below some of my top three tips to start building a healthier relationship with the most important person in the world- you!
Keep a Positive Journal (PJ)
Start a journal noting down the things you do like about yourself, compliments people have paid you (no matter how seemingly small), your achievements, strengths and happy moments. Go back as far as you like- put in the fact you won the egg and spoon race when you were 9 if it makes you smile! There's no rights or wrongs.
The problem is we tend to give far more weight to the few negative (or what we perceive as negative) stuff that we completely oversee the good bits. This becomes a negative cycle because what we focus on grows. If we're focusing on the fact we don't feel good enough to start that project that's stirring in us or our legs aren't quite slim enough to pull off that skirt- we'll feel bad and low in energy and fall deeper into negative patterns.
Make it a daily practice to write in your PJ, keep it with in your handbag and flip through it often to remind yourself of what is working/ going well for an instant boost. You may like to approach it more as a gratitude journal (like I do) where you simply give thanks for everything that you appreciate in your life, others and about yourself. Either way you're focusing on the positive stuff- so whatever feels best for you!
Become aware of your saboteur
(aka the archenemy to the positive self- image).
We all have a saboteur- it's one of those things that comes with being a living, breathing human being!
It's that self- punishing voice that resides within that will always point out our flaws, limitations and where we are shamefully lacking. Just start to notice when it pops up. Simply by becoming aware of your 'saboteur' you'll start to free yourself from it's menacing ways as you'll no longer be totally attached to- and immersed in it.
Then when you notice it, speak back to it from powerful you and "Perspective Positive". What's the positive interpretation? What went right? Where did you do a good job? What is possible? This is all a part of starting to build a kinder self-dialogue and shifting your focus to one that serves you a whole lot better.
Watch your body language.
The way we embody ourselves has a direct affect on the way we feel about ourselves and the world. The ideas we have about ourselves not only exist in our mind- but in our nervous system and bodies too (we are complex psychological beings!)
If we're hunched up and breathing tight, how can we really feel good about ourselves? Just as you start to notice your saboteur, start to get into the habit of becoming aware of how you feel in your body. Notice where you are tensing and consciously relax. If you're breathing has become tight and strained, take some long deep mindful breaths.
Ask yourself "How can I adjust my physical state right now to feel better?" and what ever the answer is- do it!
And finally- be patient. Just like any relationship, building a positive relationship with yourself requires time, energy and commitment. However by implementing the practices above and making it a daily habit, you'll very likely notice you feel a lot lighter, brighter- and starting to enjoy life that bit more.
What about YOU?
How important do you think it is to have a positive self-image?
What helps you to keep feeling strong and confident in your own skin?
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