Every morning you probably get up and look in the mirror, do you like what you see or do you spend a few moments staring yourself down, noticing all your flaws and reminding yourself of them? But why? Why is it that when most people catch their reflection they feel that they should take it as an opportunity to only see the bad?
How we see ourselves plays a huge part in how healthy we are, it effects the way we eat, our motivation to move, work or push ourselves and our stress levels. Our self image is shaped by a number of things – though most of those are the media – and we have to be carful what we let ourselves believe.
Being positive about the way you look and who you are is much easier said than done; with so much to compare yourself to every day and so many people you don’t even know telling you how you should look, what you should be wearing and how you should be living your life it’s hard to know what is right for you.
We all know the dangers of the media and the image of beauty they perpetuate: the impossibly toned, flawless hair, clear skin, perfect proportions and a winning smile, and while some people may have some or all of these characteristics, it is all subjective (at a lot of it is fake). It’s not easy to stop yourself comparing what you look like to how the celebrities appear on TV or in magazines – even their Instagrams seem flawless, but that’s what you get when you have a team of people to help you make sure your make up is perfect, your clothes are on point and your hair looks like you’ve just stepped off a L’Oreal shoot; and it’s not just the media.
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love some body else” – Ru Paul
As a society we have become very bitter and judgemental, we are all so sure we know what normal should be and how people should be dressing, eating, living their lives and spend so much of our time passing judgement that we rarely take time to focus on ourselves other than to compare what we are and have to those we deem to be lesser. It’s not always a conscious thing, many of us have been brought up to believe this behaviour is okay and it just comes naturally to us, but it’s a habit we all have to break at some point.
So how do you improve how you see yourself with all of this negativity flying around – because when you start to love yourself you’ll find yourself caring less about how others look and behave.
- Focus on the things you like about yourself rather than the bits you find less desirable.
- Use your mirror to improve your positive outlook, every morning say one thing out loud (yes, it has to be out loud) that you like about yourself while looking yourself dead in the eye.
- Celebrate your everyday accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back for something you’ve achieved every day.
- If you ever find yourself pining to look like the person in the magazine or on TV, remind yourself that image is not real.
- Do not seek validation from anyone else to improve your self esteem, it won’t work. Your opinion of yourself is the most important.
- Accept your flaws and embrace them, work on what you can if that is what you want but understand that no one is perfect and we all have flaws, fixing one may just lead to seeking out another.
- Surround yourself with people who love and support you and make you feel good about yourself – but remember, you don’t need their validation, just their love.
- Do things that make you happy, remember to prioritise your happiness.
- Live in the moment and love yourself as you are right now, not how you were before or how you want to be in the future, live and love in the now.
We live in a world where social media fuels most of our day to day activities and as a result we have become – for the most part – a generation of people who feed off of validation from likes and generic comments. We – as a society – are obsessed with things like Instagram, we all want to be Instafamous, we want more and more likes on out selfies, we cant go a day with out Snapchatting what we’re doing, eating or wearing and we spend most of out time enjoying life through a screen rather than away from it because we are addicted and we need the validation from others to tell us we are worth something.
It’s a sad truth but here’s the secret: you don’t need them, those anonymous internet people, you don’t need them to make you feel good.
Do yourself a favour and set limits on screen time, ignore the likes and the followers and limit how much you snap and what you post. Remember that we didn’t always have these apps and you can get on without them.
Live your life positively, banish negative thoughts, make your mirror your best friend and love yourself. Search for mirror affirmations and say them to yourself out loud every morning and train your brain to think only good things, soon you’ll find the positivity and love starts to come naturally and it will flow over to those around you too, making the whole world a happier and healthier place.