A positive self-image is something I think almost everyone struggles with at some point in their lives, but especially women. We grew up being taught that the way you looked is the ONLY thing that matters. Our entire young life was around pink and our looks. Magazines like Seventeen touted diet tips and ways to attract boys with the right shade of lipstick. Our movies always casted anyone above a size 6 as the ugly, fat sidekick friend (and they still do that – BARBBBBBB!) Hell, there’s entire shows like the Victoria Secret special and beauty pageants that are literally hours of the nation praising tall, skinny, beautiful women for their looks. When you don’t look like what you see in the media, it makes your self esteem pretty dang low. That is, until you can practice ways to bring it back up. These are my top 5 tips for building self image confidence that I used to help have a positive personal body and mind love!
Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.
But how do you do that when your brain is constantly telling you that you aren’t enough?
Before we start, it’s important to note that I am not a therapist or mental health professional. While I blog about self-esteem and body positive issues and always try to be an inspirational resource, if you are feeling mentally unstable, please contact a professional to talk. (ie: go to therapy at a clinic – there’s nothing shameful about talking to trained professionals about mental health!)
What is self image? The definition of self image to me is a positive, healthy, happy relationship with yourself (body and mind.) A positive self image definition is the ultimate thing to work towards. When you have a negative self image, it slowly seeps into every part of your life. Mental health and physical health are so intertwined, ya’ll. Feeling bad about your body encourages you to do drastic things to regain a better personal image. I’m talking about crazy diets, eating disorders or even working out too much. Also depression and anxiety things that take tolls on personal and professional relationships. Poor body love can literally suck all the happiness out of your life. I hope these tips help you define self-image for yourself and build confidence!
5 Tips For Building Self Image Confidence
Write down 10 things you love about yourself
Write down 10 things you love about yourself that aren’t about your looks or body. (You can write down good health, but not anything that focuses on beauty or your size.) When you are forced to acknowledge these words / all the parts of you that make you amazing, you can keep that list top of mind for times when you start doubting yourself or getting wrapped up in the outside. The inside is what makes you!
“I am loyal and my friends & family rely on me in times of need because they know I’ll be there.”
“I’m really funny and bring other people joy!”
“I love that I like to read, it makes me smarter and it’s fun.”
“I’m a great cook and that’s such a great skill to have!”
“I love that I’m good at directions and always can guide others well. Also, I rarely get lost.”
2. Compliment Strangers (In Your Head.)
Who else easily gets jealous of others? There’s always someone prettier, skinnier, smarter, more talented than you… right? Eh – not really. I want you to start complimenting strangers (in your head, no need to tell them face to face unless you want it!) You can do this on the bus, on a walk, at the store, or even on social media by just randomly scrolling your feed. Take time to notice others. Does a young mother make a messy bun look chic? Compliment her hair skills. Does a guy have a really cool pair of shoes at the grocery store? Compliment him on his sense of style. Does a woman look like, really, really beautiful in a dress? Compliment her beauty. Did someone make you laugh? Compliment their humor! Other people’s beauty, skills and achievements don’t take away your beauty, skills and achievements.
Practicing this self image theory each day will help drill into your head that A) other people’s worth doesn’t make your positive qualities any less and B) you probably have more in common with the people you envy than you think.
Storytime: When I was in high school, there was just one girl a class above me who I thought was so pretty – inside and out. She always made everyone laugh. I loved her style. She just radiated confidence and it made me jealous. Why couldn’t I look like her or get all the boys with a good joke? And then, in college, I was looking back on Facebook photos and found one of me and her. Once I had a few years between the last time I thought about her, I could see one thing really clearly: we had basically the same body types and a similar sense of style. And even the same color of hair! When I think about it -why was I so jealous? If I knew how to look at others, compliment them, and then find what we have in common, I could have spent a lot of time feeling confident in myself instead of being jealous of others.
3. Take A Photo Of Yourself Every Day.
When people ask me how I grew my body love and self-image, a lot of it honestly comes down to blogging. I take SO MANY dang photos and videos of myself and then – I post those online for everyone to see! I have close to 2000 images on Instagram alone! When you spend a lot of time looking at yourself in a photo, you slowly stop thinking things like “I’m fat in that” and start thinking “ohh, I look really pretty in this photo” and “Man, that’s a really bad angle of me, but I know I don’t actually look like that IRL because the next frame I look fine.” Then, posting them online for everyone and their Grandma to see really forces me to get over any body image issues I have because EVERYONE can see it. It forces you to be vulnerable whether you want to or not.
I challenge you to spend 3 months taking a photo of yourself every. single. day. and post them to Instagram. You don’t have to post them to your main profile – make a new one. But make sure to have it on “public” so in theory, others can find it. Over time, that act of being vulnerable, plus looking at yourself each day will help you practice acknowledging your beauty inside. You’ll start having a better healthy mental picture of yourself instead of a negative one, I promise!
4. Stop Saying You’re Fat
… and start saying “This piece of clothing isn’t right for my body type.”⠀
You are perfect. You are human. If you can’t wrangle yourself into a one-piece swimsuit or a pair of jeans, stop telling yourself that you’re fat and instead say out loud “these jeans aren’t meant for my body type.” The jeans need to change, not you.⠀We always think really bad things about ourselves and that habit needs to stop, and change to be a more accurate view.
Repeat after me: “The jeans need to change. Not me'”⠀
5. Start Saying “Why Not Me?”
I mean it – why not you? I get it. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest and big things – like New York City or climbing the ladder to be a CEO at an ad agency – felt so dang far away and, not in my stars. But, why not me?
If other people can do things, why can’t you? When you start asking yourself “why not me” you’ll be forced to talk yourself up.
Why not you? You’re smart, you’ve been studying this for 10 years, you can do this job well, etc.
You have to stick up for yourself otherwise you’ll never have a positive self-image. You have to have confidence in yourself first!
I hope these body image and self image tips help you practice finding confidence for yourself! If you have anything to add, just leave a comment below. If you want to chat, you can always DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul!
Love love love you and this! Preach on sis xoxo
Yassss! All of this! <3 <3 <3 Thank you for being such a positive inspiration. <3
I’m a 47 year old Mom of 2 girls that has always struggled with my body image. I happened across your blog while I was looking for a modern swimsuit online so my hubby and kids don’t tease me for being “stuck in the 80s” this year, lol. I’m active and always have been but have only been size 2 when I had an undiagnosed eating disorder in high school. I found your blog refreshing, honest and funny but I don’t know what “DM” means and do not have instagram. How do I teach my girls to love their bodies when I don’t love mine?