Self-image is generally believed to be an internal process, though external factors greatly influence it. Think about self-talk. Positive self-talk has a positive impact on our moods and self-image, so it makes sense that negative self-talk would have the same effect.
Often, we let things that happen on the outside affect how we feel on the inside. What external factors can influence our self-image, and how can we reverse the pattern?
Surrounding Yourself with Toxic People
There’s a saying that goes, “if you repeat something enough times, you’ll start to believe it.” If you’re in a toxic relationship, romantically or otherwise, where someone always talks down to you, you’re likely to absorb their statements.
Being told that you’re not good enough, that you aren’t smart, or that you aren’t attractive over and over again by those you consider yourself close to can have a huge influence on your self-image. The more you hear these phrases from others, the more you’ll start to internalize them and take them on as your own beliefs and self-image.
If toxic people surround you and it’s detrimental to your self-image, make a change and begin to rebuild your confidence.
Letting the Little Things Bring You Down
Maybe you’ve been in a slump the past few months, and no matter what, you can’t seem to get ahead. Your car breaks down. You go through a breakup. Maybe you fail a class. These are all external events that can affect your self-image.
When things start to go wrong, we tend to feel bad about ourselves. You think,
“Nothing is going well. I must be doing something wrong. This must be my fault.”
Not Letting It Affect You
In reality, there was probably nothing you could do to stop your car from breaking down, and breakups aren’t a personal shortcoming but more of a fact of life. Don’t let things that happen affect the way you see yourself.
Instead, think about everything you’ve done well. Did you make someone happy through a small act of kindness? Comfort someone sad? These are the things that speak to who you are and should contribute to your self-image.
Comparing Yourself to Social Media
You can’t scroll through your social media feed without seeing posts about “the perfect meal plan,” “incredible weight loss,” or endorsements from supermodels and influencers. Maybe your feed is bombarded with pictures of “perfect families” or parents whose children are always smiling, dressed perfectly, and well behaved.
“I’m not like that,” you think to yourself. “There must be something wrong with me.”
In reality, people tend to only show their best moments on social media in an attempt to portray the positive aspects of their life. Rarely, someone posts a video of the melt-down their two-year-old had that morning or announcements regarding the weight they gained over the past year.
When you’re constantly comparing yourself to these “perfect” images, it can influence your self-image. Stop telling yourself that you aren’t as good as the people you see on social media and start appreciating all the little victories you’ve had recently.
Trust us, no one’s life is as perfect as it seems on social media.
Taking Control of Your Self-Image
If you’re struggling with your self-image, take some time to think about what’s got you down. Once you identify the root causes, you can take steps to counteract the external negativity and start loving yourself again.