Your self-image, the system in which you view yourself relatively in orientation to the world around you—is a complicated thing to address. The tricky part about self-image is that much of the self-talk and beliefs that contribute to its foundation are often unrealized and unconscious. Cultivating a healthy, thriving self-image can be difficult, especially if you’re unaware of where you currently stand.
If you’re struggling with a negative self-image, here’s how to fight back.
1. Investigate Your Surroundings
It might be surprising to consider that much of self-talk is not often the product of our own opinions, but instead of those around us. It’s possible to carry them for a lifetime with little to no awareness that they exist at all. From childhood, we are taught what is acceptable and what isn’t. This could be from parents, other authority figures, or friends.
Take time to investigate what you think of yourself, and how exactly you arrived at that conclusion. Then, be compassionate with your understanding and remember that it’s simply a mental rewiring away from changing.
2. Become Aware of Your Limiting Beliefs
You may have inherited or developed some of your own limiting beliefs about yourself. These are the stories we tell ourselves about what we are or aren’t, what we’re capable of, the validity of what we do or feel, and many other aspects concerning how we navigate life.
To extinguish or at least limit limiting beliefs, flip the script. Tell another story. Your story is your story, and no one has the ability or freedom to tell it for you.
3. Play Up Your Strengths
You? Have strengths? Absolutely. You are an individual with your gifts and talents. If you have yet to discover what exactly they might be, you’re not alone.
Recognize that if nothing else, you’re an individual with a distinct set of skills and experiences. Understand that not everyone will see or value it, and then give yourself a GR8 big pat on the back for being you and contributing what you do to the world.
4. Be Mindful of Your Diet (No, Not Food)
Your diet is not just what you eat, though healthy eating can improve your mood and ease symptoms of conditions like anxiety, which tend to affect self-image. Your diet is anything and everything you take in not only your digestive organs but your brain. Your mind feeds off the stimulation it is provided daily.
What do you consume? Consider aspects like social media, for example. Social media is an endless cycle of taking in information and processing it subconsciously. Choose to feed your brain with positivity and uplifting content, and by all means, avoid comparing yourself to others.
5. Affirm That Positivity
Positive affirmations are the antidote to having negative thoughts. You’re physically programming your brain to think differently, which is ultimately the focus of overcoming adversity with self-image. Taking time to affirm the positive aspects of our lives can help to ground us when we’re in a cycle of comparing or feeling down.
6. Be Kind to Others
One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to make others feel good. Don’t believe it? Studies show that being kind or helping others can have a euphoric effect that’s referred to as “helpers high,” which is the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain. Just as well, it can help to establish a higher level of emotional intelligence, which helps us to better understand and connect with others.
Feeling good about helping others helps us to see ourselves in a new light, and contributes to a healthy self-image.
7. Embrace Your Time Alone
This one is especially important for mental rewiring and separating yourself from all of the things that can contribute to a false, negative self-image. Take time to reset and decide who you are. It may seem funny, but considering that you are not your negative self-image, it’s only logical that thought replacement must occur. Get to know yourself apart from the filter of having others around. Become comfortable with solitude, and cherish your being as you are.
A Note from GR8NESS
Reversing negative self-image takes courage, and that you have, GR8 friend. Remember that negative self-image can take many forms, and at times requires trial and error to rid yourself of if completely. The positive factor? You have control. You may not have control of others and their opinions, but you always have control over your own, which is all you need. You’ve got the key.