Want to boost self esteem? Here are a few things to think about first. One of the problems with the self esteem movement that started in the 1980's is that along with the feeling of bigger, better, faster, more & NOW comes a growing trend in narcissism. Narcissism is basically having an inflated view of the self, along with relative indifference to the plight of others. This means that people will often trample over others in their efforts to rise to the “top.”
With this in mind - it's obviously important to boost self esteem in a way that truly leads to a healthy self-esteem instead of an inflated and empty self confidence. No-one wants to suffer with low self confidence because self hatred is debilitating and makes us live stressful lives but how to love yourself in a healthy way. One way, in particular that we destroy our self-confidence is hating our bodies and it's really difficult if you don't seem to fit that ideal body image that you see in all the photo-shopped images.
Self-compassion may feel like an unlikely ay to build self esteem. What is self compassion? It's a way of relating to ourselves kindly of hugging and holding ourselves, of staying with ourselves whilst embracing ourselves flaws and all.
If we grew up having compassion shown to us - we re more likely to have developed a healthy sense of self compassion. And when we have a healthy sense of self compassion we are also able to have a healthy self esteem because we also have empathy with others. Empathy is the central ingredient missing in narcissists who don't have the ability to think about others.
Many self esteem problems come from negative body image problems and having very little self-compassion about what we see as our bodily imperfections. Dr. Kristin Neff's work on self-compassion talks about developing self-compassion through three things:
Ironically when we are able to be self compassionate it reduces negative emotions caused by a sense of not being good enough/ of failing and it increases personal responsibility, it's a way to boost self esteem and self-regulation too (both immediately and in the future as well)
One of the signs of low self esteem is harboring a harsh inner critic - and one of the way to boost self esteem is to feed it with a healthy dose of self-compassion. We think we need to be harsh to motivate ourselves but self-compassion has been shown to INCREASE personal responsibility.
Visualization exercises are a fabulous way to build your self esteem.
How you perceive and view your body plays a major role in how you erode or build self esteem. Unfortunately we have a culture where there is a lot of shame around our bodies. The answer to: Am I overweight? is a question that often lands up in a negative body image. But here's the thing...it's really not whether you are overweight or not that makes the difference, it's what meaning to give that evaluation as Virgie Tovar shares with us when I asked her if she was fat. And you really can love yourself no matter your size as 6 ft 5 Libra Forde tells us about how she grew her self love.
One thing to know about overcoming a Negative Body Image is it's not always about losing weight (in fact very often we lose weight and only very temporarily gain self-acceptance only to lose it again even when we haven't gained back the weight), sometimes it's about having a mental make-over and changing the way we think.
Every time summer comes around people's self esteem plummets at the thought of donning a swimsuit. Hours are spent worrying about this, and many put their lives on hold and even when they love the beach simply won't go to the beach for fear of either their inner critic or criticism from others.
Optimal body weight is something that is much contested even amongst body and weight loss experts. How do we determine what is optimal for us and how do we build self esteem when we're not at what we would consider optimal body weight? Here are some great ways to build self-esteem and activities to try.
One Size Fits All: So does one size fit all fit your life? The fashion and diet industries seem to think so, and they'll even photoshop images to make you think so. Not buying into the 'one size fits all idea' can be way to boost self esteem.
The diet evolution: means that in the era of the Rubens fat was thought of as a health reserve, Then fat was out, thin and diets were in.... so where are we now? And how does knowing this information provide a way to boost self esteem?
The beauty revolution : Oprah's talking about it, so is Tyra Banks and so is the fabulous Dove real beauty challenge...what is it? And how does it contribute to self esteem building.
Size acceptance for me wasn't just throwing up my hands and saying I give up. Rather it was finding a quiet and gentle space of self-love. It was like coming home to myself.
Going Naked wasn't my choice, but it forever changed my severe case of body image issues when I found a very large lady who was living a large and vibrant life because she was happy at whatever her size. Find out why you don't find eating disorders in naturalist villages and clothing optional resorts and how they can be self esteem building.
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