Today I’m at my whiteboard, sleeves rolled up and talking about a topic I’m super-passionate about – Beauty Self-Esteem. Did you ever have one of those days where you spend hours looking in the mirror feeling unhappy with what you see? There’s a constant inner critic telling you your hair isn’t as nice as your colleague Jane’s, that your skin is terrible and that your eyes look tired. Things you’d never imagine saying to a dear friend. I know I do.
And it’s hard. Because we’re bombarded by images, many of which are altered or airbrushed to a level that are so perfected, they don’t even exist. And we compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking. And this happens hundreds and hundreds of times a day on social media.
So we need to take charge of our beauty self-esteem – which is basically saying we need to work on our own feelings of attractiveness.
So I was reading this fascinating article in Psychology Today by Dr Vivian Diller. It addressed the topic of attractiveness versus conventional ‘beauty’. We all know those individuals who may not be conventional beauties but they exude je ne sais quoi and comfort in their own skin – where does that come from?
Dr Diller broke it down into 3 components, something I think is incredibly helpful for those ‘meh’ days when you’re not feeling your best.
1) Genetics – not something we can control. Not that interesting. And invariably, as we age, our features will change. It’s a fact of life. If our beauty self-esteem is rooted in only this, we are set up to fail. So let’s move on!
2) Good Grooming
Now it gets interesting. This is the stuff we can influence.
I’ll always remember the patient – in her 60s, immaculately groomed – who told me that she had learned to enjoy spending money to make herself feel good – rather than chasing perfection with procedures to stop herself feeling bad.
This is why I’m evangelical about my 3 Pillars of Beauty at any age. Because anyone and everyone can improve their skin, brows+ lashes and hair. And everyone, literally everyone can look and feel more attractive through these endeavours.
3) Positive Self-Regard
This is where we tackle that internal narrative and challenge the often faulty files we have stored in heads, leading us to tell ourselves a story that’s untrue or flawed. Maybe these thoughts are based on things we heard repeatedly in childhood from an overly critical parent or sibling. Or maybe they’re the mental scars accumulated over years spent dealing with problem skin. There’s no doubt that many people who suffer from blemishes feel filled with self-loathing – and when the internal voice tells you this on repeat many hundreds of times a day, it’s no wonder that this whittles away at self-confidence so viciously, persisting long after the physical condition has been treated.
We can’t rely on our culture to make us feel good about ourselves. Instead, we can empower ourselves by learning methods to change the way we think about ourselves. By challenging fixed ideas and false beliefs and cultivating an affectionate, realistic and positive tone with ourselves, we can truly build long-term self-confidence and beauty self-esteem.
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No matter what people may think, inner beauty is far more critical than what you physically see on the outside. This is the only truth people don’t seem to get. So, stay with us if you want to know how to nurture it and boost your self-esteem at the same time. Here are four useful tips on how to accomplish that goal, so check them out and enjoy!
Do Nice Things For Yourself On A Daily Basis
One of the best ways to nurture your inner beauty is to do kind things for yourself on a daily basis. And what does that actually mean? Well, you’ve probably already figured out that it’s the small things in life that make a huge difference. And the small things are precisely what you should start with.
You might make yourself a cup of lavender tea, visit the sauna, get a relaxing massage, or make yourself a bath. You can also read your favorite book, watch a good movie all over again, or prepare a healthy and nutritious meal. There’s nothing wrong in pampering yourself, and you’ll see an instant improvement as soon as you realize that!
Love Yourself No Matter What
Yes, we agree that this may sound quite simple and logical. Unfortunately, it isn’t the case with the majority of people, from all over the globe. This is because of the substantial impact of social media. Social media have raised the bar and set the standards so high that almost no one can keep up with them.
This is why millions of young women are struggling with their self-image. As they feel that they aren’t good enough because they aren’t pretty enough or don’t have perfect body measurements. If that’s the case with you, make sure to understand that a few extra pounds or a little bit of belly fat don’t tell you who you are. Your physical appearance has nothing to do with who you are on the inside. While outer beauty can come and go, and your character stays forever. So, give your best to love yourself just as you are. Remember the famous Mark Darcy’s quote from Bridget Jones’ Diary? “I like myself, just as I am.” Your love for yourself is exactly what matters most. So, try to never forget that, and you’ll undoubtedly become much more confident and content.
Seek Professional Help
However, if you cannot deal with your insecurities by yourself, you should definitely seek professional help. Seek out someone who can teach you and help you overcome your insecurities. Even though a lot of people are ashamed to admit it, the truth is that there is nothing bad or wrong in seeking the help of a professional.
A large number of Australian women have recognized the importance of that issue. This is why they wanted to find a psychologist in Sydney to help them get to the heart of the problem and achieve real change. This is important not only when it comes to improving your negative self-image, but also when speaking of other issues. These additional issues might include relationships, family conflicts, work-life balance, grief and loss, depression, and many more. Additionally, there are some great workshops held by experienced psychologists. These workshops can help you deal with anything that bothers you, so be sure to seek professional help, and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goal.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
Boosting your self-confidence and nurturing your inner beauty can also be done thanks to the help of your loved ones such as your partner, parents, kids, and best friends. One saying says that you are the company you keep, which basically means that the people you hang around with often affect all aspects of your life and shape your personality, attitudes, and thoughts.
So, when you know this, it’s essential that you surround yourself with people who profoundly care about you, who love you and appreciate your presence in their lives. These people should have the qualities you appreciate and, above all, a positive attitude towards life and everything around them. Keeping such people close to you is crucial, so bear that in mind, and you’ll do the right thing!
As you can see, nurturing your inner beauty and boosting your self-esteem doesn’t have anything to do with your physical appearance, the clothes you’re wearing, or the smartphone you currently have. It’s all about learning to love yourself and doing nice things for yourself while being surrounded by the people you love. Of course, you shouldn’t be afraid of seeking professional help either, especially if you can’t overcome particular problems all by yourself. Once that’s done, you can be sure that you did everything you could to improve the quality of your life – but spiritually and emotionally, not materially!
Meet the Author
Helen Bradford is a journalism student who always seeks new ideas to write about. She enjoys blogging about beauty, health and style trends for women. When she’s not writing, she spends her spare time being active through fitness and traveling.
Women and Self Esteem
What do you like about yourself? Are you proud of yourself? If these questions make you feel uncomfortable, or you cannot answer them, chances are that you have a problem with self esteem.
Why is that? Why do so many of us basically dislike ourselves? Why are we embarrassed to “esteem” ourselves? Before answering this question, we must first define self-esteem.
Self esteem comes from the inside out. It means that a woman is not dependent upon anyone else to make her feel good about herself, because she already knows she’s fine just the way she is. She is confident and aware of her strengths and abilities. She wants to share them with others. This does not mean she is conceited. She is also aware of areas needing work and growth. But that’s ok because she knows she’s not perfect, and she doesn’t have to be. No one is. She understands that we all have our strengths and weaknesses.
Self-esteem is a core identity issue, essential to personal validation and our ability to experience joy. Once achieved, it comes from the inside out. But it can be assaulted or stunted from the outside in. A woman with low self-esteem does not feel good about herself because she has absorbed negative messages about women from the culture and/or relationships
The reign of youth, beauty and thinness in our society dooms every woman to eventual failure. Starting with the teenage market, women’s magazines program them to focus all their efforts on their appearance. Many girls learn, by age 12, to drop formerly enjoyable activities in favor of the beauty treadmill leading to nowhere. They become fanatical about diets. They munch, like rabbits, on leaves without salad dressing, jog in ice storms, and swear they love it! Ads abound for cosmetic surgery, enticing us to “repair” our aging bodies, as if the natural process of aging were an accident or a disease.
Yet with all this effort, they still never feel like they are good enough. How can they? Magazine models are airbrushed to perfection, and anorectic. “Beautiful” movie stars are whipped into perfect shape by personal trainers, and use surgery to create an unnatural cultural ideal. But youth cannot last. It is not meant to. If women buy into this image of beauty, then the best an older woman can strive for is looking “good for her age” or worse yet, “well preserved.” Mummies are also dead.
Abusive experiences join with cultural messages to assault female self esteem. Abuse is pervasive and cuts across all socioeconomic lines. It invariably sends the message that the victim is worthless. Many, many women have told me that verbal abuse hurt them far more than any physical act. As one woman put it, “his words scarred my soul.” Women whose abuse started as children have the most fragile sense of identity and self worth. Poor self esteem often results in depression and anxiety. Physical health suffers as well. Many times, women with this problem don’t go for regular checkups, exercise, or take personal days because they really don’t think they’re worth the time.
Relationships are impacted as well. Their needs are not met by their partner because they feel like they don’t deserve to have them met, or are uncomfortable asking. Their relationships with their children can suffer if they are unable to discipline effectively, set limits, or demand the respect they deserve. Worse yet, low self-esteem passes from mother to daughter. The mother is modeling what a woman is. She is also modeling, for her sons, what a wife is.
In the workplace, women with low self-esteem tend to be self-deprecating, to minimize their accomplishments, or let others take credit for their work. They never move up. Finally, with friends, they are unable to say no. They end up doing favors they don’t want to do, or have any time for. They end up going where they don’t want to go, with people they don’t want to go with!
A woman with low self-esteem has no control over her life.
But that can change. These women can get help and emotional healing. It is critical to remember that no one deserves to be abused. If something bad has happened to you, it does not mean there is something wrong with you. The responsibility for the abuse lies with the person who chooses to hurt you. If you are presently being abused, you must put yours and yours and your children’s safety first.
You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE for help or more information.
Women and Self Esteem
How Does Social Media Affect Your Body Image?
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become a huge part of most teens’ lives. But do they help or hurt our self-esteem and body image? We asked. You answered.
A recent CNN article explored how we are now exposed to more and more images of unattainable beauty, thanks to social networking: “Before social networks, we mostly had images of impossibly perfect celebrities. We would pass these images on billboards, watch them on TV, flip through them in magazines, but we weren’t sitting around staring at them for hours every day.”
And it’s not just the exposure to these images that is damaging. It’s our interaction with them—the pressure to have the perfect profile pics, the comparisons we make, and the dangers of the constant scrutiny of our own and others’ bodies. Here’s what teens had to say about how social networking sites impact the way they feel about themselves.
What it takes to be “liked”
“People get positive attention in the world by losing weight. And you can do it to an even greater extent on Facebook.” –Anika, 18
“I am really bothered by the ‘Most Beautiful Teen Contest.’ It’s just about liking the girl who’s the hottest. To get positive attention on via Facebook, you have to over-sexualize yourself. And if you read the comments that go with the picture – the ones by men are so derogatory and so objectifying.” –Vanessa, 17
“The less clothes you have on, the more popular you are.” –-Dayton, 17
“It’s important to think about the sexualization of things. People post sexual pictures of themselves and objectify themselves.” –Gracie, 17
Fantasy, reality, and painful comparisons
“When looking at images of girls in a magazine almost all us know that they are altered electronically to appear perfect. When it comes to social media such as Facebook, most believe that they are looking at raw pictures, or ‘real girls.’ Whether this is true or not, they are ultimately used as a standard of comparison. –Mary
“People create a fake self.” –Daniela, 18
“When I look at other people’s photo albums, the comparing is automatic. I end up feeling like crap. I went to Photoshop a picture of myself on Facebook. I was changing a lot of things, then I saw the picture and I stopped myself, thinking, ‘this is not who I am. I want to be who I am.’ ” –Kirby
“I think that social media platforms hurt because young people are now having their bodies judged online in addition to being judged in person, which causes them to feel trapped.” –Jen, 17
The consequences of online bodysnarking
“I know a ten year old girl who stopped eating after reading comments online that people had made about a picture of teen star Demi Lovato. Things like comments or tweets may seem simple, but they can really impact girls in a negative way by causing them to have unrealistic expectations about what thin is. I’ve seen that and experienced that.” –Jen
“People also say things they’d never say to your face. It’s like Facebook gives them a screen that totally blocks out their emotions…they don’t have to see how I’d react when they same something negative about me. We are relying on judgments from people we’ll never meet to determine our worth.” –Anika
Online communities can be part of the problem or part of the solution
” lets us post pictures of people we wish we were. All of the Thinspo sites are so disturbing.” –Gracie
“The whole “Pro-Ana” community scares me, and I have written numerous emails to website servers asking if they could take down a site that I felt was dangerous. On the other hand, I have utilized pro-recovery sites to get me through some rough days. These sites offer hope, give inspiring quotes, and create a warm and supportive environment. The bottom line is the internet is powerful and it can easily be used to seek recovery, or to revert in the other direction.” –Mary
Thanks to Mary of the Mary Streech Project, Jen Rubino of Cards for Hospitalized Kids, and teens from the Boulder Youth Body Alliance for participating in our virtual roundtable!
This content was originally published on Proud2Bme.org in 2012.
Is Your Child’s Perception Of Beauty Distorted By Media Influence?
Images of people in the media are manipulated so dramatically these days that it can feel like “beauty” is less and less attainable. Help your child resist media influence and see the real picture.
Media Influence on Teenagers
Are you worried that your child’s expectations for their appearance are unrealistic? It’s hardly surprising. Research published by Psychology Today in Ads Everywhere: The Race to Grab Your Brain estimates that today’s young people are bombarded by 5,000 advertising messages a day. These come not only via television and magazines but also websites, blogs, social media, music videos, films, and even smartphones.
The way that people are portrayed in this advertising—both the words and the pictures—has a big impact on the way our children view themselves and who they aspire to be.
The connection between images of women in the media and low self-esteem in girls
Constant reinforcement of the “perfect” woman in the media directly impacts girls’ body confidence. Body Image research found that looking at magazines for just 60 minutes lowers self-esteem in over 80% of girls.
In research published in Girlguiding UK’s 2016 Girls’ Attitudes Survey (PDF) (2,041 KB) , 61% of girls said that when women are portrayed as “sex objects” it makes girls feel disempowered.
And almost half of young women in the Pretty as a Picture (PDF) (1,991 KB) poll by UK think tank Credos agreed with the statement “seeing ads using thin models makes me feel more conscious of the way I look and makes me want to diet/lose weight.”
How image manipulation shifts our perception of beauty
The majority of photographic images of women we see in media are not only the result of clever makeup and lighting at photoshoots, but also computer manipulation, known as “airbrushing,” before being published. The photos are so processed that even the women in the images don’t look like that in real life. Combined with headlines critical of “real” women who don’t match this unrealistic, enhanced image, and it’s easy to understand why girls aspire to achieve the fantasy airbrushed look.
Claire, mom of 14-year-old Aoife, says, “My daughter is constantly reading teen mags, and the girls they use always look so flawless. How am I supposed to reassure her about her own looks when she has that to compare herself to?”
Body image and the media – we want to look like ourselves
In its Pretty as a Picture (PDF) (1,991 KB) research, Credos asked young women to compare four different images of the same model, digitally modified to change her shape. The majority (76%) preferred either the natural or lightly-retouched images over the heavily airbrushed ones. The 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report found that 7 in 10 (69%) women and 6 in 10 (65%) girls believe the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can’t ever achieve.
By realizing that media images are frequently manipulated, and rarely representative of reality, your child can start to “see through” the media and protect their body confidence when viewing pictures of celebrities and models. Help them understand that it’s not worth comparing the way they look to the unrealistic, fake images they see in the media.
Use our action checklist and fun activities to start a conversation about your child’s perception of their own appearance.
To protect privacy, we’ve changed the names of people whose stories we tell on these pages, but their stories are genuine.Beauty and body image