Unless you are blessed with amazing self-confidence and/or are the lucky winner of the gene pool, you probably have days where you are standing in front of your mirror and don’t like what you see. I used to have lots of these days when I was unhappy, unfit and overweight (you can read about it in my journey). I have come a long way since then, but I still have these moments. When I just don’t like what I see. When I am focused on one or more body parts where I can only see fault and no progress. These thoughts drag me down and I feel frustrated. Do you have these feelings too? Are you dealing with negative thoughts about your appearance sometimes?
I have found some helpful strategies to get over these thoughts. Maybe they can help you too?
- Everyone has negative thoughts about themselves. You are not the only one. But, not everyone deals with them in the same way. The trick is not to pay too much attention to negative thoughts and to not dwell on them, or we will be negatively affected. Instead, try to accept them as what they are by saying for example “ok, this is anxiety speaking”, or “there is this thought that I am fat”. By doing so we take control of these thoughts and can move on to another, hopefully more positive, thought.
- When you realize that you are having negative thoughts, ask yourself if they are going to help you achieve what you want in your life. If not, try to keep moving towards your goal nevertheless, doing the things you would do if you did not have that negative thought. Basically, ignore them and keep going.
- If your sister, brother or friend told you a negative thought such as “I will never finish that marathon” or “I will always be overweight”, what would you do? Would you focus on the negativity of it, dwell on how unlikely it is that they make progress and enforce their feelings? No – most likely you would be supportive, motivating, kind and encouraging. You would try to change their thinking and show them all the positives they have achieved and strengthen their self-confidence.
We should all make an effort and talk to ourselves the way we would talk to our best friend.
- We often delay rewarding ourselves until we reach a certain goal. However, we should not forget to treat ourselves in the now, since we, our body, our mind and our soul deserve it. So go and get that massage, buy that outfit, have a manicure and pedicure or spend a night out. We should accept ourselves the way we are in every moment and always believe that we are worth it.
- This last point is probably the most important for me. Think about the values you have in life. How do you want to be remembered by family, friends and colleagues? Are your goals in line with those values or are you putting all your focus on superficial goals that do not reflect who you want to be? There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good and attractive for example – but we should not let those goals (or negative thoughts we have because of those goals) negatively influence our core values. We should make sure that our core values are reflected in how we pursue good looks.
If I spend too much time in the gym, sacrificing quality time with my children, or I put my diet above sharing birthday cake with my family and friends, then I know I have become someone I don’t want to be.
If you have read my story you know how important it was for me to look confident and happy on photos with my kids. But in order to achieve that I need to make sure that the children actually still want to be on photos with me!
I have only been talking about negative thoughts regarding your appearance in this blog. But, obviously, these techniques can be applied to any kind of negative thought. Maybe you are doubting yourself than you can achieve an athletic or academic goal. Maybe you question your parenting ability. Some of us question ourselves in more than one area! I personally struggled with all of them at some point or another. But the thing to remember here is: everyone has these thoughts. But how you deal with them makes the difference.