Your self-image—the way you view yourself and your beliefs about how other people see you—is important to your overall mental health. It affects your self-esteem, anxiety levels, relationships, and ability to achieve goals. Improving your self-image can help you to live a happier life, but unfortunately, many people have thoughts or experiences that lead them to think poorly of themselves. You can turn this around by embracing the process of building up your self-image with these simple steps:
Nobody is perfect, so resist the urge to be overly critical of your mistakes or flaws. Instead, look at them as an opportunity to learn and grow. As you overcome challenges and learn from mistakes, you will learn to see yourself as a strong, motivated person who is always trying to become better, by paradoxically, accepting your flaws.
Be Honest with Yourself
To improve your self-image, it’s critical that you learn to be objective, open, and honest with yourself about who you are. Pay attention to your conscience, but be careful of your inner critic—that voice that says you aren’t good enough. Destructive thoughts like this are lies. When your inner critic starts to talk, evaluate what it says and rephrase it honestly and positively. For example, if your inner critic says, “I’m no good at this. I’ll never be smart enough to get it,” tell yourself, “That’s not true. This is something new that I’m learning. I will get better at it as I continue trying.”
Change What You Can Change
As you’re honest, you will probably identify things you don’t like about yourself. We all have them. If this is something you can change—work on it! If you’ve honestly assessed yourself and believe you need to make a change, look for small, demonstrable ways to make it happen, even if the results aren’t immediate. If you recognize that you have a quick temper for instance, try doing something each day that has a calming effect, and practice apologizing if you say or do something you shouldn’t.
Let Go of What You Can’t Change
Sometimes you’ll identify something you don’t like about yourself, but can’t realistically change. It’s important to accept these things about yourself and move on. Realize that things like this are okay, and they don’t affect your value as a person.
Improving your self-image is a process, but it leads to a healthier, happier, more vibrant you. As you learn to love yourself, you’ll find that you’re better able to treat others with kindness and compassion too, and you’ll be less worried about what other people think. Rather than let media or other influences define who you should be, you’ll be able to project your positive self-image to the rest of the world, so they can see the good and unique person you truly are.