No one on this Earth is 100% confident and happy all the time. Every person struggles with their own insecurities, struggles, and fears. Many times, these anxieties and negative thoughts have to do with the way we think about or perceive ourselves. Whether it’s internal or external criticism, we tend to knock ourselves down and/or hold ourselves back from greatness.
I know I am not the only person who can pick apart everything that’s wrong with me. I know I’m not the only person who can try on up to 12 different outfits before deciding which one looks the least terrible for an outing–whether it’s a day at school or work, a get together with family/friends, or even just an errand run. Instead of dwelling on the worst things about ourselves, let’s all try to bring more happiness, relaxation, and positivity into our lives. To do so:
- Buy yourself a new outfit every few weeks. Maybe it’s a trendy new top that you’ve seen a lot of people wearing lately, or maybe it’s a tank top you’ve been eyeing up on your favorite store’s website. Try it on. Buy it. You can always return it if you decide you do not like the way it fits you. Invest your money into something that excites you and will make you smile when you wear it.
- Make a list of healthy, enjoyable escapes and turn to them multiple times a week, hopefully everyday — these can be physical escapes (day trips to your favorite place) or emotional escapes (reading books or binge-watching shows of your favorite genres). Bad times and bad days are inevitable, but immersing yourself into a place completely different from your insecurities and sadness will allow your mind to put aside your negative feelings for a short period of time. When you return to your conflict, let’s say it’s a body image issue, you may have a new perspective on the issue. Instead of emotionally eating, you might take a walk around your neighborhood, go for a swim in your pool, or call someone you love and talk about your internal struggle.
- Set up an area with better lighting and a “flattering” mirror. You know how some fitting rooms can make you look a lot more “flattering” than others? That’s usually because of the lighting and mirror choices. Set up a “flattering” mirror in your room or bathroom, so you can better judge your outfits and your appearance.
- Look into mirrors more on your good days. When you’re feeling confident, stare at your reflection as often as you can. Take pictures, both by yourself and with those around you. Admire your appearance. Admire your smile, your eyes, and every single distinctive feature on your body. Acknowledge the great parts about you, and hold onto these feelings. This can help you in the future, especially on bad days, to remind you that you’re beautiful, you’re special, and you’re valuable. You are in this world for a good reason.
- Look into mirrors less often on your bad days. For some of us, this can mean not looking at our reflection for a week or two at a time, which can be challenging. But hear me out, by doing so, you give yourself less chances to pick yourself apart. You can’t stare at parts of your body that make you question your self-worth, and you can’t compare your size to the size of others around you. Sometimes, it’s a good thing to not look at your reflection.
- Listen to happy music, with happy lyrics. Allow music to build you and your body image up. Don’t let it drag you down, especially not on your bad days.
- Feed your body. Give in to temptations and cravings, don’t deprive yourself. Don’t do it everyday if your long term goals for yourself don’t align with the foods and nutrients you’re craving. Learn to love healthy foods if you don’t already, and treat yourself to those! I love “unhealthy” foods like burgers and desserts, but I also love vegetables and grilled proteins. Allow yourself to eat a balance of these foods, and enjoy them…don’t just eat them because you’re hungry.
- Set milestones for yourself, and reward yourself when you overcome them. Reward yourself for all sorts of things, small and large. Reward yourself when you go through a day without calling yourself a derogatory term. Reward yourself when you wear something daring, like something that showcases an insecurity of yours. Reward yourself when you think and talk positively about yourself. Maybe your reward is a dollar into a fund for an outfit, dinner, show, or vacation. Maybe it’s a trip to an ice cream shop or local bakery. Whatever it is, try to make being positive and confident fun. Make it a game.
- Make changes, all sorts of changes. Be like me and cut 7-inches off of your hair. Change the group of people you hang out with. Change up the movies you watch or the authors you read. Change the way you allow yourself to think about your personality and appearance. Discover new things, and while you’re at it, appreciate them for what they are.
Life is short. Make sure you enjoy it as much as possible. Work on yourself. Work on finding happiness. Work on loving yourself.