Self-esteem has a direct relationship with our overall well-being
A 2019 interview by the National Health Interview Survey revealed that at least 18.5% of adults experience severe symptoms of depression, with symptoms ranging from sadness and emptiness to irritability and changes in cognitive function.
In the way we speak to ourselves and think of ourselves, there is nothing truer than the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Poor self-esteem isn’t restricted to those who fall outside the standards we see on TV. Many celebrities who would seem to have it all have admitted to suffering from poor self-esteem, from Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Lopez. Beauty and appearance anxiety are issues experienced globally, with nearly 85% of women admitting to having opted out of social activities due to not feeling good about their appearance, according to the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report.
Low self-esteem is prohibiting women and girls from living their lives, from believing in the power of their voices, from asking for a raise at work, and from asserting their boundaries in relationships. With the negative influence of social media and advertisements only increasing, it’s no wonder that depression and suicide rates are also on the rise.
By striving to love ourselves and encouraging other women to love themselves, we do more than raise self-esteem. We save lives. In observance of International Self-Esteem Month, one way to strengthen self-love and gratitude is to practice mindfulness. In other words, to pay closer attention to negative thoughts when they arise and to consciously reroute our minds towards positive thinking.
Remember, no matter how perfect you might think someone else’s body is- or their life, for that matter- there’s a good chance that person focuses much of their energy on their flaws. For that reason, no amount of exercising and eating right can improve a person’s self-esteem if that person perceives themselves through a negative lens. Confidence truly does come from within.
As part of your self-esteem practice this month, the following strategies can help you spark confidence from within, accept yourself flaws and all, and love yourself to bits:
#1 – Speak to yourself lovingly
The way you think impacts the way you perceive, and the way you perceive impacts the way you experience. If you think negatively, you will develop a habit of perceiving yourself in a negative light. Consequently, you will consciously and subconsciously attract negativity into your experience. The first step to improving your self-esteem and brightening your perception of both yourself and the world is by speaking to yourself through a filter of love. If you find yourself regularly drowning in negative self-talk…
#2 – Dedicate yourself to a journal
There is a mysterious power to journaling that only those who dedicate the time and energy into regularly and thoughtfully doing so have the fortune of experiencing. There are many ways to journal and no single outline for how it should be done. It may be beneficial to write out any negative thoughts that you seem to be centering in on, but once they are on paper, consider them banished. Move on from them by spending a little time each day listing or detailing the positive attributes you view in yourself, the goals you wish to accomplish, and the ways you would like to give back to the world. And if you can’t quite find anything positive to say…
#3 – Accept your flaws
We all have them, but we can’t quite embrace them until we have learned to accept them. Some of the most influential people have made careers off of embracing their flaws. Only when you learn to accept yourself for exactly who you are will you be able to focus your energy on your true purpose in this world. Make no mistake; your quirks are not your flaws. Your quirks make you unique, and they are something to flaunt, not to hide. But for those days when you feel like your flaws are getting the best of you…
#4 – Practice self-care
Reality check: it’s very unlikely that one day you will wake up without noticing a single imperfection in yourself. On some level, you will always experience a grain of self-doubt or a lack of self-esteem. But that doesn’t mean you, as a whole being, aren’t perfect exactly as you are. Sometimes, no amount of meditation, exercise, journaling, or affirmations will change the way you think because bad days happen, and that’s exactly where self-care comes into play. Even on your worst days, a soothing face mask, a massage, or a new set of essential oils does wonders to help you reset your mind and renew your strength. Speaking of…
#5 – Share your strengths with the world
It may take a while to arrive at a place where you are able to consistently focus on your strengths rather than your perceived flaws. Like any sport, practice, or art form, positive thinking takes discipline and hard work. One of the best ways to harness those strengths you have trained yourself to focus on is volunteering. Regardless of what you have to offer, there is a place in this world where your strengths are needed and desired for the betterment of the community and the world as a whole.
Have you ever seen a person smile so vibrantly that their joy made you smile? That person may never know how they affected others so positively by simply being present and embracing the beauty of the world around them.
That person, like all of us, has their moments of shame, self-doubt, and poor self-image, but at that moment, it was their smile that shined through- not their imperfections. Your strengths almost always overshadow your flaws in the eyes of others. This month, make a choice to view yourself with the same grace.