What do you love about yourself?
Imagine what life would be like if you stood in front of a mirror and focused on what you love about yourself rather than what you could change?
Unfortunately, many give attention to their so-called flaws. And as we’re fed images of beautiful celebrities and models on social media, in magazines, on billboards and the television, unrealistic expectations of what we should look like, dress like, and act like are set.
New figures from the Be Real Campaign for body confidence, founded by youth charity YMCA and Dove, have revealed that two in three (69%) young people are worried about parts of their appearance. According to the charity’s data, body image anxieties increase into adulthood; with 20% of young people aged 11 to 12 years old worry about their appearance, and by the age of 16 that figure rises to 32%.
The effect of poor body image can be profound. Studies show that people with low self-esteem have a higher risk of developing anxiety, an eating disorder and problems in their relationships. In 2008, researchers from the University of California, Davis and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that having low self-esteem at ages 15 and 18 was a risk factor for developing depression by age 21.
Building your self-esteem takes work, and doesn’t happen overnight. But here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Recognise that nobody’s perfect
No one is 100% flawless. The images you see on Instagram, in magazines and on billboards are often manipulated and altered. By comparing yourself to those images, you’re only letting yourself down.
Appreciate your own beauty
Focus on the positives. What do you love about yourself? What do your friends and family love about you? Make a list of all your positive attributes, and every time you have ‘bad’ day refer to that. Sometimes we just need a reminder of why we are great.
Curate your social feeds
The average person spends 2 hours and 15 minutes on social media every day. The images on your social media feed can subconsciously affect your self-esteem. If you find yourself making comparisons with those you follow, or feeling ‘ugly’ or ‘fat’; curate your feed. Follow accounts that empower and inspire you. Doing this can really boost your self-esteem and change your perception of beauty.