Body Image and Self Esteem
How do you feel about the way you look? How do you feel about yourself in general?
How we feel about ourselves on the inside, affects how we feel about ourselves on the outside. For example, it is possible to look like a catwalk model and yet feel that you are ugly.
Do you have certain words which you feel describe you as a person? For example 'Lazy, pretty, selfish, rude, fat, or kind.'
What is it that makes us see ourselves in a certain way? Why do we carry these words around with us in our heads?
If you have people around you constantly telling you that you are 'a loser, selfish, lazy, stupid, or ugly' obviously your self image will be very different to someone who is often told that they are 'clever, kind, or beautiful'. Over years these words sink more and more deeply into your mind to form a more solid picture of how you think the world sees you.
How we feel about ourselves influences how other people see us.
And how we see ourselves is influenced by what we guess other people will think of us and this is based on things we've heard people say in the past and images in the media and in the world in general. We build up our own personal image of ourselves over years and it is changing all the time, (I feel very differently about myself now than how I felt when I was fifteen).
Some of these images or words which we use to describe ourselves are old and we have outgrown them. We need to tell ourselves some new ones and why not make them good ones?
The thing to remember is that this is only how you think the world sees you, not necessarily the truth of what the world sees, because everybody in the world sees things differently and will have a different opinion on what is beautiful, what is clever etc.
Tell yourself you are good!
Actually a lot of how they see you will depend on what messages you have been telling yourself about yourself. If no one around you is telling you that you are beautiful, or clever, then start saying it too yourself, quietly in your head. It might seem weird at first, but remember no one can hear you, so it doesn't matter, The more that you believe in yourself, the more other people will believe in you. Everyone can be beautiful, kind and find some skill to be proud of, if they like themselves.
The idea of what is beautiful is always changing, just like the fashion for clothes changes, the fashion for what kind of body and hair changes too. For instance during the Renaissance period it was fashionable to be plump and to have vibrant red hair, most of the women in paintings of this time look like this, Kate Moss (who most people today would say is beautiful) in Renaissance times would probably be seen as ugly and not worth painting!
But what doesn't change, is that a person with a kind face and smiling eyes is always beautiful. A person who is true to themselves and not pretending to be someone who they think people will like, is always beautiful. And although it can sometimes feel hard to be yourself, people will always admire you for it, even though they might not admit it.
It is always far more cool to be yourself ,than to pretend to be something you are not just to please other people and to fit in.
Hold your head high
You can tell a lot about how someone feels about themselves by the way they stand. If someone has got hunched shoulders and their head is drooping down, they give the impression of lower selfesteem than someone who stands up straight with their shoulders back and head held high, (that doesn't mean nose in the air!).
If you try it now, you will see how different it makes you feel about yourself just from standing or sitting with good posture, you will feel more confident and more relaxed. So hold your head up high and walk tall with your shoulders back no matter what you think you look like, or no matter what people have said to you in the past. The past is the past, it is up to you to start loving yourself now. Everyone's different, what's special about you? The more you like yourself for just being who you are, the more other people will like you.
Is vanity a kind of weakness?
To love yourself is good, to look in the mirror and think, "I am a nice person, I like the way I look, I've got kind eyes" This is healthy.
But I don't mean to love yourself in a vain way, because really vanity is a kind of weakness. People can get so caught up in just the way that they look, because maybe the way they look happens to be the kind of look that people like, that they start to rely on that for reassurance that they are valuable as a person.
Sometimes people who are vain and focus too much on the way they look, have been told that they are good looking, but maybe no one has really said anything else good about them and that is the only thing that they think is good about themselves. Maybe (underneath the vanity) they actually feel bad about themselves.
Remember to tell your friends and anyone who is special to you why they are special. If they are looking good, tell them! If they have done something really cool, or kind, tell them! You don't know what it might mean to them. Think how good it makes you feel when someone gives you a compliment.
How can meditation help?
When you are meditating you will be sitting with a straight back, with relaxed shoulders and head held high, this is a posture of confidence and positive self esteem, it will help you to get into a pattern of holding your body in a good way. When you start to sit quietly and meditate, you can begin to make contact with the inner part of yourself that is calm and still and doesn't rely on other people's opinions to be happy. You can learn to separate yourself from any bad thoughts that you might have about yourself and start to see it as just a thought and not necessarily the truth.
Try saying this to yourself every now and again.
I am happy to be me
I may not be perfect
But I am honest, loving, and happy.
I never try to be anything that I'm not
And I'm not here to impress anyone else
I am me !
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