How often do you compare yourself to others? When you are with close friends, relatives, or peers do you feel inadequate or not good enough? Do you spend countless dollars staying abreast of fashion trends to feel accepted? Do you need constant validation? If so, you may be suffering from low self-esteem. Although this has a tendency to affect every area of your life, there are simple techniques to improve self-esteem and live more confidently.
First, one should understand the power of words. Remember the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words never hurt me.” This cannot be further from the truth. Contrary to this statement, words can potentially hurt more than actions. When words are misused, they have a way of replaying themselves in your brain like a broken record and settling deep into your spirit. Words can affect one’s psyche and behavior and can be used for two specific purposes: to build and to destroy. Take a moment to reflect on a time when someone said something offensive to you. You may have felt confused, angered, and provoked to fight. In contrast, positive words tend to uplift and motivate.
As often as possible, your words should fulfill three basic purposes: edify, empower, and encourage. This principle does not imply one to be dishonest. However, it does challenge one to become accountable for the words spoken because they have the ability to physically manifest themselves in several forms including: behavior, tone, appearance, and relationships. For example, Beth constantly complains about the weight she has gained over the past year. She also complains about-what she describes as-lifeless hair. As a result, she has unconsciously become isolated from her friends and tends to use a condescending tone when others take pride in their appearances. When asked to try trendy clothes, she tends to make negative references to her weight and unrealistic comparisons like “I’m not as pretty as you, or you know I’m too fat for that.” Beth requires constant validation yet finds it difficult to accept compliments. Therefore, Beth seeks attention from any man who remotely seems interested to fill the emotional void-without regards to the goals and standards she has for herself. Beth’s new boyfriend claims she is too clingy and needy. As a result, she is left feeling unloved and unfulfilled. Because she did resolve these issues, Beth continues the revolving cycle of emotional destruction.
What would happen if Beth had a healthy self-esteem? Perhaps, she would have committed to a regular exercise regimen to shed those unwanted pounds and shopped for more form-fitting clothes that insinuated her positive features. Beth would probably exercise caution when it comes to intimacy because she understands her worth. And finally, Beth is more supportive and appreciative of others without feeling intimidated or jealous.
Although encouragement and affirmation from others is great, true strength and encouragement often comes from within. Start by choosing one positive quality about yourself. Afterwards, write a brief statement about why you like this quality. Each day, continue to do this. Sooner or later, you will begin to feel better and realize that you are just as important and valuable as others.
The second way to boost self-esteem is to become your own groupie. This simply means celebrating your individuality by edifying yourself and others. Common characteristics of confident people include but not limited to the following:
1. Easily embraces the abilities, gifts, and talents of others
2. The ability to express personal opinions without apologies
3. Influences others
4. Lacks fear but respects figures of authority
5. Accepts constructive criticism without feeling threatened
Becoming your own groupie simply means embracing your God-given beauty. Although this may include physical attributes, it goes far beyond this. Instead, it means allowing others to shine in the spotlight. Also, this individual tends to take pride in his/her appearance without the need to follow every trend. This person is comfortable making decisions and sharing personal opinions.
No one is created the same-not even identical twins. Everyone is different. Once we leave this earth, there is no one who can truthfully claim to share our exact likeness, similarities maybe, but not exact likeness, which confirms your uniqueness.
Third, think about what your clothes are saying? Did you know that your clothes send messages? Think about the styles you may see in department stores: risqu�, conservative, professional, and casual. Although clothes do not make the person, they can definitely give some hints about a person taste, lifestyle, and socioeconomic status, regardless of size. Think about the time you saw a well-dressed man in a suit. What did you assume? Perhaps, you assumed that he was successful and educated.
Although we cannot assume that every well-dressed person is successful and educated, we can conclude that clothing speaks volumes. Fortunately, the fashion industry has responded reasonably well to those who are plus-sized. For example, King Size sells fashionable, affordable men clothing for those who are considered big and tall while Lane Bryant caters to the needs of plus-sized women. The key is to buy classic, affordable pieces that compliment your shape. Learning about your body type can help you to purchase clothing that insinuate the positive and conceal the negative. It is simple. When you look good, you feel good. Here are 7 tips to help you choose the right clothing styles:
1. Research articles that specifically address this issue
2. Talk with a fashion consultant
3. Get accurate measurements
4. Inquire about styles to enhance appearance
5. Use accessories
6. Shop for classic and trendy pieces
7. Choose well-fitted clothing
Incorporating color is a great way to boost your morale and improve mood. Although this may be a temporary fix, every effort towards feeling better counts. Some psychologist suggests that colors have the effect to raise energy levels and communicate various messages. For example, red tends to be associated with sexiness and rage. Yellow and orange usually communicates vibrancy, and green is believed to bring harmony and prosperity. Regardless of the color you choose, adding vibrant colors to your wardrobe can enhance your appearance and improve mood.
Finally, a strong support system is needed to continue improve self-esteem and building morale. A support system may consist of family members, friends, instructors, and professionals. In essence, these individuals support your efforts towards personal/professional improvement. They offer constructive feedback, guidance, and support. Therefore, it is imperative that your support system include individuals who are both patient and understanding because of the time it takes to heal from emotional wounds. Associating yourself with people who are cruel and condescending only hinders your progress and leaves residue of failure.
In conclusion, no one has a 100 percent approval rating. Developing a healthy self-esteem requires continuous effort, time, a good support system, and incorporating a variety of techniques. Validation from others is important but to live a fulfilling life, encouragement must come from within. To solely depend on others to make you feel good is aborting your greatness.