10 Easy Ways to Feel Better About Yourself
Photo by Scarleth White
There are plenty of reasons to feel bad about yourself. Everywhere you look, magazine ads, TV shows, books, and billboards promote people who are skinnier, more successful, more intelligent, and more famous than you are.
The trick is to take all that hype and reduce it to what it is: not your concern.
Instead, here are some simple ways you can live in a world that worships youth, beauty, innovation, and money and still feel just fine about yourself.
1. Smile. Smiling at yourself in the mirror each morning – despite the crazy hair, new wrinkles, and that beautifully soft but oh, so ragged t-shirt you wear to bed – starts a rush of endorphins in your body kicks off a feel-better cycle.
You can literally “fake it ‘til you make it” with smiling, because pretty quickly you’ll start thinking of reasons to smile. It’s one of the best physiological effects on earth! Plus, the more you genuinely smile at others, the more positive your social interactions tend to be, the better other people will treat you, and the more you’ll feel like smiling.
2. Remember that not everything is about you. There’s a saying: “No one thinks about you nearly as much as you think they do.”
While that is devastating to the narcissists among us, it can be a burden off the shoulders to just about everyone else. When you look in the mirror, you see all your imperfections and problems, external and internal, but others around you are much more willing to overlook those supposed defects.
Either they like you anyway or they just don’t look closely enough to see and nitpick your faults. Stop taking yourself so seriously and life will be a lot more enjoyable.
3. Take care of your inner self. While not everything is about you, it’s very important for you to remember that you, as a person, are unique and inherently precious in the world.
Beef up your inner strength by soaking up the spirituality, mental clarity, and emotional balance that comes with quiet self-reflection, religious observance, meditation, and just doing things you like to do on a regular basis.
4. Hold onto a realistic body image. For women especially, punishing yourself for not being skinny or beautiful enough is all too common. Most women and quite a few men want to weigh less and look more sleek, but constantly berate themselves for not having yet achieved their perfect ideal.
Say it with me, people: “I am not my physical body alone.” That’s right! You are still you inside, and your physical shape does not define who you are. Eating a healthful diet and exercising are ways of showing love and gratitude toward your body, so do those things without the expectation that as you enjoy looking in the mirror more you will be completely fulfilled by being able to wear a bikini in public.
Happiness is an internal process, so learn to love yourself at whatever physical stage you happen to be in.
5. Dress appropriately. You act confident and assured when you feel good about how you look. Dressing well doesn’t mean you have to wear the priciest duds from the catwalk, but it does mean learning how to pick clothing that emphasizes what you like and minimizes what you’re still working on.
What many insecure teen girls need to learn, however, is that more skin does not equal more worth. Modest dresses, blouses, skirts, and pants in the right colors for your skin tone and that fit well present a sophisticated, competent image to the world. And yes, others will treat you based on their first impressions of how you look, so why not choose your clothing so that you’ll be treated as the intelligent, beautiful person that you are? And make sure you smile.
6. Grooming. Along with dressing appropriately, careful hygiene practices and grooming techniques are a must.
While you don’t need to spend hours a day on grooming (and if you are, it’s time to change your hairstyle, makeup, and perfectionist attitude), keeping yourself clean and smelling nice is essential. It seems like an obvious thing to say, but some boys still need to hear it. Wear deodorant (or a granola equivalent that really works). Shower frequently.
And girls, revel in a hot new haircut or makeup technique every once in a while. When you feel like you look good, you’ll be surprised how people respond to your instant magnetism.
7. Stretch your mind. Ignorance is not bliss. Nor is it all that attractive. Even if you are not currently undergoing the rigors of formal education, learning new things does help you feel better about yourself.
Mastering a new skill boosts your confidence tremendously, but even the journey of learning and growing is something we’re built to enjoy.
Human beings are naturally curious. Find ways to stretch your creativity, expose yourself to new ideas, and enrich your education.
8. Nurture relationships. Strong, nurturing relationships with family and friends are critical in helping you up your self-confidence level.
Not all your relationships will be ideal, but nurturing those that you feel are healthy satisfies the need within each of us to belong somewhere. We all need people, whether we need them in small doses or can’t fathom being alone for a minute.
Being a good spouse, parent, child, and friend opens up opportunities for some of the most fulfilling moments in our lives.
9. Serve others. Remember how it’s not all about you?
Everyone around you is just trying to make it through this life, so why not ease someone else’s burden just a little? Sometimes a happy smile will be just the thing you can give someone who is having a bad day.
Look for chances to lighten a burden for someone else and you’ll be surprised to find that your own burdens aren’t quite so heavy to bear. The great thing about service is that you can help others and feel great about it.
10. Cultivate the ability to love. Love is one of the few things in this world that you have more of the more you give it away; but the more you refuse to give it, the less you’ll have.
Don’t be stingy with it. Loving yourself means accepting your weaknesses as parts of yourself you are still working to improve and celebrating your strengths. Do that for those around you, and you’ll find that life is filled with joy.
How can you not feel better when you have joy in your heart?
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This is a guest post by Aaron Eskaran
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