Our brains are constantly processing our experiences in the world around us. The way we feel and present ourselves starts with internal thought patterns. Most people who have low self esteem have a constant negative dialogue with themselves and don’t even know it. ”I’m so fat, nothing looks good on me.” ”I can’t make friends because I’m so weird.” ”My face is disgusting.” ”Why can’t I stop myself from eating when I know I’m so gross.”
Maybe you don’t know it, but you are judging yourself all of the time. You can only change it if you start hearing it for yourself. So pay attention. You may be appalled at the things you say to yourself. As you well should be. No one deserves to be treated so meanly.
Tips For Improving Self Image
- Talk about it as a family. Most people aren’t even aware that they do it until someone brings it their attention. We all have a running commentary going on all the time and only occasionally notice. Once you introduce this topic, your child will be able to identify thought patterns more easily. Suggest they write down their most common thoughts.
- Practice accepting compliments. Thank you is sufficient when someone says, “That shirt looks cute on you.” Don’t explain it away or counter with reasons why you don’t think so. This is a negative practice that only reinforces a poor self image.
- Call each other out. Your son or daughter might make a passing comment about their acne, or about how awkward they feel they are. Ask them if they heard themselves. Ask them if they would say similar things to their closest friend.
- Regard your own feelings as highly as you would someone else’s that you love or care about. Would you hurt someone else’s feelings the way you do your own?
- Identify things about yourself that you do like. And say it out loud. To yourself. In the mirror. Sounds silly, but words are powerful. Having kind thoughts about yourself won’t feel as impossible once you’ve become accustomed to verbalizing them.