Today, I found myself sitting down next to my wife. On her phone, she was on Instagram swiping over photos of celebrities. These celebrities presented such a picture-perfect illusion of what so many people lust to be.
As a counselor that works with teens and individuals who struggle with comparisons, judgment and self-image. I can see how easy it is to be lured by unhealthy images on social media. I can see how easy it is to feel that you must look like certain people because of how famous they are. Or how much money they have. Or how many followers or likes he/she has.
If you struggle with self-image. If you struggle with unhealthy comparisons, meaning that you view yourself in a negative manner. You find the imperfections. You judge yourself with self-defeating thoughts.
- I hate this…
- I dislike this…
- I wish that I could change this…
Today, I ask that you try something different. That you consider “why you want to be someone else or change a certain part of yourself?”
As a teenager, I struggled internally for a long time facing myself in the mirror. I very much disliked my nose. It’s long and crocked. I would spend time thinking about how much I hated it. How I wished that I could do something about it. How if I did not have this nose I would be such a different person. That others would see me differently. That I would love myself more. My unhealthy focus on my nose created tunnel vision. I spent endless time with negative racing thoughts focused on hate, dislike or change.
Today, my perspective and self-esteem have improved. I would love for you to consider answering the following questions:
- What do you love about yourself?
- What do you dislike about yourself (internally or externally)?
- If you had a magic wand what would you change?
After answering these questions, spend time reflecting on the question below:
Consider 2 people in your life that are positive influences. For some it may be a lover, a parent or a best friend. Now reflect on what this person would say about you if asked:
- What do they love about you?
- If you he/she had a magic wand what would they change about you?
I am assuming that the 2 people you selected would answer in a positive manner. They love you as you are. They would not change you. They can list numerous things about you that they love, admire and/or like.
As a counselor, what I find that takes place is that people forget to reflect on their immediate support system. People forget to take time to reflect on how the people who love them feel about him/her. In addition, we struggle to place weight on those who matter most to us versus those who may negatively impact us. For instance, I may strive to want people at work or school to like me. I may spend all day and night focused on this goal. While each second of everyday I have my support, system loving me.
Strategies to improve your self-esteem, self-image, and comparisons include:
- Taking time to reflect on what the people who love you are really saying. Write down the positive statements if needed.
- Taking time to consider who influences you. It’s up to you to select your role models.
- Focus on what you can do versus what you cannot change. For instance, I cannot change my nose. I can however, go to the gym and build healthy friendships.
- Take time to reflect on what you love or like about yourself (internally and externally). You can do this daily by writing 5 things you love or like about yourself.
- Let yourself stare at the mirror for the right reasons. Spend two or even three occasions face to face with your mirror focusing on what you like or appreciate. For instance, I may dislike my nose and yet be VERY appreciative of it for allowing me to smell my favorite foods.
As a professional counselor, I love helping people overcome emotional difficulties. These often include taking on challenges of self-esteem, unhealthy comparisons, or anxiety/depressive thoughts. If you are ready to move forward, gain confidence and overcome your challenges give me a call 336-707-1723. I would love to work with you.