What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about yourself? Do you hone in on your sense of humor or smarts? On a different end of the spectrum, do you consider your physical traits like height or eye color? How do you feel when you think about these things?
Asking questions like these is important for building positive self image and practicing self love and self acceptance. It is typically a subconscious, yet highly detrimental train that our mind takes when we are being critical of ourselves. Without even noticing, we frequently beat ourselves up and only focus on the negative things we have done. Unfortunately, mistakes like spilling a glass of water will probably stick out to us more than simple successes like eating three meals in a day.
These hypercritical views of ourselves can also spread into not only the way we view our morals, but also the way we think of our physical selves. If you are constantly hating the person you’re becoming, you’ll probably grow to hate every part of that person if you don’t monitor these negative thoughts. Especially in the lives of kids and teenagers, this “self-view” can be very fragile and subject to change depending on the day. It takes as little as one negative comment from someone or one missing assignment to throw off the whole view of one’s self. This struggle only furthers as young people are still growing and adjusting into their adult bodies. These changes can include mood swings, weight gain, and uneven sleeping patterns. With all of these factors shifting around the lives of kids and teenagers, building positive self image is challenging.
How to Begin Building Positive Self Image At Any Age
Combating this struggle is not impossible. Even small habits can completely change the way you see yourself and act towards others over time. Just as every day starts in the morning, it is helpful to practice specific habits as you are waking up and preparing for the day. When you first see yourself in the mirror, either think of or write down at least three things you love about yourself in that moment. With these things in mind, hold on to them throughout the day and remember your positive traits. Continuing, it is helpful to practice positive affirmations for yourself. No matter the age or gender of a person, affirmations can be useful for bettering one’s self-image. Practice phrases to yourself like, “I am deserving of love,” and, “I attract good things,” to remember your worth in the world. Further on the list of positive habits, it can be a nice gesture to compliment at least one person around you each day. You never know who is facing their own struggles regarding self love, so even the most simple compliment can change someone’s day for the better and grow positive feelings within yourself.
Intuitive Eating’s Role in Building Positive Self Image
Another helpful factor to consider on your journey to both physical and mental self-acceptance is the practice of intuitive eating. Simply put, intuitive eating is practiced when a person is eating to fuel their body, satisfy their cravings, and feel good. There should not be any calorie or content restrictions when you’re intuitively eating, just following what your body tells you it needs in the moment (and what it doesn’t need). With all of the toxic workout and diet culture promoted on everyone’s social media landscape, something like intuitive eating can be very helpful. It’s easy to fall into the holes of intangible diets and excessive workouts, and especially for younger people with growing bodies and minds, this can be very unhealthy.
Once you reflect and test out what habits bring positive change to your life, you will slowly progress towards being happy with yourself and kind to yourself. If you focus on how you feel rather than what you look like, you’ll be on the healthiest path for your mind and body. You will be able to view yourself in a positive light that is worth love and good for those around you.
At HAPPĒ Life we have created programs to support the continuous development of psychological health and well-being for children and adults. We are dedicated to helping provide you with the means to navigate life more fully, confidently, and positively through fun programs aimed at you and your child’s social, emotional, and mental health. The Mission I’m Possible series are short videos designed to teach kids lessons about self-awareness and relationship development. To sign up for the Mission I’m Possible series at no charge, click here. They’re enjoyable activities you can do together as a family that impart valuable skills and will assist with building positive self image.
Thank you to Jenna Eckenrod for writing this blog post. You can find Jenna on instagram at bplussociety.