Published on March 23, 2021

4 Signs You Have a Distorted Self-Image (And How To Fix It)

4 Signs You Have a Distorted Self-Image (And How To Fix It)

In the perfect world, we would take great pride in the body that we have and recognize that we are beautiful in our skin. However, the truth is, feeling like this is not all that common. Whilst it may be common for some people to think that they are not the best version of themselves and want to change it, some see their body in an entirely different way from how anyone else would see them.

This is what is known as a distorted self-image.

What is a distored self-image? If you have a distorted self-image, the way that you may see yourself is not accurate. You may think that you are shorter than you are and a bigger clothes size than you are. You may also focus on specific aspects of your self-image, thinking that they are much more apparent than they are to anyone else looking at you.

Not only can a distorted self-image impact your physical appearance, but it can also affect how you view your talents, your abilities and the values that you have too.

Signs That You Have a Distorted Self-Image

It can be hard to know when you have a distorted self-image; after all, the way you feel is how you feel. You may think that the way you view yourself is usual and is just the way you are. But this is not an accurate portrayal of you and how you fit into the world.

The signs that you may have a distorted self-image vary from person to person. However, there are some common signs that you should make sure that you look out for, as this will help you to identify the problem and try to work toward a solution for the future.

1. You Are Highly Critical of Your Body and the Way That You Look

Look in the mirror, what do you think? If you are immediately highlighting all your flaws to yourself, then you may more than likely have a distorted self-image.

It is normal sometimes to see an issue that you may want to fix; however, if this is all that you see and you keep telling yourself that these flaws make you unattractive, you may need to change the way you see yourself.


2. You Attach Shame to Your Weight or Your Appearance

Shame is a strong emotion, and it is not one that you should carry around with you. If you feel any shame when you look in the mirror or step onto the scales, this is not the right mindset.

While shame can come from your thoughts and feelings, there are also times when you may feel shame because of the things that other people around you have said or done over the years.

3. Your Sense of Worth Is Tied to How You Look

One of the most dangerous things you can do is tie the sense of worth that you have for yourself with how you look.

You are more than your appearance, and you should never link the two together. This is a recipe for a whole host of problems related to having a distorted self-image.

Instead, you should see your worth by what you can give to the world, your talents, time, and kind nature. All of those things make you the unique person you are, not whether you have cellulite that you are sure everything can see or that you think that your nose is too big.

4. You Spend a Large Amount of Time Focusing on Your Weight, Your Exercise and What You Eat

It is good to be active, and we should try to eat as balanced a diet as we can to keep ourselves healthy. But, this is not something that you should be fixated on.

If you find that you spend most of your time focused on what you eat, tracking your calories and exercise, this will leave you a) feeling deflated and b) with not much time to think about all the great things about being you and living your life.

How To Fix Your Distorted Self-Image

You may think that you can live your life even though you have a distorted self-image; however, the truth is, you can’t.


You need to change things, and you need to turn your view of yourself around. But how do you do this?

1. Take Small Steps

Changing how you see yourself will take time, which means that you need to ensure that you take steps that are as small as possible.

Don’t try to change your entire outlook on yourself instantly; you are just setting yourself up for failure. Instead, set yourself smaller goals, little leaps, which you can achieve, before moving on to the next one.

2. Stop Listening to That Critical Voice

You are your own worst critic, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure that you stop listening to that little voice inside that is pointing out all your flaws. It will be hard to silence it, but you can replace those negative thoughts with positive ones when you focus on challenging those negative thoughts.

Check out this article for more advice: How Negative Self Talk Is Slowly Sabotaging Your Life

3. Learn to Appreciate Yourself More

One simple thing that you can do to improve your self-image is to take the time to remember what makes you so unique.

You only need to dedicate a few minutes to this, but what it will do is show you that there is plenty to love about being you and turn what could be a negative mood into a much more positive one.

4. Stop Finding Fault in Being Good Enough

There is no shame in being “good enough” sometimes; just being what you can be is great, and you should never feel any shame in this.


Here’re 5 Reasons Why Being a Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

So many times, we try to find fault because we are not excelling in everything. Sure, there are some things that we can push ourselves harder (particularly where we are talented or skilled), but, for the most part, trying on best is enough.

5. Realize That Comparing Doesn’t Help

It is good to take inspiration from other people and see them as the catalyst that you need to help you achieve the best possible. However, comparing yourself is not always a healthy approach. Other people are going to be better than you at things; they will be taller than you, have longer hair, and have a flatter stomach. This is just part and parcel of life.

Once you can appreciate that you should accept you, rather than wish you were them, you are one step closer to boosting your self-image.

Here’s How to Stop Comparing Your Life to Others (Step-by-Step Guide).

6. Find Supportive People

We should make sure that we spend time with people who make us feel great, rather than with those who make us feel less than great.

You will have people around you who can drain you with their negativity, so, as much as you can, limit your time with them. Instead, focus on those who make you feel great, supportive of who you are, and positive in their outlook on life. Not only will they remind you of all the great things you have, but they will also be a massive boost to your mood.

This is How To Stay Away From Toxic People When It’s Hard To Do So.


7. Eat the Right Food

We have already covered how those with a distorted self-image are likely to become fixated on the food that they eat. While it is not a good idea to let your diet take over your life, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try and eat the right foods.

Think about the foods that make you feel full of energy and those that don’t. Try and have as balanced a diet as you can, drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

However, don’t limit yourself to a life without treats. If you want to treat yourself, then do it. You are going to feel amazing for it, we can promise you!

8. Do Something Nice For Someone Else

If you feel down on yourself and your place in the world, then remind yourself just what good you can do. There is always going to be someone out there who could benefit from your help. So offer it!

Think about the ways that you could give back. You can give back to colleagues at work, you can give back to family and friends, or you could give back to your wider community. Any of these approaches will make you feel great and show you that you have worth and value too.

Find out Why Helping Others Actually Helps Yourself.

Final Thoughts

The simple thing to remember when it comes to self-image is that you are in control. You need to think about what you bring to the world and your place in it.

Don’t be too hard on yourself for your physical flaws; these cannot be changed. Instead, focus on being able to look after yourself. Not only will it help you to feel better about yourself as a person, but it will also help you to feel better about how you fit in with those around you.

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via

More by this author

Fabio De Sio

LIfe Coach & Motivational Speaker

Understand Goal-Setting Theory To Make Your Goal Happen How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone 4 Signs You Have a Distorted Self-Image (And How To Fix It) What Are Vision Boards And Why They Work

Trending in Positive Thinking

1 11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation 2 How to Practice Positive Thinking And Change Your Life 3 11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude Every Day 4 How To Be an Optimistic Person When the Odds Are Against You 5 What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive

Read Next


Last Updated on April 19, 2021

11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation

11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation

The power of positive thoughts cannot be denied, even though sometimes it can seem a little like a cliché when you hear people talking about it. Well, I’m here to tell you that cliché or not, the mental and physical benefits of thinking positively are a proven way to give you more confidence, improve your self-esteem, give you motivation, and generally put you in a better mood. Thinking of at least one positive thought every day can have significant benefits for you.

Some scientific studies even suggest that thinking positively can reduce the likelihood of health conditions, like depression, hypertension, and a variety of other stress-related disorders.

This sounds amazing, but what does it really mean to think positively?

Positive thinking isn’t about finding your inner smile. Many people rarely have what they would consider joyous inner thoughts but that doesn’t mean they can’t be content with themselves and their life.

Positive thinking (thinking of positive thoughts every day) is more about finding the positive imagery in your life and viewing things through more optimistic eyes, especially if you’ve got yourself into a rut of seeing things negatively.

The biggest problem with positive thoughts is that they wear off quickly and things like rejection, negative experiences, setbacks, and heartbreak can soon put you into a downward spiral that gets you back into that negative funk you hate.

And, let’s be honest, being in a negative funk is a sure-fire way to strip your motivation and leave you unable to perform at the levels you know you can. If you’re looking for an instant way to boost your motivation, join the free Fast-Track Class – Activate Your Motivation. It’s a free intensive session that can help you identify your inner drive and build a sustinable motivation engine. You can sign up for the free session here.

So, how do you keep yourself positive in a world that seems hell-bent on bringing you down? Well, with the right routine of positive thoughts you can ensure that you wake up every day feeling motivated and looking forward to everything life has to throw at you.


Here are some tips so you can start thinking of positive thoughts every day.

1. Be Thankful You Woke up This Morning

Not to start on a morbid note, but you woke up this morning. Some people didn’t. Don’t think of it is as a depressing morality tale, just use it to remember that you’ve won the greatest gift life has to offer – you’re alive.

It’s so easy to dwell on the negative aspects of our lives, but we always seem to miss the most obvious positive thing we have – life itself. Take a deep breath, look outside your window, and marvel at the world around you.

2. You Don’t Have to Listen to Haters

There’s no doubt that some people are really mean-spirited individuals who will love to ruin your day. Well, I’m here to tell you they can’t. Not if you don’t let them.

Ignore the haters. Dismiss their bile for what it is – vicious comments of unfulfilled people. Remind yourself that you are above them and nothing they say will bring you down.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

I know, I know. It’s easy to say, “Don’t compare yourself with anybody else.” But at the end of the day, we all have envious thoughts when we see somebody we perceive to be more successful than we are.

But think about it, are they really better than you and even if they are, does it even matter? By spending time being jealous you are wasting time on negative thoughts that could be spent pursuing something that makes you happy.

4. You Must Take a Chance

It’s easy to shy away from something that is high risk and high reward out of fear of being labeled a loser.


Have you ever noticed that doing so actually makes you feel worse than if you’d just taken the risk in the first place? We know that rejection feels bad and failure can weigh heavily, but regret is a far stronger emotion over time.

Don’t hesitate if you have the chance. Go for it and tell yourself that if you fail, it’s no big deal. At least you tried.

Perhaps the perfect example of this approach is David Goggins. We all have a lot to learn from the inspirational David Goggins story and his priceless sayings.[1]

Goggins, considered by many to be ‘the toughest man alive’, is a retired Navy SEAL and the only person ever to complete SEAL training, the U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. He’s also one of the world’s top endurance athletes and held the Guinness World Record for pull-ups, completing 4,030 in 17 hours.

He sounds like a ‘naturally gifted badass person’ right? But in his book, he reveals that he was actually ‘The weakest man in the world’, in his own words.

Overcoming obesity, poverty, racism, learning disabilities, abusive violent father, he came through the other side, inspiring people to embrace suffering and struggle, to find their greatness and inner peace. He took the slim chances he had and changed his life completely.

5. Accept That Things End

Even the best things in life end eventually, so don’t worry about them. Don’t fret about how the good times are about to stop, just enjoy them while they last. And when they do finally end, be happy in the knowledge that something else just as good will come along.

6. Don’t Judge Others

This ties in with point number 2 above – you won’t like it if others judge you so don’t judge them. We know it can be difficult to refrain from labeling other people, but doing so is a sure-fire way to start descending into a negative thought spiral.


We all live in a world where passing judgment is tolerated, but not only is accepting people a great way to make others feel better, it’s also a fantastic way to foster positive thoughts within ourselves.

7. Don’t do Things for Others That Make You Unhappy

We all want to make other people happy, right? But what if the things that other people want us to do makes us unhappy?

If you’re doing something just for the satisfaction of others, don’t. Stop it right now. Your happiness and your time should never be sacrificed for the satisfaction of someone else. You won’t be able to think of positive thoughts every day if you are unhappy in the first place.

8. Don’t Like Your Job? Then Quit.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but nothing is more certain to drain your happiness levels quicker than a job that you hate. If you spend your evenings and days off dreading returning to the office, then start to do something about it.

We’re not talking about jeopardizing your livelihood by quitting (although the dramatic heading for this point certainly suggests so). What we mean is start to make plans and formulize an exit strategy. Nothing promotes positive thoughts more than a plan that removes something negative from your life.

Start simple by saving up funds to make the change and circulating your CV. The first step may seem difficult, but the sense of relief it gives will improve your thought patterns immeasurably.

It might be scary to start over at someplace new and going through a screening process that might be tedious, but once you understand that selling yourself can be easier than you think, you are halfway through.[2]

9. Take Control of Your Mornings

How you begin the day will set the tone for how the rest of it will go. Getting up in a panicked state is a very efficient way to kick start a negative emotional spiral. Get up bright and early, and give yourself time to prepare for the day.


Though some of the mind-boggling thoughts you are having when waking up can be positive for you and even mean more than you imagine, it’s better to set up a fixed positive mental routine.

Think about the positive aspects of your life and tell yourself things like, “Today is going to be a good day” or “I’ll be amazing today.” Yeah, I know this sounds cheesy, but positive words instill positive thoughts.

10. Focus on the Good Things in Your Life No Matter How Small

You’re going to hit obstacles during the day. Things don’t generally run perfectly all the time. The trick is that when you encounter a challenge, don’t dwell on it and choose to focus on the positives you can find no matter how small they may seem.

If you get stuck in a traffic jam, don’t fret about how it is slowing you down. Take positivity in the fact that you have extra time to listen to the radio station you have been enjoying. If you head to your local store and it’s out of the ingredients you need for your dinner party, buy something else and create a different food masterpiece.

Focussing on good things is a great way to gain positive momentum in your life. The huge power of momentum is that even a series of very small things can accumulate to massive results – with the aid of momentum.

11. Look at the Funny Side

Even dark situations can have a humorous side if you look at them the right way. When in a dark or trying situation, remind yourself that what is happening to you will probably make a great story in the future and may even be passed on as a joke. Look for the funny side and laugh.

Final Thoughts

We all know that positive thoughts can be incredibly motivational but in modern life, it can be difficult to stay uplifted when the world around you seems determined to bring you down. By following some of the tips in our guide above, you could harness the power of positive thinking and find yourself starting every day motivated. So, start thinking of positive thoughts every day!

More Tips to Start Thinking of Positive Thoughts Every Day

Featured photo credit: Jacob Townsend via


[1] Vision, Belief, Change: Best David Goggins Quotes
[2] Vision, Belief, Change: Is Selling Yourself Easier Than You Thought?

Read Next