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

How to Live By Design, Not By Default 4 Effective Goal-Setting Templates To Help you Set Goals 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)

Trending in Positive Thinking

1 How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary 2 Signs You Need an Attitude Adjustment (And How to Do It) 3 15 Habits of Highly Miserable People 4 How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Celebrate Your Uniqueness 5 Why You Think You’re Not Good Enough and How To Believe in Yourself

Read Next


Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

“Attitude is Tattoo”

Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.


Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

Believe You Can Do It

Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.


Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Embrace Failure

Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

Start Making the Change

But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

Why is that?

Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.


So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

Write down What You Want to Change

Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

Tell a Friend and Talk About It

Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.


Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

Final Thoughts

You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

More Tips for Strengthening Your Resilience

Featured photo credit: Cata via

Read Next