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.
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.
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.
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.
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 unsplash.com