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Disliking Myself

QUESTION:

Hi Valerie,

Im in need of some advice about overcoming low self esteem. I have a history of depression and use to self-harm but now im just trying to make myself like who i am. I have issues with my appearance and always think im fat. Im 5 ft 9 and weigh 9 st. When i get really down i just skip meals and exercise as much as possible. I also have quite spotty skin and that gets me down too. I’m almost 21 and want to enjoy life not obsess about my looks. Please any advice would be great.

VALERIE:

Hi!

What you are talking about is so common, especially in young women. It is so normal to compare ourselves to others, and generally, as you have seen, we end up coming down so hard on ourselves. First of all, please realize that so many of these feelings are normal, most people have them at some point in their lives, because, especially when we are young, we are still trying to discover and accept the adult we are growing into. Some people take a lifetime to truly accept who they are and not compare themselves to others, but it doesn’t have to. I can give you some points to begin with.

Remember that you are not like anyone else. There are things that are special and uniquely you, that no one else will ever have. This includes the entire composition of your body, such as inherited shape, metabolism, eye and hair color, etc. No ones body is better or worse than anyone else’s, just different. Everyone’s idea of beautiful is different. Don’t believe me? Take a handful of folks into a garden someday and ask them each to point out which flower is the most beautiful. You will find a variety of answers, showing that just like people, each flower has it’s own style, shape and beauty, and each appeals to a different person. So, how can you compare them and say one is more beautiful? It is the same with people.

Skipping meals is not healthy. In fact, if you eat too little, your body will go into starvation mode and actually hang on to more fat. It is best to eat many healthy small meals a day, to boost your metabolism. If you feel like you want to make some structured eating changes in your life, check out one of my favorite sites (I’m not affiliated but I have used this site and it really works for creating structure and learning to eat well!) sparkpeople.com. You can put in how much you want to lose or what your fitness goals and are it will give you a structure to build on, one that is healthy and will help you learn to make good lifestyle changes.

Having spotty skin can be as simple as drinking more water. Sometimes your body is dehydrated and it shows up on your skin. I am not a nutritionist but I found that when I began to drink much more water, my skin started to look so much better and any spots were greatly decreased.

The bottom line to making the changes stick and feeling good about yourself though, is to learn to focus on your good points and see the beauty in the amazing spirit that you are, just as you are now. When you can learn to focus on the good and can realize that comparing yourself to others, really is not a true comparison, then you will see these changes start to come about naturally.

Tell yourself each day that you are beautiful. Act as if you already feel beautiful, and you will begin to live that way.

 

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