Lucy has been struggling with a poor self-image for the past six years. She felt unattractive and strongly believed that men didn’t find her sexy. She had a successful career as a management consultant but could not stop feeling bad about herself. Through our sessions, we discovered that Lucy had a younger sister. This younger sister was the pretty one, the one who got all the boys, according to Lucy.
Although Lucy was more successful in her career, she believed her sister was accepted more by her parents because she was married and had provided them with their first grandchild the previous year. It was clear that Lucy had lost sight of what was important to her and was doing her self-image no favours by continually comparing herself negatively to her sister.
Here are some of the techniques we worked together in order for Lucy to start reconnecting with herself again:
1. Who Are You?
Take some time to write down who you are at the moment. Highlight your qualities, values and recognise anything that you see as negative about yourself. It might be that your negative beliefs about yourself only crop up in certain situations. If this is the case, understand why you feel more negative about yourself at these times.
2. Understand Why You Have To Change
Recognise how powerful your negative beliefs are about yourself have been so far in your life. It might be a bit depressing to begin with but note down how much these limiting beliefs have held you back so far. Don’t dwell on them: just recognise them and decide not to let this happen again.
3. Create A New Self-Image
Re-define who you want to be. Keep all of the good qualities that you have noted down in response to the “Who Are You?” question but take the negatives you have about yourself and turn them around into positive statements about yourself instead. Read this redefinition back to yourself every day for the next two weeks until you start acting like this person and making decisions based on this new completely positive person.
4. Positive Role Models
Find inspirational people and see how they behave. How do they talk about their lives? It’s more productive to admire and pick up qualities in people and add them to our own repertoire rather than comparing yourself negatively to people. Negative comparison is not constructive and makes you feel bad about yourself.
While you’re getting used to your new self-image start to visualise yourself as the new you. How will you deal with certain people and situations? Rehearse the new you and then actually behave like that person in real time situations.
6. Don’t Put Yourself Down
Observe how you talk about yourself. Don’t use sentences like ‘I’ve never been any good at …’ or ‘It only worked because I got lucky.’ By putting yourself down in front of others, you’re basically telling them you don’t value yourself so they shouldn’t either. If you find that you talk negatively about yourself then redefine your external dialogue. Replace negative talk with strong positive statements about yourself.
7. Make Yourself Feel Good
Once you’ve worked on your inner confidence, don’t undermine this by not dressing for success. Wear things that make you feel confident, or in Lucy’s case, sexy. Also, spend time on yourself. Go, to the hairdressers, gym, go for massages and eat the right food. Sounds simple but most of us just don’t do it. Looking after yourself tells you that you have respect for yourself!
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