Stop looking outside yourself for confirmation of who you are. A positive self-image begins with self-acceptance — warts and all. While you may want to change certain personal attributes, you first have to accept exactly who you are today and love that imperfect self.
It's not enough to define yourself by your job description. Do some form of self-reflection daily to discover your deeper self. I recommend you do your self-reflection on the page instead of in your head. The process of writing who you are helps to solidify your image of yourself and make it more real.
Start by spending 15 minutes a day journaling. Reflect on your past, your present and your future. Give yourself the opportunity to get to know who you are by letting that deeper self express herself with no grammar or content constraints.
Surround yourself with positive people who have similar goals. The more you hang out with negative people, the lower you find yourself feeling. Model yourself after the people you admire who radiate self-esteem and love. Feel buoyed up by their energy and learn from them.
Also, create the environment that helps you to feel good about yourself in your home and workplace. Simple and inexpensive changes in décor and colors can make a huge difference in your everyday mood.
Exercise can bring up lots of negative feelings and objections like — too much effort, not enough time, too unimportant. I like to use the word movement instead because it's less scary and can feel more manageable and empowering.
I try to move my body in some fun and invigorating way daily whether it's an evening stroll with my kids, frolicking at the beach or having an impromptu dance party in the living room. If you make exercise more about moving your body to get the energy flowing rather than a chore, you'll find yourself looking forward to the time your body gets to shine.
All of these steps to a more positive self-image support the final idea of engagement with your life. The more you engage in your life in conscious ways, the more positive you will feel yourself becoming. Make a commitment to explore and discover what interests you and excites you about yourself and life and get ready to be filled with a more positive self-image every day.
Sheila Hageman is an author, teacher, speaker and mother who blogs for The Huffington Post. Her memoir, Stripping Down, February 2012, from Pink Fish Press, is a meditation on womanhood and body image. Check out Sheila's latest reflections on the bare essentials of life on her blog, on Twitter, and on her website.
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