How to Be Confident in Your Beauty

Four Methods:Improving Your Beauty Self-EsteemBuilding Your Confidence Around OthersCaring for Your Physical AppearanceRecognizing Your Inner Beauty

Our overall self-esteem comes from a variety of more specific domains, including our beauty.[1] Beauty includes our physical appearance, but it also includes inner beauty and strength. These qualities help keep ourselves confident and happy. Perceived flaws in your beauty can lead to a preoccupation with your looks, excessive grooming, undergoing unnecessary procedures to improve your looks, and/or social isolation (e.g., staying housebound, avoiding pictures, etc.).[2] In extreme cases, a person can develop chronic mental illness like body dysmorphic disorder and eating disorders with or without social anxiety. [3] In less extreme cases, low self-confidence in your looks can simply lower your mood and enjoyment of daily activities. For these and other reasons, understanding and improving confidence in your beauty can be important for your overall mental health.

Method 1
Improving Your Beauty Self-Esteem

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    Identify the source of your lack of confidence. Ask yourself why you feel less confident about your beauty. In some cases, this may seem like a simple question because there is an obvious connection to your physical appearance. For example, someone may have made a comment to you directly about a specific feature. But in other cases, the connection may be more subtle. Media portrayals often narrowly define beauty, which can make people feel inferior.[4]).
    • There may even be an indirect connection to your decreased confidence. For example, uncertainty about the future may create anxiety. Because you cannot easily control or alleviate this anxiety, you focus more on other, smaller sources of anxiety that you can control, such as your looks.[5]
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    Look at yourself in the mirror. There are a number of different cognitive behavioral techniques to improve your “beauty self-esteem.”[6] These techniques focus on evaluating the source of your self-esteem, questioning your negative opinion of your looks, and thinking about ways to think about your looks more positively. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror.
    • Focus on sitting or standing up straight while looking in the mirror for maximum confidence while doing this exercise.[7]
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    Write down 3 positive things about your looks. Think about your favorite physical attributes and write them on a list.
    • Write a sentence about each of these qualities, such as: “I have long curly hair. It looks so full and bouncy, especially just after I leave the hair salon.”
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    Write down 3 positive personality traits. This exercise also requires you to appreciate the qualities that are part of your personality or character. Write a sentence about each of these traits.
    • For example, you might write, “I help others. I volunteer every week for a local charity and always call my friends back right away when they need to talk.”
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    Rank these 6 traits in order of importance to you. Combine your lists of personality traits and physical features. Rank the qualities, putting the one you think is your best or most important. This will help you determine which qualities are most important to you.
    • Most people tend to rank personality features above beauty features. This emphasizes that that our self-esteem is influenced more about how we feel about our personality. Other people tend to be influenced by our personalities as well.[8]
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    Look at yourself and see what thoughts come into your head. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you might think certain thoughts. But consider where those thoughts come from. Whose words are they? Are they your own words, or someone else’s words? Do the words remind you of bullies, parents, or friends?
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    Question the accuracy of your thoughts. When you consider these words, think about whether these descriptions are true. Are your hips really that big? Are you really that much taller than other people? Is that really a bad thing?
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    Quiet negative thoughts. If your friend was asking you about her looks, think about how you would talk to her with appreciation, acceptance and kindness. When you’re thinking thoughts about yourself, ask yourself if this thought about yourself is a kind thought, and whether you’d say it to a friend.
    • Consider how you would talk to a friend. Now think about how you can talk to yourself that way.
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    Talk to yourself positively. Find what you like about yourself in the mirror. From now on, whenever you look in the mirror, look at this attribute first. Tell yourself what you like about this attribute.
    • This helps you stop focusing on what you perceive to be your “flaws.” Instead, you’ll focus on your positive attributes. Soon, you’ll see more of your attributes as positive.

Method 2
Building Your Confidence Around Others

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    Choose your friends wisely. Pay attention to your friends and how they make you feel. Surround yourself with people who don’t criticize or judge you because it can negatively affect your body image.[9]
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    Smile a lot. As easy and obvious as it sounds, smiling can lower stress, even when you are forced to do it. Giving a big grin can actually make you feel better about yourself.[10] Furthermore, people will see you as approachable and trusting.[11]
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    Take a compliment. If you get a compliment, don’t deflect it, take it! [12] If you are uncertain about your looks, it may feel awkward to get compliments and your anxious reaction might be to deflect or down-play the compliment. But you should accept the compliment instead. Once you do this a few times, you’ll feel more comfortable with accepting compliments.
    • For example, if someone compliments your shirt, you might tell them it is a hand-me-down that you only wore because all of your other clothes are dirty. This is a reflection of your anxiety about your looks and can make both you and the person who complimented you uncomfortable. Instead, just say thank you and fully enjoy the compliment you earned.
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    Be kind to others. When a person is judgmental, critical or downright mean, others may not perceive you as beautiful. This type of person is not fun to be around. He’s not a good friend and he’s not a source of positivity.
    • Drop the negative comments and find something positive to say about other people. You’ll find that people will, in turn, respond to you much more positively.
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    Become media literate. Remember that the media’s portrayal of beauty is designed to make you feel inferior so that you will buy beauty products and new clothes. Keep in mind that body images are not the average. They are also usually enhanced by digital software like Adobe Photoshop. People who recognize this and who are more media savvy often have better self-perceptions. [13], [14]
    • Read up on media literacy to learn how to recognize how the media exaggerates physical qualities.

Method 3
Caring for Your Physical Appearance

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    Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Researchers have found that the clothes we wear really has an effect on our self-esteem. For example, wearing a superhero costume can boost confidence and make people feel stronger. Women perform better on a math test in a sweater than in a swimsuit. A white coat gives people more “mental agility.”[15]
    • Focus on wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable, such as a nice soft sweater, your favorite jeans, or a suit and tie.
    • Examine your wardrobe and make sure your clothes fit your style.
    • Wear colors that you like - these will help boost your mood. If you can’t decide on a color you like, a good go-to color is blue because people general respond positively to it.[16]
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    Choose clothes that suit your body type. Find outfits that will look good to you when you look in a mirror because they match your body type or include accessories that show off your good features. There is no perfect body type, but there are good and bad clothes for particular body types. Clothes that fit because they match your type are more likely to look good on you.
    • For example, if you have broad shoulders and narrow hips, avoid scarves with patterns (calling attention to your shoulders), shirts that accentuate your shoulders, and footwear that looks small for your body type, but do wear pants that make your hips look bigger and shoes with wider heels or boots with buckles that call attention to your feet. If you have a round body type, avoid too much fabric in the middle of your body, belts, and skirts less than knee-length, but do wear details above your bustline and below your hipline.[17]
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    Keep yourself groomed. When you look like you think about your appearance and are taking care of yourself, your self-confidence is boosted. You will also help others focus more on you as a person, rather than one minor aspect that may be perceived as a flaw.[18]
    • Take care of your skin. Wear sunscreen and have a good daily cleaning regimen.
    • Keep your fingernails trimmed and clean.
    • Have a hairstyle that suits your face.
    • Iron your clothes if they are wrinkly.
    • Have good posture. Sit and stand with your shoulders straight.
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    Get some exercise. Whether or not exercise actually changes your physical appearance, it can change your perception of yourself. This can lead to increased self-esteem. A national survey of physical activity and weight showed that people who were not satisfied with their body size were less likely to be physically active, regardless of how much they actually weighed.[19] This finding suggests that just being physically active can be related to a better self-image.
    • The amount of exercise needs to be enough to give you a sense of accomplishment. You should regularly exercise. But you don’t need to do any specific type of exercise, nor do you need to exercise for any specific amount of time.
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    Eat a healthy diet. Certain foods, such as those high in carbohydrates and fat, can cause you to become sluggish and negatively affect your mood. [20] Foods that can improve your mood are those that are low in fat and release their energy slowly. These foods give energy for sustained periods of time. They do not carry the risk of weight gain, bloating, and irritability. Certain foods can also help you grow stronger hair and nails. These benefits can improve your overall self-image.

Method 4
Recognizing Your Inner Beauty

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    Keep a gratitude journal. Being thankful can help you recognize that you have good things in your life. You can get more enjoyment from life if you spend some time acknowledging the things that make you happy.[21]
    • Spend some time every few days writing down moments that make you happy. You don’t need to make a laundry list; instead, focus on a few specific instances and write more about those instances.[22]
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    Find joy in the everyday. Being open to positive experiences can help you enjoy life to the fullest. When you find joy in small moments, you will appreciate life and learn about what you want and need to be healthy. Be present in the moment, and take notice of the good things that surround you.
    • For example, take a walk in nature. Look at your surroundings. Notice how the wind rustles through the trees. Notice the ladybug climbing up a leaf. Watch the sun filter through the tree branches. Paying attention to the little things will help you find
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    Be authentic. Being honest and true to yourself will help you stay in touch with the real you. When you spend all your time pretending to be someone else or trying to please others, you start to lose a sense of what you really like and need. Be an authentic person. [23]
    • For example, your friends want to go dancing but you’d really like to get a good night’s sleep so you can go hiking the next morning. Do what feels right for you, not for them.
    • Be sensitive towards other people’s needs, but don’t override your own needs.[24]
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    Try meditation. Meditation is a great way to connect with your inner strength and beauty. This will help clear your head of negative thoughts – both from you and from others.
    • Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for at least 10-15 minutes.
    • Breathe deeply, inhaling for a count of 4, holding your breath for a count of 4, and exhaling for a count of 4. Feel your breath expand your stomach. Hold your hand over your stomach to feel this.
    • Focus your thoughts on your breath. When your thoughts start to wander, acknowledge the thoughts and let them go. Return your focus to your breath.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Building and Maintaining Self Confidence