How to Be Proud of Your Appearance

Three Parts:Developing Self-AcceptanceOvercoming the Source of DissatisfactionRedefining Beauty

The idea of being at peace with how you look can seem far-fetched in today's appearance-driven society. The media feeds you nonstop messages that breed discontentment. "Your skin doesn't look like this" or "you need a body like this," it tells you. Coming to terms with and being proud of your appearance is a surefire route to personal satisfaction. And, if you can't reach this place, you may always feel lacking. Luckily, with a few strategies, you can learn how to love the way you look and feel proud of your appearance.

Part 1
Developing Self-Acceptance

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    Notice all the ways you and your body are amazing. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like, focus on what you do. If you often get compliments on your smile or gorgeous teeth, relish in these positive traits. Move beyond just the physical and focus on positive things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with appearance.[1]
    • Make a list to post on your mirror. Fill the sheet of paper with all the wonderful characteristics that you like about yourself right now. You might include things like “I am strong” or “I care for animals.” Put as many items on the list as you can, and revisit this list regularly as a mood-booster.[2]
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    Smile more. Smiling makes everyone more beautiful. When you smile, you reap a multitude of health benefits, such as assisting your body with stress-coping.[3] You make yourself feel brighter and happier. What’s more, you can even make others feel more attractive and help spread positivity to them.[4]
    • Challenge yourself to smile as much as possible, even when you don’t want to. Give it 24 hours. Practice smiling at yourself in the mirror as you get dressed and prepare for your day. Smile at the strangers you pass on your way to school or work.
    • Notice the reactions you get from smiling. Pay attention to how this makes you feel about yourself.
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    Nurture yourself. Every body is unique. You can’t really make a huge change to how you look, but you can start today making an impact on how you feel. Turn your focus towards leading a healthy lifestyle. When you are treating your body well, you will naturally have a greater sense of self-esteem and increased well-being.[5][6]
    • Fuel your body with plenty of water and real, whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
    • Exercise regularly to fend off illness, maintain (or lose) weight, and fight anxiety and depression.
    • Reduce stress by engaging in activities that you love. Make time for rest and relaxation.
    • Get adequate sleep to improve your focus and concentration and increase your likelihood of making healthy lifestyle choices.
    • Say “no” to drugs and alcohol, which may make you feel better temporarily, but can cause lasting damage to your mind and body over time.
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    Repeat affirmations of self-love.[7][8] Sometimes, you have to fake it until you make it. Convince yourself that you feel great about your appearance by repeating positive phrases to yourself. You can make these statements anytime, anywhere—aloud or quietly in your head. Over time, you may find that you truly start feeling exactly as the words suggest.
    • I am always doing the best I can.
    • I am a work in progress.
    • I am beautiful because there is only one me.
    • My body is healthy. My mind is brilliant. My heart is at peace. My soul is tranquil.
    • I will not harbor negative thoughts or feelings.
    • I have great appreciation for my life.

Part 2
Overcoming the Source of Dissatisfaction

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    Recognize that you are "enough." Perhaps you are unable to feel proud of your appearance because you think you have to earn your self-worth through a number of standards. You want to drop 20 pounds. You need to catch the eye of a special someone. Or, your mom finally needs to approve of your clothing choices. What you need to realize is that despite how you look, who notices you, or how you dress, you are already enough.
    • Believing that you are good enough can be much easier said than done. However, if you make the decision to believe this and take action almost daily, you can start to internalize this belief.
    • Whenever you feel less than good enough, repeat this to yourself like a mantra: “I am good enough.” Say it again and again until you start to feel that it’s true.[9]
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    Learn to love the body you have. This can be much easier said than done. Still, when you reach a point of self-love for who you are at this very moment, it's priceless. Say you have a scar that you don't like on your chin. Want to love it? Think about the fact that your scar symbolizes that you were stronger than whatever tried to harm you. Here are some other ways to learn to love your body:[10][11]
    • Stand in the mirror and look at the body part you don't like. Search for something positive about it. If you don't like the shape of your nose, maybe you can relish in the fact that it is free of blackheads. Do this daily until you start to criticize this body part less and less.
    • Soothe your body regularly. Take long, relaxing baths. Get a manicure or pedicure. Try a new hairstyle or haircut. Visit the spa for a massage.
    • Wear comfortable, flattering clothing. Don't feel the need to hide behind your clothes. Choose fabrics, styles, and colors that play on your best assets. If you dress in clothing that is fashionable and that fits you correctly, you will automatically feel more pulled together.
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    Drop comparisons. You check out your best friend and notice how tall he’s grown, and think to yourself “I’m too short.” You see your sister’s new outfit and then comment that your own outfit looks “ugly.” You may not be sure why you do this, but one thing is for certain: comparisons sabotage your happiness and self-esteem. Consider these reasons why you should stop this destructive habit:[12][13]
    • You gain nothing from comparisons, but jeopardize your passion, pride, and dignity.
    • Taking this route will always ensure that you are the loser, as there will always be someone who is better than you in some way (e.g. taller, prettier, smarter, etc.).
    • Doing this removes the power of individuality and assumes everyone’s interests, style, and journey should be alike.
    • You have no real way of knowing what the other person’s life is really like. You are comparing your own worst to your perception of someone else’s best.
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    Distance yourself from critical people. Your thoughts about yourself may not always be founded in your own beliefs. You also develop your self-concept from the nonstop judgments and criticisms you get from others. A close friend or family member who constantly puts you down or talks about your appearance can make it difficult for you to take pride in how you look. One of the biggest factors influencing your happiness and emotional well-being is how others treat you.[14] Here’s how to deal with an overly critical person:
    • Create boundaries if the relationship causes you to feel bad about yourself. Turn down invitations and spend less time with the person.
    • Carefully select with whom you share your intimate thoughts and feelings. If a person doesn’t value what you have to say, refrain from sharing. Keep this individual on a need-to-know basis.
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    Challenge media depictions of beauty. If you spend a great deal of time watching television shows, scrolling down social media timelines, or thumbing through beauty and fashion magazines, these media sources could be affecting the way you view your own sense of beauty.[15][16]
    • The way women and men are portrayed through media may cause you to judge and compare yourself, despite the fact that these images have been retouched or Photo-shopped. Our self-esteem and confidence take a major hit from this nonstop judgment and comparison.
    • Choose to limit the exposure you have to unrealistic representations of human bodies and beauty. Instead, make an effort to uplift real images of humanity, in all shapes and sizes.
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    Let go of perfectionism. If you have a tendency to strive for perfection, this mentality could be preventing you from feeling a sense of pride about your appearance. Each time you look in the mirror, you find a shortcoming. Each time someone compliments you, you mention what needs work rather than expressing gratitude or self-satisfaction. Setting high standards for yourself is a self-defeating habit that will continually undermine your happiness. Overcome perfectionism by doing the following:[17]
    • When you catch yourself having exceptionally high standards, be realistic. Remind yourself that no one is perfect and that being human means making mistakes. Say to yourself “Just do your best!”
    • Expose yourself to your fears. For example, if you worry about going out without makeup, make a commitment to try to do just that. First, go out without lipstick or gloss. Then, forego foundation. Finally, go out without anything but a clean, fresh face. Periodically, repeat to yourself, “You are beautiful just the way you are”. Did any of your fears come to fruition? Did people laugh or taunt you?

Part 3
Redefining Beauty

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    Spot beauty in others beyond their looks. As you strive to see beauty in yourself, you should also look for it in others around you. Sometimes, you may be able to see in others what you cannot see in yourself. When you notice that beauty is everywhere, in everyone, you are more likely to also believe you have it within you.[18]
    • Beauty can come in all shapes and forms. Pay attention to the beauty you see in others that does not take a physical shape. Think about those around you. Their laughs. Their compassion. Their zeal for life. Their intelligence. Their friendliness. Are these not beautiful traits? Is it possible that others may spot some of the same beautiful traits in you?
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    Find beauty in nature.[19] Another way to help yourself look beyond modern ideals of beauty is to turn to nature. Nature offers the most widespread presentation of beautiful plants, creatures, and landscapes.
    • There are thousands, even millions, of manifestations of beauty and wonder right at your fingertips in nature. There are numerous scenes that quite literally take your breath away. When you consider all these manifestations of beauty, you might also come to understand that beauty can just as well be something you feel with your emotions, not just something you see with your eyes.
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    Engage in activities that make you feel beautiful. As you continue to redefine your understanding of beauty, you might also choose to notice how it is at play in everyday life. Because beauty can be something you experience with the senses, there are many ways to have it in your life. Your physical appearance is only a part of your experience as a human being. Think of all the things you can do that help you feel beautiful.[20]
    • Take note---these activities have nothing to do with outward expressions of beauty, although engaging in them may make you look more beautiful to yourself and others. These are things you do with your body and your heart that promote inner beauty.
    • For example, volunteering can help you feel like you are making a positive contribution to your community. Listening to your favorite music and dancing can promote a sense of beauty. Laughter can be beautiful. Running and playing with little kids can also help you to feel beautiful. Do more of these things, and you will, in turn, feel better about yourself--on the inside and on the outside.

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Categories: Building and Maintaining Self Confidence