How to Feel Better About the Way You Look

Three Parts:Changing Your MindsetAppreciating Your Amazing BodyGetting Outside Help

If you feel insecure about the way you look, you aren't alone. People are bombarded with a huge number of messages about beauty standards every year, which can easily contribute to feelings of insecurity.[1] If you would like to become more confident about your body and looks, there are steps you can take to change how you think about your body. To start, work on changing your mindset. Actively work against negative thoughts and make an effort to appreciate yourself and your appearance each day. From there, work on appreciating your body. Rather than seeing your body in terms of its flaws, try to appreciate what your body can do for you. You should also seek outside help. Talk to supportive friends and family members. Let them know you're taking steps to feel better about yourself and your appearance.

Part 1
Changing Your Mindset

  1. Image titled Be More Introverted if You're an Extrovert Step 4
    Start off your morning by exposing yourself to something positive. You want to begin the day in a good place. When you step out the door for work or school, you will be bombarded with a lot of negativity. To combat this, work on feeling good about yourself the second you wake up.[2]
    • Look for passages from books, lines from movies, articles online, or blog posts about body and appearance positivity. You could try keeping a journal by your bed where you've written down positive messages.
    • You can also write down positive messages on index cards. You can leave them where you're likely to see them early in the morning. For example, write down a line from a poem on body positivity and place it on your coffee pot.
  2. Image titled Control Your Emotions Step 14
    Identify what you love about your body. If you're insecure about your body, you probably focus mostly on what you think is wrong with it. Instead of rehearsing those same old ideas, try reframing your attention to focus on what you like about your body.[3]
    • Are you good at sports or other physical activities? Do you have good hand-eye coordination?
    • Has your body allowed you to pull off certain styles? Do you look really good in certain kinds of clothing?
    • Does your body provide you with pleasure? How do you feel when you get a massage or go swimming?
  3. Image titled Learn Something New Every Day Step 6
    Take a time out from reading beauty magazines or following celebrities on social media. You need to connect with your body away from outside influences. This will help to stop comparing yourself with others and appreciate you for you. Un-follow certain celebrities on Twitter, stop checking websites such as weight loss and fashion blogs, and avoid glancing at tabloid covers in the supermarket. All of these things can contribute to negative feelings about the body.
    • If you're having a hard time completely getting away from outside influences, try to set limits rather than completely cut it out. You could, for example, limit yourself to 2 hours of social media time each day.
    • Try to take periodic "pop culture breaks." Turn off your television, computer, and phone a few hours a day. Try to do something that takes you away from outside influences, like reading a book or going for a walk.
    • Body insecurity is often related to the messages that people receive through the media. Young women for example are encouraged through television and beauty publications to achieve a certain weight, skin tone, etcetera. Many of these ideals are unrealistic and harmful, considering the diversity of body types that exist in the world.[4]
  4. Image titled Develop Emotional Intelligence Step 6
    Identify what makes you feel insecure. Do you know why you feel so insecure about your body? Did your parents or friends pressure you into looking a certain way? Have you always idolized pop stars and other people in the media with "perfect" bodies? Were you criticized for the way your body looked when you were younger? Figure out situations and reminders that trigger your insecurities. Try to avoid such things in the future.[5]
    • Do you have friends or acquaintances that are critical of their own bodies? If so, you may want to lessen contact with them, at least until you're feeling better about yourself. You could consider skipping lunch with the coworker that's constantly dieting, or not returning your cousin's self depreciating texts about his physical appearance.
    • Think about times in the day when you're likely to feel insecure. Maybe you tend to feel insecure when you go to the grocery store, as your store has a lot of full length mirrors. You find yourself constantly checking your appearance in these mirrors. You could consider going to a different store.
  5. Image titled Lose 12 Pounds in One Month Step 8
    Avoid weighing yourself everyday and obsessing over your appearance in the mirror. "Checking" is common in people with body image struggles, but you can try to change these patterns.[6] This is one way to direct your attention away from negative thoughts about your body and toward more positive things in your life.[7]
    • You should consider getting rid of your bathroom scale. If you're worried about tracking your weight, weigh yourself once a week at a gym or a drugstore that has a scale. When you go to the doctor's office, you can ask your doctor not to weigh you unless it's necessary for medical reasons. You can also ask that your doctor not tell you your weight.
    • If you notice yourself checking your body, think about something else instead, like being at the beach or something else that helps you relax. You could also find something to distract yourself right away when you begin to obsess over your body. Take up a relaxing hobby, like knitting.
  6. Image titled Be Calm Step 15
    Practice positive self talk. If you feel bad about yourself, you may find yourself putting yourself down a lot. You may engage in negative self-talk, which means you find yourself saying things to yourself like, "I can't believe how fat you are" throughout the day. Try to swap negative self talk with positive self talk. It may feel awkward at first, but with time being kind to yourself can help raise your sense of self worth.[8]
    • Be aware of your thought patterns. If you've felt bad about yourself for awhile, you may put yourself down without thinking. Try to be aware of your thoughts at all times. Catch yourself when you begin thinking things like, "You're so ugly. You're so weak."
    • Then, try replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, say you're insecure because you feel your arms are too bulky looking. If you find yourself thinking, "I can't wear this top because it makes my arms look fat," stop and replace this thought with something more positive. For example, "I'm really proud of how strong my arms are."
  7. Image titled Be Calm Step 11
    Try to see insecurity as humility. Despite your best efforts, you may still feel insecure sometimes. Some people beat themselves up for experiencing insecurity at all. Instead of feeling bad that you have body image issues, try to see the insecurity itself in a positive light. Try to think of yourself as modest instead of insecure, as this can help you feel better about yourself overall.[9]
    • Try to think of yourself as humble. Be grateful you're able to acknowledge you have flaws and imperfections.
    • Keep in mind, while it's okay to reframe your thoughts on insecurity, you should still work to feel better about yourself. It's good to have some humility, but intense insecurity can be unhealthy longterm.

Part 2
Appreciating Your Amazing Body

  1. Image titled Control Your Thoughts Step 10
    Think of your body in terms of function over form. You may be inclined to get down on yourself over your body's imperfections. Maybe you don't have a flat stomach or muscular biceps. You may not have the hair color or eye color you want. However, stop thinking of your body in terms of how it looks. Instead, be grateful for your body's ability to function.[10]
    • Admire your body's abilities beyond physical beauty. Admire that your body is able to move, carry you, heal from injury, and endure physical activity.
    • Set goals for yourself that have nothing to do with weight loss. Try to push your body in terms of endurance. For example, strive to be able to do 110 push-ups in a row, or to be able to run 2 miles without stopping.
  2. Image titled Be Calm Step 16
    Accept what you dislike about your body while loving it overall. Everyone has things about their bodies they dislike. It is not realistic to expect yourself to love everything about your body at all times. However, learn to accept what you do not like without fixating on it. Be able to compartmentalize to a degree by loving your body overall, even when you know it's imperfect.[11]
    • For example, you may dislike the way your stomach looks in a top. Think to yourself, "I don't like my stomach right now, but I like my body overall." After acknowledging you dislike your stomach, think about everything you love and appreciate about your body.
    • Self love and appreciation are not all or nothing. It is okay to have frustrations without your body and still love the way you look overall.
  3. Image titled Control Your Thoughts Step 2
    Forgive your body for its shortcomings. As people age, they tend to be less and less forgiving of their bodies. You may get frustrated that you're not building muscle as fast as you want, or that your legs will not slim down despite a lot of workouts.[12]
    • Accept that your body will not always work as well as you want it to, and that you may never reach certain fitness goals. Instead of getting angry at your body, try to be understanding. Remind yourself that you are more than your body, and appreciate all the good your body does for you.
    • Make small changes in the way you look at your body. If you get injured exercising, nurture your body and show it kindness instead of getting frustrated. Smile at yourself in the mirror when you feel upset with your body.
  4. Image titled Be Calm Step 5
    Work out with the goal of caring for your body and improving your mental health. Working out can be healthy. It can help reduce stress and lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety, both of which can contribute to a poor body image. However, obsessing over change through weight loss and muscle building can make you feel worse about yourself. Instead of working out with specific weight loss goals, work out with the goal of nourishing your body and improving your overall mood.[13][14]
    • Give your body what you need when you work out. Do not push yourself to the point of strain or injury. Be kind to your body as you work out. Give yourself enough food and water to fuel your workouts, and remember your workouts are a way of caring for your body. You're allowing your body to stay strong over time.
    • Make sure you talk to your doctor before beginning a new workout routine. You do not want to end up straining yourself.
  5. Image titled Eat Like a Body Builder Step 2
    Provide your body with nourishment. Many people with low self esteem try dieting or healthy eating as a means to change their bodies. Eating right can help you feel better about yourself, but do so with the right mind frame. Think of healthy eating as a way of nourishing your body instead of a way of forcing your body to change.[15][16]
    • Go for a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and lean proteins. Do not force yourself to eat low calorie diet food you do not like. Instead, eat foods that you enjoy that are prepared in a healthy manner.
    • Use all your senses when you eat. This will allow you to better enjoy the meal, and be more aware of what you are consuming. Eat without distractions like the TV or computer. Focus in the taste and smell of your food. Listen to the noises food makes as you chew. Take in the smell of your food as you eat. Try closing your eyes as you eat to completely focus on the food you're eating.

Part 3
Getting Outside Help

  1. Image titled Cope when No One Cares About You Step 12
    See a therapist. If you have an intense case of body insecurity, see about getting help from a professional psychotherapist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective way to improve your self-esteem surrounding your body and reduce any behavioral symptoms related to your body image, like binging or purging.[17]
    • A cognitive-behavioral therapist will help you notice the negative automatic thoughts about your body. Your therapist will help you work on ways to change your thinking patterns.
    • CBT will also help you stop the obsessive behavior of checking. Checking occurs when you constantly check to see what you look like, how much you weigh, or other aspects of your body.
    • You can find a therapist through your insurance or online. If you are a student, free counseling may be offered at your school. Ask whether a therapist you're considering does cognitive behavioral therapy.
  2. Image titled Cope when No One Cares About You Step 14
    Talk to your doctor about medication. Some psychiatric medications, such as anti-depressants, can help if you are dealing with a serious case of body insecure or body dysmorphia. Talk to your family doctor or a psychiatrist about trying one of these drugs if you feel like medication would help you cope.[18]
    • Make sure to tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking, so he will know about any potentially dangerous drug interactions.
    • You may want to see a therapist and a psychiatrist while taking psychiatric medication. This can help assure the medication works effectively for you and has no negative side effects.
  3. Image titled Enrich Your Life Step 10
    Surround yourself with supportive people. If you're feeling poorly about yourself, support is vital. Seek out friends and family members who are positive. Try to spend time with people who feel good about their bodies and are generally positive.[19]
    • Spend time with people who appreciate you. You want to spend time with friends and family members who encourage you to be yourself and genuinely like you. Friends who tend to be negative or jealous should be avoided when you're struggling with your self esteem.
    • Do not be afraid to ask for help. You can ask for support by saying, "I could really use some help with these body image issues I'm struggling with. Do you think you could do your best to be there for me?"
  4. Image titled Cope when No One Cares About You Step 9
    Join a supportive, body-positive community. There are a lot of online forums and in-person groups to join if you need support for your body image insecurities. These communities give an outlet for people to express their concerns and relate to others who are going through similar struggles.


  • You can tackle your insecurity in multiple ways. You can be critical of society's body image standards and still make efforts to get in shape.
  • Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and good about yourself.
  • Avoid letting your focus rest exclusively on your body image. Remember that there are other important things in life, such as your friends and loved ones.


  • If you feel hopeless about your situation, try calling the National Eating Disorders helpline at 1-800-931-2237. Even if you don't have an eating disorder, you can talk to them about your body image insecurities.[20]

Sources and Citations

Show more... (17)

Article Info

Categories: Building and Maintaining Self Confidence