Low self-esteem is a disturbingly common affliction in the modern world. Given how truly crippling it can be – halting, derailing and even sometimes ruining lives altogether – the sheer number of people who are openly unsatisfied with their physical form is at a high level.

Whether it’s the fault of relentless advertising or simply natural self-doubt, there is no escaping the damage it does to countless people.

Once you’ve got in your head that you’re too ugly or too spotty or too fat or too skinny or too tall or whatever it is about yourself that you don’t like, it can be difficult to get out of that mindset and learn to love yourself again.

At this point, most people resort to sometimes drastic measures to feel good again. They undertake strict diets or exercise regimes. Some – certainly too many – take things too far, end up starving themselves or developing eating disorders.

The saddest thing about that is that there’s really no need. The only thing you need to do to feel better about yourself is to believe that you’re beautiful just the way you are.

Here are a few things that will always help you keep that in mind.

YOU WILL ALWAYS LOOK GOOD IN THE RIGHT SIZED CLOTHES

It’s easy to hate yourself when you’re bulging out of clothes two sizes too small for you. The same goes for when you’ve rendered yourself shapeless with clothes that are miles too big. But clothes come in all different sizes for a reason – to fit different shapes and body types. Some might be harder to find than others, but if you find something that fits, you’re going to look great. There are clothes out there that are designed to look great on a body exactly like yours. Why aren’t you wearing them?

OTHERS WILL NOTICE ANY SIZE CHANGES FAR MORE THAN YOU DO

It’s an odd phenomenon, but a lot of people who have clearly, visibly, objectively made hugely positive changes – such as losing or gaining enough weight to reach a healthy size – often don’t see it for themselves. If you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not good enough, even reaching your own goals sometimes isn’t enough to change your mind. You end up pushing yourself to go further – to lose more weight, to eat less food – and that’s how problems start to happen. You have to start loving yourself before you’re perfect, or you never will.

BEAUTY STANDARDS CHANGE

From era to era, from culture to culture, from person to person. There is no one right way to look or to be. Stressing yourself about conforming to one particular style or design is not worth all the hassle if standards are going to dramatically change if you go abroad or don’t keep up to date with the trends.

HOW IT LOOKS ISN’T AS IMPORTANT AS HOW IT FUNCTIONS

There are some very important things that bodies do, and looking good is not one of them. Bodies are the machine that carries you through life – it deals with keeping you safe and healthy and able to interact with the rest of the world. How it looks really isn’t important. As long as you can run for a bus, carry your weekly shop home and rock your child to sleep, who cares what you look like? What you do matters so much more.

IT WON’T LOOK PERFECT FOREVER

Even if, despite all odds, you decide that, right now, in this exact second, in this view of the mirror, you look as perfect as any human being ever could … so what? What difference does that make to the world? How long is that really going to last? Gravity and time and life are all out there ready to ravage your beauty away. Maybe it won’t take all that long – maybe all it will take is one poorly timed pizza to ruin that perfect stomach. Does that mean that you’re going to suddenly lose all your worth as a human being? Of course it doesn’t. Perfection doesn’t last, so don’t chase after it like it will.

IT’S YOURS

This is one may well be a total cliché but that doesn’t stop it being true. Everything about your body is geared towards keeping you alive. Alright, it might make mistakes here and there, but ultimately it wants the best for you. Is there anything – or even anyone – else in the world that devotes 100% of its time and energy to making sure you’re okay? It might not be perfect, but it’s doing everything for you. Give it a break.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.

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