Guest Author - Linda Steele
The key to instilling self-confidence in yourself as well as other women (young and old) in your life is self-acceptance. By role modeling these five simple ways to encourage self-acceptance, you will help encourage others to do the same.
Five ways to encourage self-acceptance:
1. Appreciate what makes you unique. We don’t dislike a puppy because he is rolly-polly or the runt of the litter. Why do we do that to people? Instead concentrate on all of the things that make us individual from our different personalities to our physical and intellectual abilities.
2. Lead a healthy lifestyle. I’m not talking just about exercising and eating nutritiously although these would be two great ideas to consider incorporating into your daily routine. But, we are more than our bodies. Strive to cultivate all aspects of health - emotional, spiritual and mental health. What makes you happy? I love traveling, photography, hiking and spending time with my cats so I try to do more of those activities. Take care of your spiritual self either by religion or meditation. Promote good mental health by being less stressed. Also, avoid criticizing - both of yourself and other women.
3. Investigate the techniques of perfection. By the images we see on TV, in the movies and magazines, the media would have us believe that everyone has flawless skin and is a perfect size 4. Educate yourself about the techniques that the media uses to create such a flawless look. A few years ago Dove embarked upon the Dove Self-esteem campaign and created the Dove Real Beauty Workshops for Girls. The Dove Evolution video (available on YouTube) shows the transformation of a model with no make-up and looking very average to having make-up expertly applied, hair coiffed and then photographed. Yet before this photograph graced a billboard, it had to be photoshopped. Her eyebrows were raised. Her head was raised elongating her neck and it was made thinner all with the touch of a couple of buttons on the computer. Her hair was placed perfectly for that “wind blown” look. The results - an amazingly beautiful woman yet unattainable for most. This billboard image will be seen by thousands if not millions of women who will wonder why they don’t measure up. The last caption of the video reads, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.”
4. Accept yourself exactly as you are! Love all of you - mushy mid-section, dimpled thighs, and all. If you wish you had skinny legs that didn’t touch in the middle, don’t try to change your feelings. Accept your feelings, but also accept you thighs exactly as they are too. Your feelings and desires combine to form the whole you, which is valuable in an of itself.
5. Treat yourself well. We have the tendency to take care of others before we take care of ourselves. Some of us even go as far as abusing themselves. Self-abuse includes neglect - not seeing the doctor when you need to or not getting enough sleep - doing too much to the point of stress and exhaustion, over- or under-eating and trying to control every detail in your life and the lives of others. Instead, take care of yourself (see Steps 2 and 4 above), sleep when you are tired, eat when you are hungry and get a little bit of relaxation in there.
By incorporating these five ways, you will exude self-confidence and lead by example. The young women in your life are watching you and paying attention and will learn more from how your carry on in your life than your words.