Saturday, 23 May 2009

Self Esteem For Women

"Would you consider yourself someone with high self esteem, or
low self esteem?" The natural reaction when asked a question
like this may well be "high self esteem of course!", but the
truth may paint a very different picture.

Self esteem for women, especially, seems to be generally lower
than it should be, and unfortunately far too often accompanied
by poor body image. Why then are so many women subject to this
deprecating state of mind? Perhaps it comes back to the natural
laws of femininity. You see, a woman in her natural, feminine
state has an in-built desire to radiate beauty. It's the very
reason that we women wear make-up, shave our legs, wax our
eyebrows, love to shop, etc.

If that desire for beauty extended to finding that which we
already have, it would be an absolute blessing. Unfortunately
however, the unhealthy side of that desire for beauty, is in
seeking it externally and creating unhealthy comparisons to
others.

This damaging act of comparison is concerning enough in its own
right, but consider who we are really comparing ourselves
against. Whether consciously or not, we are most certainly using
the media images that we're constantly bombarded with as a
benchmark for what is the `right' size, body shape or look.

The problem with that is this; the women in the media -
actresses, singers, models, etc – are in front of the camera for
a living! Their livelihood revolves around how good they look
with their faces and bodies featured up close and personal on
giant screens around the world. I'm certain just about anyone in
the same position would make it an absolute priority to ensure
there isn't a scrap of fat to be seen, or a single hair out of
place. They have the money, the resources and, most importantly,
extreme motivation to ensure that this standard is always
maintained – and all too often at the cost of their health.

The other problem with using the media as a benchmark can be
found in the simple act of picking up a magazine. It only takes
a quick flip through the pages of any women's fashion magazine
to make even a woman with great self esteem feel like a fat pig!
Between the scarily thin catwalk models, and the lighting, make
up, good photography, and of course airbrushing and photoshop
techniques, the end result is that we find ourselves envying a
picture of a woman who isn't even real.

In fact, for a wonderful example of what's involved in creating
the finished look of a model in a print advertisement, I highly
encourage you to watch the video that Dove put together as part
of their Campaign for Real Beauty.

Naturally none of this is to say that we shouldn't care about
our appearance, or enjoy making ourselves look and feel
beautiful, but simply that if we must peg ourselves against a
benchmark, perhaps we should consider someone more realistic.

It's so important to keep ourselves healthy from the inside
out, and that includes our mind… Don't let these unrealistic
images of beauty fool you into thinking you're not good enough
the way you are.

My tip for this is to make a list of everything you like about
yourself from the inside out. In fact, one exercise I did was to
go through my body parts one by one and write down why I loved
them. I can assure you that when I got to my thighs, I found it
a little challenging, but I managed to come up with how much I
love that they are strong and carry me wherever I want to go!

Don't let the negative thoughts creep in, they are like a
cancer for your mind… find reasons to love everything about who
you are, in all your fabulous individuality!


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