Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

When you don’t feel good enough

It’s no big surprise that low self esteem and low confidence is increasing. When you don’t feel good enough, it can threaten opportunities and leave you feeling you can’t do anything right.

Perfectionism and body images go hand in hand and we are bombarded with images of ‘perfect’ women daily. No wonder we don’t feel we measure up! A study by Realself.com found that one in five American women is considering plastic surgery. The trend to seek help from a cosmetic surgeon has increased by 200% since 2000. 90% of women between the ages of 18-64 are unhappy with at least one body part and that number only slightly decreases with age.

85% of women aged 55-64 say they are unhappy with at least one body part. What a crazy world we live in where we are all so dissatisfied with our bodies. Social media has a huge part to play in this, as well as other social media platforms such as Instagram. It’s not hard to find perfect bodies that leave you feel fat and flustered.

How to feel better about yourself

Remind yourself of what you do like about yourself. We tend to default to the negative so it may take some effort to focus on what we do like about ourselves. Make a list and look at it regularly. Don’t just focus on you appearance, also include things you do well and charactertistics that you have that are lovely (eg. a sense of humour, patience etc)

Use positive affirmations. Write a few inspiring quotes that uplift you and put them on post-it notes around your home where you will see them regularly. Some ideas: You are loved; You are strong; You’ve got this; You will get through this etc Use affirmations that will work for you and inspire you.

Cover a shoe box in your favourite paper, fabric, photos etc Inside the box, put things in that make you feel happy. Good memories can go in there too – a fluffy toy, a small gift someone you love gave you, etc Think of this as your emotional first-aid kit and go through it when you need a boost. It helps to create an immediate positive association for you and can lift your mood when you feel low.

Don’t compare yourselves to others. You are comparing their highlights reels because you never truly know what’s going on for other. If you jus think for a moment about how much you don’t share on Facebook, Instagram etc, this will give you an idea of how much you don;t know about others too. Don;t buy into it. Stay detached from what you see on social media platforms – it’s only a snippet of the total reality.

Treat yourself with compassion. No one is perfect. Learn to accept yourself flaws and all. It’s part of you. Learn to think differently about yourself. I used to hate the fact that my health was sub-par. I felt that I was inferior to someone who was healthy. I knew this thinking was unhelpful but it was what I chose to believe. when I finally accepted that this type of thinking was holding me back, I decided to reframe the way I saw myself. I begain to think that actually, I had an amazing body, not only did it have to cope with ill health, it had done so pretty nicely, thank you very much.

I have a wonderful son and my body had to cope with pregnancy with far more strength than a health person did. I began to have more respect for my body and this new way of thinking completely changed how I saw myself. You can do the same. No one is inferior, only our thinking makes it so and there are ALWAYS others ways to look at things. What is your ‘mental diet’? If it’s not working for you, it’s not working.

Feeling good about yourself is a choice. Of course, I still have fat ugly days. That’s normal. We all feel low and have self doubt at times but a constant campaign of self criticism will never get you anywhere.

Mandy X