How to deal with the inner demons of your self-image

“I hate my hair. I hate the color of my hair. I want it to be black, not brown. I hate my curls. I want to have my hair straight.” These words came from my 6-year-old daughter a  few months ago. As tears fell down her cheeks, I remembered my younger self constantly hating everything about me. Now I didn't know how to react. I just hugged my daughter and understood how she was feeling, but I couldn’t figure out the reason. Why does she feel that way? Why do I sometimes feel the same way? How can I help her if I haven’t even been able to help myself and control my feelings on those days when, in a matter of seconds, I go from feeling bad about having a pimple to hating everything about the way I look?

In our previous blog: how to solve the “nothing to wear” feeling. We talked about some problems behind this feeling and gave some tips to start solving it.

This time, we want to focus not on the external issues, but on some internal ones. We want to take a step back and see what the state of your self-image is and how it is affecting your wardrobe.

Poor self-image = Wardrobe mistakes

Have you ever thought that you probably have an incorrect perception of your body? Focusing on your “imperfections” creates a misleading body image and the need to hide your body. Looking constantly at the loose thread will make you miss all the good stuff. You’re suffering from something nobody else is aware of until you mention it or until you try to conceal it using a bad “quick fix”.

Woman measuring herself

Let’s look at three of the most common issues we women struggle with about our appearance and some of the problematic “tricks” we use to cover up “the flaws” that just don’t work:

  1. Things we can’t change about our physical appearance. We definitely can’t change our genes. Our height, body-type, skin color are some of the characteristics we are born with and will stay the same throughout our lives. Nevertheless, we look for quick fixes that, in some cases, have the opposite effect. High heels are a great option to look taller. However, thick-soled shoes only highlight the problem. I know they’re more comfortable BUT they cut the figure shorter with any kind of outfit. So, if the purpose is to look taller, thick-soled shoes are a NO GO.
  2. Things we can change, but we’re trapped between our desire to change them and the laziness of making the required effort. Our weight (when caused by bad eating habits) is a common issue. We find our bodies unattractive and use relaxed fits or even oversized clothes to hide our shape. The hope of looking better wearing loose clothes is just a lie. They add volume to your entire silhouette, making our body seem bulkier than it actually is.
  3. Things that used to be different than how they are now. Are you nostalgic for how your body used to be before becoming a mother or turning 40? It’s true! Our bodies are not the same. They age but we grow in wisdom and experience. Embrace your motherhood and your stage of life with all the things that come along with it.

Tricks are great, when used correctly. Identify patterns in your wardrobe that are causing the opposite effect of what you want. And most importantly, see them for what they are: just tricks. There is no trick to hide a poor self image. So, let’s see what we can do to help you with that self image.

Tips to improve self-image:

  1. Kill the trigger. COMPARISON is the root of dissatisfaction. We want to look like someone else. We want to appear how someone else wants us to look. Along the way we are losing the chance to explore and enjoy our uniqueness. Identify those situations or people that are influencing you in a negative way and take a break from them. Become a better version of yourself.
  2. Love your uniqueness. Acceptance is the beginning. From my personal experience the key to overcoming a poor self-image is ACCEPTANCE. Accept the way you are. Accept the challenge of working on things you can improve or the consequences of choosing not to. Accept motherhood or any other events in your life and the changes they may bring. Accept the fact that you are aging. Be the master of your mind. Love yourself at all stages of your life.
  3. Dare to explore and try new garments, colors, patterns. Give up the tendency to hide your body because is “not perfect.” I had a Masters in covering my body with oversized clothes to hide my “mommy tummy” and my arms; and had a PhD in wearing dark clothes to look slimmer. Don’t fool yourself. Instead, look for techniques that help you to have a successful shopping experience. For instance, use the “photo technique” to discover the types of silhouettes, colors, or patterns that work best for you. We talked about it in our previous blog and here is a reel we made for Instagram.
    Grandma, mom and daughter

    So now what? It is time to change that poor mental picture that you have about yourself. Reinhold Niebuhr said “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This is a good beginning to start your journey, to feel better about yourself and to dress better.

    … So, how did the episode with my daughter end? I took her by the hand, and we stood together in front of the mirror. I asked her to tell me the things she loves about herself. She looked at me with shyness, but I encouraged her with that indescribable love I feel for her. And so, she forgot about her hair, she focused on answering my question and started to list all the things she loves about herself. Perhaps it's time you do the same.

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