Negative self-talk. People-pleasing. Having trouble making decisions in your own best interest for fear of judgment or losing someone’s approval. These all can be signs of low-esteem, and they could be keeping you from living the life you want and deserve. If this sounds familiar, it could be time to develop your self-confidence.
For the past few weeks, we’ve talked about how improving your sense of self-worth can help you get the things you want out of life, including finding a healthy relationship. I know many of you think that I’m making it sound easy, but I know that it takes work. It takes an active participant — you — to make choices in life to stand up for yourself. It’s time to start getting what you want out of life.
Jenna grew up in a home where her mother wanted her to look just like the girls in magazines. She would tease or make negative comments about Jenna’s body if she put on a few pounds, specifically about her “muffin top” and how it kept her from “looking her best”. Today as an adult, she finds herself criticizing her body particularly for the extra flesh that hangs over her waistband.
She makes the decision to start being nicer to herself. Now, when she dresses in front of the mirror before work, she no longer groans or averts her eyes. She says out loud, “Yes, I need to lose some weight, but I don’t have to be mean to myself. I want to care about myself enough to do something to improve my health.” It’s not easy to tune out her mother’s negative comments from her mind, but she’s determined to accept and love herself.
Be gentle with yourself. It’s easy for us to criticize ourselves since we’ve all come from a background where our appearance was judged. Much of our media and society pressures us to live up to unrealistic standards of beauty, like Jenna’s mother does with her. Treat your body with love and respect. Eat healthy, get exercise and listen to your doctor’s advice about your weight, not the pressures from images in magazines, social media and movies.
Giving in to sex too soon can be another sign of low self-worth. Does this sound familiar?
Lisa’s first serious boyfriend had pressured her into sex far sooner than she was comfortable. She’d brought it up to him after, and he’d made fun of her for being a prude. Ever since, she’d gotten sexual quickly with her subsequent boyfriends. After the last heartbreak, she decided enough was enough. She didn’t like jumping straight to sex. She wanted to take her time and get to know the guy first before becoming emotionally vulnerable.
She loved sex, but she hated the heartbreak and weeks of second-guessing that happened when guys didn’t call back after getting what they wanted. She missed intimacy, but realized that the quickie-sex she’d been having wasn’t intimate. It was just sex. From this point on, she told herself, she’d wait. She was worth it.
We’re constantly bombarded with the message that we need to be ready for sex quickly, sometimes after only three dates. We know to think of condoms and birth control as protection, but what about protecting our hearts? Slow can be sexy, and making sure we’re protecting ourselves is what’s most important.
A woman who knows who she is, what she wants out of life, and who expects respect from the men in her life is the very essence of what it is to be your own Brand of Sexy. It can take time to make such a major change in how you see yourself. Many women find it difficult to make themselves a priority. Gaining awareness about how important it is to value yourself is a huge and important first step in discovering who you are and how to get what you want. When you make the decision to work toward a goal—accepting yourself for example—and stick to it, your life can change, and for the better!
If you’ve struggled with poor feelings of self-worth, the first step in being your own Brand of Sexy is to realize how wonderful and unique you are. Focus on your positives. What do you like about yourself? What would your friends say is your best quality? Write it down and revisit that when you feel low. Make a point of realizing when you talk negatively about yourself. Make an effort to curb those hurtful words. With time, it will become easier. Keep people in your life who love and value you, and limit the time you spend with those who would tear you down. Know that you can stick to your values. Be gentle with yourself as you incorporate these new attitudes in your life.
One way to find out if you have issues with self esteem is to discover whether you can say “no”. This quiz can help you find out. If you’ve struggled with knowing what to say to men on dates, especially if they are men who don’t seem to be treating you well or seem unreasonable, my eBook What To Say To Men On A Date can help you navigate tricky conversational waters, and in a way that best suits your voice.
You have worth. What you want in life matters. You deserve to be happy. Join the hundreds of women choosing to get what they want out of life and relationships here and on Facebook. Be your own Brand of Sexy!