Building a positive body image

All too often we focus on the things we don’t like about our appearance – the tummy which could be flatter, the nose which could be smaller or the upper arms which could be more toned.

Most of us are prone to be negative rather than positive about the way we look. Even when other people pay us compliments, we often brush them aside or worse, go on to list the reasons why their compliment must be unfounded.  Given that we all know that nobody is perfect, why do we generally respond in this way?

Why compliments are difficult to accept

According to an article in Women’s Health magazine, we’re conditioned to brush aside compliments simply because we hear other people doing it.  Because we want to be accepted and liked, we mimic the behaviour of other people, including the way they respond to compliments.  In addition, it’s thought that our ‘inner chatterbox’ is more prone to be negative than positive and will take every opportunity to remind us of exactly how imperfect we really are.

How to accept a compliment

It’s worth taking note of how you respond to your next compliment and learning to accept kind words in a gracious manner.

Writing in the Huffington Post, etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore says a humble ‘thank you’ should be used.  “When you receive a compliment, say something like, “Thank you, I appreciate your kind words.”

She also says you should not try to ‘one-up’ the compliment by passing a stronger compliment to the person who has complimented you. “Simply embrace the moment and show your gratitude.”

Jacqueline also says to be mindful of non-verbal cues.  When receiving a compliment, use lean slightly forward and smile when you receive someone’s praise, otherwise they may feel you are disinterested or lofty.

The importance of positive self-talk

When you’re next in front of the mirror, try to take note of the thoughts that go through your head.  What is the balance between positive and negative?  Are you looking for the good points or are you being over critical?

Of course, if you find that you remain unhappy about an aspect of your appearance, cosmetic surgery is one of the options you may consider.  When you attend our clinic we will talk to you in detail to understand how you feel about the way you look and give you a clear assessment of the results that can be achieved.

In the meantime, while there’s always room for improvement, perhaps it’s time to be a littler kinder to ourselves.  A positive body image is important to self-esteem and self-confidence which, in turn, can help you live life the way you want to.  It’s not about trying to convince yourself that you are perfect, it’s about seeing the good in the way you look.

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