Self-Esteem For Dummies
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Having a poor body image compels you to go to drastic lengths to make changes. You may try radical diets, starve yourself, exercise several hours a day at the gym, or have cosmetic surgery. But ultimately, these don’t seem to work very well, especially if they’re not accompanied by changing your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs at the same time.

And dieting away those extra pounds and having a facelift aren’t a guarantee that your self-esteem will increase. Although others may see you differently, you may not see yourself as being more valuable.

Plastic surgery has been used by many people for the wrong reasons. It can help you feel better about your body, but only if your motivations are healthy. If you have the surgery out of a desire for self-improvement and enjoyment of your body, that’s one thing.

But if it’s out of fear, a desire to be approved by others, or pressure from someone in your life, that’s not healthy. Understanding that you are worthwhile whether you have the surgery or not is crucial. In fact, you’re valuable just the way you are.

Other behaviors that commonly accompany a poor body image are inadequate grooming and hiding parts of the body. Interestingly, not looking in the mirror or at store windows to avoid looking at the body and doing the opposite — frequently checking one’s appearance in the mirror and over-grooming — are all activities that belie an attitude of poor body image.

With a healthy body image, you accept yourself as you are and are comfortable and happy with the way you look. You may want to improve, but you do so with an attitude of liking yourself first. Your lifestyle revolves around nourishing eating habits, healthy exercise habits, and positive self-talk that helps you set focused and beneficial goals.

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S. Renee Smith is a renowned self-esteem and branding expert, speaker, author, and resource to the media. Her expertise in personal and professional development and ability to inspire others to make positive, permanent changes has made her a sought-after consultant and speaker to Fortune 500 corporations, universities, government and nonprofit agencies, and churches. Vivian Harte has taught assertiveness skills online to over 10,000 students worldwide. She has 14 years of experience teaching in the classroom at Pima Community College and the University of Phoenix. She also hosted her own radio and television shows for many years in Colorado Springs, Minneapolis, and Tucson.

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