Author: Devon Smolca
Images of beautiful women and handsome men with perfect, fit figures are hard to avoid in today’s society. These heavily edited photographs are not true representations of how most of us appear in real life, and are quite frankly entirely unrealistic. The media bombards consumers with an ideal image, and we fall under the spell, believing that if we buy the right products, eat the perfect diet, or dress in the current fashion trends, then we’ll be the perfect, happy people we see on TV or in magazines. This is what we call the “happiness trap.” It’s important to recognize that there is a well of happiness that exists within each one of us, which can’t be filled by anything outside of ourselves.
Here are three strategies to use when you’re projecting an ideal image onto yourself, to turn your attention towards embracing your real self instead:
1. Catch and release
Whether it’s in a checkout line at the grocery store or while watching a favorite show, sooner or later you’ll be presented with an unrealistic image or person that makes you question your own beauty or self-worth because you compare yourself to someone else. The first step is observing and catching yourself in those moments. Once you start to notice the patterns of comparison and self-criticism, you can begin to change those behaviors. As you become more aware of your thought patterns, you can work on releasing them and letting them go. If you keep in mind that placing unrealistic expectations on yourself is harmful for your wellbeing, it can be easier to let go. Releasing these thoughts isn’t easy, so say “not today” and take it one day at a time.
2. Look for the good
When you compare yourself to others, you will typically over exaggerate their positive qualities and diminish your own. Sure, that other person might have qualities that make them sparkle, but you also have different qualities that make you shine! When you find yourself falling into the comparison trap, make an effort to identify the qualities that make you who you are. Sometimes it helps to keep a running list of all the outer and (more importantly) inner qualities that make you truly unique to refer to when you get caught in the web of self-doubt. If you’re having trouble identifying your positive qualities, consider asking a family member or friend to reflect some of your positive traits to you.
3. Celebrate your journey
You’re on a journey to become your healthiest self — body, mind, and spirit. In this process, doing your best is all you can ever do. Celebrate the actions (big and small) that you’re taking each day to make positive changes, rather than waiting to celebrate the outcomes of your actions. Every step is progress and you’re doing great!
If you’re looking to embrace all of you, sign up for your 14-day Noom trial today!