I'M STRUGGLING WITH BODY CONFIDENCE AND SELF-ESTEEM. WHAT CAN I DO?
Body confidence can be described as how positively you view your body. It’s about recognising that your personal value and sense of self is about more than just your physical appearance. Somebody with low body confidence is likely to be unhappy with how they look and spend a large amount of time and energy worrying about their appearance and feeling self-conscious. Body image describes our idea of how our body looks and how we think other people see us.
Self-esteem refers to more than just your appearance. It means the beliefs you have about yourself – your strengths, abilities, positive and negative things about yourself, and so on.
People with high self-esteem will generally have a positive view of themselves, will forgive themselves for making mistakes and not let setbacks have a long-term negative impact on how they view themselves. A person suffering from low self-esteem will often have negative beliefs about themselves. They might focus on what they think are their weaknesses and mistakes they’ve made and find it difficult to deal with failure or make new friends.
TOP TIPS FOR HELPING YOU WITH YOUR BODY CONFIDENCE & SELF-ESTEEM
Firstly, recognise that you’re not alone! Self-esteem and body confidence issues affect us all in one way or another in our lives. Self-esteem isn’t something that’s fixed in place – it varies and we all have some days where we feel on top of the world and some days where we don’t feel so great.
With the rise of social media, selfies and celebrity culture, it can often seem like society places a high value on appearance. But you are unique and your self is about more than just your selfie.
If you are ever made to feel bad about the way you look, remember that one size doesn’t fit all. There’s no change that you could make to your appearance which would make you ‘perfect’, because ‘perfection’ doesn’t exist. You have a unique combination of strengths, positive qualities, interests, characteristics and something positive to offer.
Focus on the things you like about yourself and remind yourself of those positive qualities every day. You could even write positive affirmations on a Post-It note and stick these somewhere you look every day, like your school planner or mirror. Your brain is very powerful and regularly reminding yourself of your positives will help train your brain to drown out negative thoughts.
Mental health charity Mind has these top tips to help you build your self-esteem, with lots more information available on each one on their website:
- Do activities that you enjoy
- Spend time with positive, supportive people
- Be helpful and considerate to others
- Try not to compare yourself to other people
- Try to do regular exercise, eat healthily and get enough sleep
- Be assertive, don’t let people treat you with a lack of respect
- Use self-help books and websites to develop helpful skills, like assertiveness or mindfulness
- Learn to challenge your negative beliefs
- Acknowledge your positive qualities and things you are good at
- Self-talk - get into the habit of thinking and saying positive things about yourself
SOME ADVICE FROM FAMILIAR FACES
HOW CAN I SUPPORT MY STUDENTS WITH BODY CONFIDENCE AND SELF ESTEEM ISSUES?
Our #MySenseofSelf resources have been developed to help you talk about these issues with students and are available from our website.
The resource aims to encourage pupils to open up a discussion with their peers. The lesson may be delivered as a 1/1.5 hour lesson or over a number of sessions and is divided into three specific topics:
- Examining the impact of social media
- Celebrating difference
- Boosting self-confidence
The PSHE Association’s Subject Specialist Karen Summers says;
“#MySenseOfSelf provides the opportunity to promote positive body image in a highly engaging and thought-provoking way, and would make an excellent contribution to a high quality PSHE programme.
This resource gives young people the opportunity to develop the attributes and behaviours that support self-esteem and recognise the value of diversity. It offers a rich variety of classroom activities which enable pupils to confront assumptions, employ strategies to support their own wellbeing and know how to foster an optimistic outlook so that they feel confident in recognising and challenging misconceptions about body image.
It supports the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ and ‘Relationships’ aspects of the PSHE Association Programme of Study for PSHE education and develops key skills and attributes such as critical-thinking, confidence and optimism.”
HOW CAN I SUPPORT MY CHILD WITH BODY CONFIDENCE AND SELF ESTEEM ISSUES?
There are lots of ways you can help your child develop their self-esteem:
- Offer them lots of love and support. Help them to identify their positive qualities and remind them of these on a regular basis
- Encourage them to take on new challenges and to try new things, and lead by example by embracing challenges yourself
- If they suffer setbacks or make mistakes remind them that it’s ok and all part of growing up
- Help them to find things that they are good at and encourage them to develop these skills
If you are worried about your child it is worth speaking to their school to make sure they are aware of any issues.
For more advice, visit the Young Minds website.
The UK’s leading charity supporting anyone affected by eating disorders or difficulties with food, weight and shape.
A campaign which explores people’s experiences of body confidence
A charity for people and families who are living with conditions, marks or scars that affect their appearance.