Stronger Self-Esteem: When You Don’t Look Your Best

Self-esteem comes from the inside, but sometimes what’s going happening
on the outside can shake your self -confidence. Therapist, Julie Hanks, has
tips to survive bad hair days and beyond.

1) Bad Hair Day

Sometimes even small appearance flaws can ruin your day! A big blemish on
your face, bad hair day, a skin rash can leave you feeling self-conscious.

Tip: “Unlink” self-esteem and appearance
While appearance often impacts how you feel about yourselves, it doesn’t
have to define you.

Tip: Remember that you are not your body
“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” C.S. Lewis quotes

2) After Baby Body

With every good change in life there are also accompanying losses. Body
changes are the price you agree to pay for carrying and delivering a baby.

Tip: Give yourself permission to grieve the losses
Your hips may never be the same size again, the stretch marks are here to
stay. Feel the sadness about the changes and then move forward.

Tip: Buy clothes that fit at current size
Don’t wait until you get your pre-baby body back to present your best self.
Treat your self as you would have before baby. Don’t wait until you hit a
magic size or number on the scale.

3) Signs Of Aging

As a society, we tend to value youthfulness, especially in women’s
appearance. While aging men are often though of as “distinguished”, aging
women are regarded as “less attractive”.

Tip: Reframe aging as evidence of experience and learning
Just as a painting’s looks changes depending on the frame around it, you can
put a more positive and beautiful frame around how your see your physical

I wrote a song about my own reframing of the aging experience called “God’s
Signature”. Here are a few lines that help me reframe my wrinkles:

These lines are signs of many lessons learned
Carved out through time
Smiles that warm and tears that burn
And unexpected turns
Time has been my friend it seems
So let him write on me
You can call me flawed
You can call it character
But I choose to call these changes God’s signature

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Tip: Focus on multidimensional person
You have many aspect that make you…you! Focus on developing and valuing
all of them…mental, social, spiritual, emotional, and physical.

4) Overweight

One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to lose weight and get
fit. When you don’t exercise as much as you’d planned or you overeat one
day what do you say to yourself? Are you kind and loving, or do you tell
yourself things like, “See, another year when you can’t lose weight” and say
belittling things to yourself?

Tip: Self-acceptance
Self-acceptance frees us to make changes. Women worry that if they accept
where they are they’ll stay the way they are, but the opposite is true.

Tip: Focus on improving health and self-care
No matter what your physical appearance, you can always take small steps to
take good care of yourself. I love the phrase “Life rewards action” because it’s
true. Even taking one small step to better your health is a good thing.

5) Social mistakes

How we look in the eyes of others in terms of our behavior is another aspect
that can impact self-esteem. Saying something dumb, being impatient with
your child, or things as simple as realizing you’ve been calling someone by
the same name.

Tip: Own it and move on
You’re self-esteem can remain in tact if your mistake, misstep, or error and
then quickly moving on instead of worrying about it.

Tip: “It’s none of my business what other’s think of me”
If you’re worried about what other’s might be thinking about your misstep it’s
crucial to remember that it’s not your business what others think about you.
You can’t control their thoughts. You’ll never really know what others think
about you anyway, unless they are willing to tell you directly.

Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW is a therapist, self & relationship expert, media
contributor and director of Wasatch Family Therapy. Visit
for individual, couple, family, &
counseling services designed to strengthen you and your family. We treat
mental health and relationship problems in children, adolescents, and adults.
Now open in Provo! For additional emotional health & relationship resources
connect with Julie at

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