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how can I learn to love myself?

By May 12, 2010 - 6:43am
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hi all,i am a 17 yo female and I finding it hard to love and accept myself.i have self-esteem issues mainly about my weight (i'm 5'7 and 198 lbs although the relevance of that I'm not sure)I'm losing weight maybe not for the right reasons but I'm doing it and I know it's unrealistic to think my confidence issues will disolve once I do get down to my goal but I don't know of any other way to be happy with myself.i constantly compare myself to other girls and wish to be/look like them...my question is how can I learn to love myself and not aspire to be like others?

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Hi T-F

These are questions that nearly every person alive has struggled with. How can I feel better about myself? How can I be emotionally healthy and solid?

There is no perfect answer, but I can offer a few tips. Let's start with the weight. You are a bit overweight, unless you are a body builder. But that doesn't mean you aren't fantastic. Obviously the weight is bothering you or you wouldn't have mentioned it. Do you exercise? Exercising has been shown in studies to help lift depression. It also makes you feel better about yourself, and not just because of how you look, but because of what you accomplish. If you walk several miles today, you will feel very happy with yourself because you did it. It's simple, but it's true. Exercise for your physical and emotional health. It can be as simple as walking every day. Don't do any shady dieting stuff, because that will not make you feel good. Just eat healthy and exercise.

Generally, one way to feel good about yourself is to accomplish things, and to do good. Do you work? Do the best job you can do. Be nice to customers, go the extra mile. If you mop floors, get them shiny. If you serve burgers, be super fast and always pleasant. The reactions you get from bosses and customers will make you feel good about yourself when you do a good job. So will saying to yourself, "I'm the best ____ there is!"

Maybe you can volunteer at a hospital, food bank, nursing home, senior center? Helping others will make you feel good about yourself. You will be reminded that you are a good person when you make your little corner of the world a better place.

Self-esteem is a tricky issue. We are handed a certain amount of self-confidence or lack of self-confidence as kids and teens by the situation we are raised in and live in. You can't always change that. But what you can do is work every day to be the best person you can be. Believe me, it helps. You will know you are contributing, and you will feel good about it. Every tiny accomplishment sends out ripples that affect others. You will feel it come back to you.

If you feel troubled and can go to counseling, that is a great option. It can help you get your feet back under you and headed on a path to feeling better about yourself and everything else. But as far as self-help and self-love, when you know you are a good person, when you face challenges head on and get past them (like the exercise), those accomplishments make you feel better about yourself. We have a page about this as well: https://www.empowher.com/mood-disorders/content/3-ways-increase-self-esteem-and-self-confidence

You are worth it. Start today.

May 13, 2010 - 6:39am
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