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Self-Esteem Comes from Self-Awareness

There is, of course, more to it than just appearances. Attitude, a subject of an earlier Healthy Living article (HL11), goes hand-in-glove with self-esteem. Negatively criticising ourselves lowers self-esteem and as a consequence our attitude worsens. Problems outside of our personal bubble also bring us down and we become even more negative. Put this in perspective - look in the mirror: whatever happened at work could be making us appear and feel the way we do at that moment. The extra wrinkles are a result of the frown, plus the sneer doesn't help. Solution - forget the aggravations of the day. Think of something positive and happy as you look at your reflection; stand upright, shoulders back; imagine you are an actor rehearsing for an audition - a cheerful, devil-may-care role. Now, take a deep breath, relax and produce that endearing smile, the one you used to wear, the one you need to start wearing again. It still fits, probably better than ever now you are more mature. And remember: this doesn't come out of a bottle; it isn't an artificial make-over that takes hours to perfect: it's the real you waiting to appear the instant you let it. Always assuming that's what you want.

Surely, you do? Okay, your figure's less than perfect. If you're too skinny, you won't get fatter eating bird seed and lettuce. Get some real food into you; have a burger and fries once in a while. Those on the other side of the coin, which is most of us, need to trim down - not too quickly, though: the last thing we want is to quit two days in like we have in the past. Exercise is a must for everyone, but it has to be the right sort in consideration for current state of fitness and existing medical conditions. Above all, whatever we decide to do, it's not likely to work overnight and we definitely can't expect miracles. What should be experienced over time is an improvement in self-esteem. This will take a bit of a dive when we succumb to our former bad habits; but if the backslide is regarded as a temporary hiccup, no harm will be done. As for the measurable aspects, once again, results will probably be slow, perhaps not even noticeable at first. Just have faith, stick with the program you have set for yourself and try to be patient. Little by little you'll start feeling good about yourself.

Back to the mirror again. That's you in there, not the way you were, nor the way you will become. If you don't like what you see, be happy in the knowledge that you have something to work with; but be realistic. There is no fountain of youth, no elixir that will make you smarter, fitter, slimmer, fatter. Forget cosmetic surgery - it is potentially harmful and the image it creates won't be the real you, just an artificial reproduction of a picture you see in a catalogue. Any aspirations you may have thought lost are still achievable by the person inside you who just needs a bit of faith and encouragement. Look again: see a new you preparing to embark on a new future starting from now - no misgivings, no illusions, fully confident, ready to make it all happen. Then, before you turn away, smile at who you are, and mean it!

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