Empowerment Begins with Self-Acceptance

With the UAE government recently announcing 2019 as “The Year of Tolerance”, a first step towards this is self-acceptance. Yet with social media platforms bombarding us with images of the perfect home, the ideal family, and that amazing life, often times, these messages create unreasonably high expectations which in turn, promote a negative self-image.

Self-Image

Our self-image is really how we see ourselves—our concepts, ideas, and perception of who we are and how we are, tells Clinical Psychologist Dr. Tara Wyne. Self-image is basically how we see ourselves. This would include describing words such as—pretty, smart, interesting, ugly, cute, caring, and so on. In fact, over time, an unhealthy self-image can lead to poor self-esteem, psychological issues with depression, eating disorders, and even tremendous insecurity in personal relationships.

For Living a Happy Life

Having and maintaining a healthy self-image is extremely vital to living a happy life, as what we think of ourselves impacts how we feel about ourselves and how we respond to the things in our lives. “As soon as you’re prepared to change negative associated beliefs and shift your mind-set about your perceived self-image, the faster you will start to enjoy life and live it at its best,” she says.

Factors that Impact Self-Image

Other factors that impact a positive self-image include experiences at school, being loved and valued by others, being realistic, and being aware of our strengths and accomplishments. On the flip side, factors which impact a negative self-image include failing at school, work, or in relationships, seeing failures in an over-generalized way and not taking the opportunity or learning from it, setting highly unrealistic standards, and/or negative comparisons with others.

Practical Advice

A healthy self-image starts with learning to accept and love ourselves, and it also means being accepted and loved by others. With a positive self-image, we own our assets and potentials while being realistic about our liabilities and limitations.

Ways to Develop a Healthy Self-image (BOX-OUT)

  1. Set realistic, measurable goals and confront distorted thinking patterns.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others and learn to be more tolerant of being imperfect as it is our acceptance of our imperfection that dictates self-image.
  3. Learn to love yourself and recognize your accomplishments.
  4. Don’t see failures as something negative, but instead, as something to learn from and improve upon.