Our self-image is not always realistic, even though we’ve lived with ourselves for many years.
Most of the time we are too hard on ourselves. We only see the wrinkles and not the smile behind them! We ignore the neat ankles and see only the wider hips!
Whatever age we are, we can benefit from taking a fresh look at our image and by being as realistic about it as possible – in a positive as well as negative way.
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Start by standing naked in front of a mirror and examine your reflection as if for the very first time. Look at your front view and sideways on. Don’t pull in your tummy or clench your buttocks.
Don’t shut your eyes!
Look at the tone of your body, at your skin, muscles, hair and nails. Then
Now you can cover up again!
silhouettes by Moi Cody
Make a note of all your findings. List the good points first. You will find some! These are the parts of yourself you want to emphasise. Then decide which parts of yourself you can and want to change and which parts you must accept as they are.
Distinguish carefully between imperfections you can work on and those you must accept. No amount of dieting or exercise can change your basic body shape, but excess weight, bad posture or an unflattering hair-style have nothing to do with body type!
Examine the way you feel physically and mentally and the way you live your life. Make a note of all the assumptions you have about what you eat, the way you spend your time, how different activities make you feel and so on.
They try keeping an accurate, detailed diary for a few weeks. And no cheating! Nobody else will see it so the only person you’ll be cheating is yourself.
Then match your assumptions with the facts. Are you really living the life you want to lead? How many excuses have you been making to yourself? Perhaps you really do have time to do some exercise. Is your diet really as healthy as you thought? What causes you stress and what can you do about it?
Obviously this will take you longer than looking at yourself in the mirror but you should find that it is time well spent. The more information you have, the more accurate your new self-image will be.
Self-assessment is the first step in taking charge of your well-being. Once you have peeled away the myths and found a realistic self-image, you can set yourself realistic goals for improvement. The way you look, how you age, how you feel about life all depend on you.
Make sure your goals are realistic and worth attaining. Distinguish between the difficult to achieve, which may take time and trouble but which will be worth it in the end – and the impossible, over which you have no control.
You can aim to lose ten pounds in weight but it is impossible for you to add an inch to your height!
Once you have set your goals, start working towards them immediately. Stop making excuses and putting things off. Work hard for what you want and believe you are going to succeed.
Most of all, start enjoying everything you do. If the changes you bring about do not make you happy, go back to the beginning and have a re-think. The basis of confidence and self assurance in old age – or any age actually – is being who you are and believing in yourself.