A breakup can have a devastating effect on your self-esteem, regardless of whether your partner left you or you initiated the split. Going from being part of a couple to facing life on your own isn't easy for most people. It is natural to feel that you're not desirable to the opposite sex. To feel beautiful again, start from the inside and work your way out.
Work from Within
How you perceive your outward appearance is directly linked to self-esteem. It's a vicious circle, writes Dr. Neel Burton, a psychiatrist, in the Psychology Today article, "Building Confidence and Self-Esteem." You don't feel attractive, so your self-esteem takes a blow. You have low self-esteem, so you don't feel attractive. Burton suggests boosting your self-esteem by making three lists. List your strengths, your achievements and your most admirable qualities. If you lack confidence, you may find this difficult, so ask a friend or relative to help. Store the lists in a private place and refer to them when you are feeling low.
Positive thinking is powerful. If you tell yourself regularly that you are a good, kind, interesting person who deserves to be happy and confident, over time, you start to believe it. Whenever a negative thought comes into your head, tell yourself that negativity is not healthy. Challenge your thinking, Burton suggests. For example, if you are trying on an outfit in a store changing room and find yourself thinking "My arms look fat in this," identify a positive, such as "This color really brings out my eyes."
Comparing yourself to others is pointless, warns John M. Grohol, a psychologist, in the Psych Central article "6 Tips to Improve Your Self-Esteem." There will always be somebody who is slimmer, younger, prettier, richer, more intelligent and more interesting than you. Remember, everybody has insecurities. Your friend may have long blond hair and a perfect figure you envy, but she may wish she had your sense of humor and successful career. What makes you beautiful is not what you see when you look in the mirror, but how you treat yourself and the people around you.
The Feel-Good Factor
Regular exercise will make you feel great, inside and out. Find an activity you enjoy -- dancing, running, swimming or tennis -- and make sufficient time for it. Not only will you become more toned, the endorphins ["feel-good" chemicals released in the brain during physical activity] will boost your mood. When feeling beautiful comes from the inside, it has a far greater effect on your overall self-worth.
The Finishing Touches
Spend time on the aspects of your appearance you have control over, such as your personal hygiene, dental care, hair care, skin care, style and posture. If you don't feel confident applying your makeup, treat yourself to a makeup lesson at the local department store. This will show you how to accentuate your best features. If you think your wardrobe needs a shake up, go on a shopping spree. Dress in a way that makes you feel beautiful.
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C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."
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