Recently as I've been working with clients, I've noticed there have been plenty of guys who have struggled with more than just their external image.
It seems that more and more, guys are struggling with their own negative self-image as well as their external image. I've gone through this as well from time to time. I'm sure most men have.
Now, I'm a firm believer that upgrading your external image aids in improving your own internal image. When you feel good about the way you look, it resonates through you. You hold your head a little higher and you're in a better mood.
But when you look at improving your external image, you should also take some time to think about your internal world. If you've ever dealt with feelings of inadequacy, low-self worth, or low confidence levels, this post is for you.
I've brought in my good friend Timothy Wenger from The Man Effect to help explain how you can improve your image, both internally and externally.
Having an exceptional style, a nice car, and good paying job will not alleviate or solve one's negative self-image. This might seem like a bold statement I know, but it is the truth.
It might help to look at it like this. If a man wanted to become a pro boxer, but all he did was work out, bought the outfit, and watched the Rocky films, he would never learn tangible fighting skills. Sure he could potentially look tough, and most wouldn't mess with him, but a real boxer would destroy him. The second he got into the ring he would not be able to compete.
It is evident to us that he isn't a real fighter because he hasn't taken the appropriate steps to learn and develop himself into a proper fighter.
Confidence comes from within, and self-perception comes from either lies or truths you believe about yourself. So, if you hate yourself, have a negative self-image, or just lack confidence, chances are there are lies or negative stories in your head that you believe about yourself.
So how do you go about changing them? I am going to give you three tips that have helped me transform my life.
#1 The self-check.
Have you ever been working hard or playing a game so intently that you did not notice an injury you had until you took a moment to grab a drink or you got home? I believe negative self-image is the same.
I often find that most men if they take a moment to slow down and ask themselves why they are beating themselves up or holding themselves back, instantly they know the lies they believe or immediately remember a memory that screams at them that they are a failure.
So what I encourage you to do is sit down, turn on some good music, get away from distractions, and do a self-check. Ask yourself what it is you believe and how is it holding you back.
Merely observing yourself can be the catalyst for much change in your life.
Think about it like this; if you were never aware of the massive cut on your leg that was bleeding you out, you would not know you need to go to a doctor.
This is the same; you will be surprised what you will find out about yourself if you just take a moment to slow down and ask yourself what is wrong.
#2 Developing affirmations.
Now, if you are anything like me you might want to skip this step or think it's not worth your time. Here is the thing though, affirmations will change your life. Literally, if you take this and practice it the neurological pathways in your brain will change if you keep up with them.
So how do you develop an affirmation? In my opinion, it is most straightforward to do after you have accomplished a self-check and identified all the negative things you believe about yourself. I will list a few examples of lies I believed about myself.
- I am not a lovable guy.
- My introvertedness is a bad trait.
- I will never amount to anything.
- My dreams are stupid, and they are not worth fighting for.
So after I took the time to identify these, I then wrote the opposite of them. Here are some examples.
- I am accepted and loved by many, and I am worth people time.
- I am a powerful man, whether I am quiet or loud does not matter, who I am is acceptable and good.
- I have what it takes to fulfill what I desire, I embrace the process, and enjoy it.
- My dreams, ambitions, and desires are worth a glorious fight, and I will risk everything possible and necessary to take action.
After identifying the lies and then writing the opposite in affirmation form, I then read them out loud at least once a day until I believe them or no longer believe the lie. The amount of time it takes to change how you perceive yourself solely depends upon the individual.
The last tip is only helpful if you have done the first two.
Once you have done the first two, it's important to remember that new lies will pop up all the time that hold you back and create a negative self-image.So what you need to do is just rinse and repeat the first two tips.
I have found myself mid-stride taking action based out of fear, realized it, went home, wrote an affirmation, and changed what I believed about myself in the next couple weeks.
That is the whole point of this. To empower you to keep moving forward in life, and develop a healthy self-image.
I hope you take the time to practice these steps. It takes action to transform your life. So, go and do this as soon as you get a chance and report back the results. If you feel stuck and want some outside help pushing through and overcoming your negative self-image feel free to reach out.
Timothy Wenger is the founder of The Man Effect and self-proclaimed explorer of masculinity. He is passionate about creating content that encourages men and he hopes to bring other men with him on this journey. He has taken hundreds of portraits of men on his Instagram page (@themaneffect). Learn more about Tim at TheManEffect.com