Self Esteem Improvement
Six Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem: An "Inner" Beauty Workout for Women

by Shirley Pierce and Janet Behmer

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In a recent telephone poll, PEOPLE magazine asked women about how the svelte images of women in the media influenced their self-esteem. 80 percent said that they made them feel insecure. 93 percent have tried to lose weight. 34 percent said they would try a diet even if it could endanger their health.

To these women we give the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." Beauty truly is in the mind of the beholder when it comes to our sense of ourselves.

We all do it. We stress every time we look at a mirror, a movie or a magazine. We stress every time our mates catch that last glimpse of us at night as we race naked to the bed to turn out the light. Some women even refuse to go to the beach. It's not a fear of sharks. It's the swim suit.

Trillions of pages have been written dissecting and detailing what fashions women should wear. We're even known for writing a few of these fashion pages ourselves. But this time we'd like to focus on a woman's sense of herself and how she can face the world with a presence and enthusiasm all her own.

Thoughts are powerful things. You've heard of "power dressing". We'd like to introduce you to "power thinking". We want every woman to know that whoever you are, you are perfect before you put on a stitch of clothing. Whatever your shape, color or size, you are beautiful. If your doctor tells you you're healthy, that's all you need to know. Anyone or anything that tells you that you are not beautiful is wrong. When you truly like yourself, you know you have no flaws.

Are you a positive force in life? When you walk into a room, what kind of energy do you bring to it? If you're negative on the inside, nothing outside will cover it. A coat of paint can't turn a lemon into a Maserati. Think of the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz. Everyone loved her and sang her praises. You can almost guarantee that she was kind, caring, confident, intelligent, dependable and a lot more. Make a list of your positive attributes and nurture them. They will help you to stand straight and smile.

The Wicked Witch of the East was dark, warty and her only friends were a couple of flying monkeys and a broom. She was intolerant, arrogant, selfish, untrustworthy, self-centered, mean-spirited and stressed. And that was on a good day. If you have any of these characteristics or ones like them, kick them to the curb immediately. You'll look and feel better and you'll stop scaring small dogs and children.

Have your own private celebration of who you are. Your accomplishments, your dreams and your hard work are nothing to sneeze at. Admire the parts of your body you do like with the same energy that you "dis" the parts you don't like. And for the parts you don't like just remember where they came from -- your female ancestors. And imagine what they did with those features -- survived holocausts, worked on assembly lines, cleaned other women's houses -- to make you who you are. So, while you're celebrating yourself, celebrate your grandmother a little, too.

If it feels good, do it. Spoil yourself with any positive experience you can think of. Get a massage. Hit your favorite spa. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. Go to the video store and max out on films featuring your favorite movie star. Use your imagination. Learn to play an instrument. Just never forget these words, "This is for me."

Self-esteem is an individual thing. Your true Inner Beauty depends on who you are, where you come from and your experiences along the way. Were you the Prom Queen? The Ugly Duckling? Were you taught to enjoy life? To fear it? The number of things that can color a woman's sense of herself are numerous and has kept psychiatrists in luxury cars for centuries. It won't be easy but try to take control of all the old baggage, the thoughts, feelings and emotions that haunt you and keep you from seeing the beauty that you truly are.

We hope the above thoughts and reflections have taken you on a journey that has made you feel as wonderful as we know you are. Nelson Mandela said it best: "We ask ourselves, who are we to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are we not to be?"

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Copyright © 2001 Janet Behmer and Shirley Pierce
Janet Behmer and Shirley Pierce are authors of the book "Dress Me Now: How to Make Your Wardrobe Behave". It's fashion for real women with real bodies and it's changing the way women think about clothes and themselves.Check out their web site at