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I have to admit that I have often looked down upon myself. I have used words against myself like “fat” or “ugly.” I truly felt this way. Then I lost weight. I thought that this would somehow be a cure-all and would make me feel amazing about myself. Turns out, it wasn’t. I still talked to myself in the same tone. I still saw myself as fat and ugly. Clearly, something was not working. I talked to my friend Bernie, someone who also struggles with her body image, and she was able to help me see myself through a much more positive lens. 

One of the most important things Bernie taught me was positive affirmations. With these affirmations, I would tell myself things like “I am strong. I am worth love. I have value.” It might seem like such a basic idea, but these affirmations really work. 

Another important way to work on improving my body image was also shared with me by my friend Bernie. Personally, I find this to be the most helpful. I try to replace any negative thing I could think about myself with something positive. If I fail a test, instead of calling myself a “failure” or a “loser,” I will assure myself that it is okay and that I will improve next time. The great thing about this is that, over time, it will just become natural. This has made me a much more positive person when I look at myself in the mirror.  

With these affirmations, I feel like I have truly pulled a 180. I see myself in a more positive light than I did before. I even use these affirmations with my friends. My friend Anya often gets upset at herself. I have a paragraph typed out that is an inside joke but is a positive affirmation. Any time I see that she is talking down to herself, I send it to her. Even when she is really upset at herself, this almost always makes her feel better. This is honestly such a simple and effective method in practicing positive self-talk. All it takes is typing a paragraph in your phone that talks about your self-worth and why you are a great person. Any time you feel down, reading this paragraph can make you feel much better. 

It is important to remember that, while these examples worked for my friends and I, they may not necessarily work for you. However, I do recommend trying them. If they do not work, it is always great to reach out to a friend or trusted person to talk to about how you feel. Sometimes, talking to someone you trust is key to improving your mood. 

Remember that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you are struggling with your mental health, consider taking some of my advice from above, and more importantly, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. A better day will come.