Women’s Body Image and Self Esteem by Anne Trap Shirley

“I definitely have body issues, but everybody does. When you come to the realization that everybody does that—even the people that I consider flawless—then you can start to live with the way you are.” — Taylor Swift

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Women tend to focus on their physical appearance to feel accepted and loved, which can affect self-worth and self-esteem. A positive self-image is important, but a healthy self esteem begins in your mind, not your reflection in the mirror.

Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected to having a good self-esteem. You feel confident, capable and respect yourself when you are comfortable with who you are and know that looks have nothing to do with your competency, abilities, and your ability to be loved.

How can you develop a healthier body image? Here are a few tips:

  • First realize you are not alone; everyone has body image issues at times.
  • Try to focus on your positive qualities and stop yourself when you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about your weight, shape, and appearance.
  • Eating healthy and exercising daily will help your mood
  • Keep good grooming habits and wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable and good about yourself.
  • Write notes to yourself of your positive qualities and put them in places in your home where you can readily read them.
  • Be around friends and family who love and accept you unconditionally
  • Stay attuned on how you speak about yourself to others.
  • Journal-Make a list of the positive qualities about yourself and read them daily. Some adjectives to list could be -strong, smart, loving, thoughtful, friendly, caring, wise, kind, adventurous, funny. What are some other adjectives about yourself?

If you find you are focusing on your appearance to the point where it is eroding your self- esteem and your quality of life, it is a good idea to seek help and advice with a trained counselor to help you gain the confidence you deserve.


Anne Trapp Shirley is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Clinical Supervisor in Orlando, Florida. She has 20 years of experience helping to encourage women by sending a message of hope that they can overcome life’s obstacles that get in the way of living their best life!