Many women experience days in which low self-esteem or self-confidence becomes incredibly overwhelming. These days are commonly referred to, by women, as “blah days” or “fat days.” Traditionally, low self-esteem and poor body image has been viewed as strictly a female issue. However, recent studies have shown that men have a tendency to experience low self-esteem as well. Men usually express this dissatisfaction with their image in different ways than women do. While women often report having negative attitudes about their body, men frequently report a strong desire to improve the appearance of their bodies (Davison & McCabe, 2005). Men are more likely to express their motivation to build more muscle and tone their physiques. Women, on the other hand, primarily ruminate on their flaws. Some studies have showed that women are more likely to regard themselves as to heavy for their height, and often under report their actual weight. It is obvious that these types of feelings and lack of confidence can be psychologically harmful to a person’s health.
Experts in this field have spent countless hours outlining ways in which to improve one’s self-esteem. It is important to understand that self-esteem is a belief in one’s worth and value (Uncommon Knowledge, 2005). Research shows that everyone has insecurities. One step to alleviating the stress produced by these insecurities is to recognize them. The next necessary step is to consciously remember to not view ourselves as inferior to others. We need to focus on, and accentuate our strengths. This could be talents and achievements, or in the case of body image, it could be one aspect of our bodies that we are proud of. It is especially important for women to be able to accept compliments from others (WikiHow, 2009). Often women make excuses for compliments they receive. Compliments are not simply acts of kindness but they are pieces of positive criticism that should be taken to heart.
Women are often plagued by depression and other psychological stress due to poor body image and low self-esteem. Though it is true that men experience these same stressors, the psychological and social effects have not been sufficiently researched (Davison & McCabe, 2005). It is crucial for society to build itself up. The more we focus on our strengths, the more overshadowed our “flaws” will become. We need to learn to be comfortable in our own skin, and have confidence in who we are. It is unlikely that we will be able to completely eradicate our “blah days,” but perhaps we can make them more few and far between.
- Davison, T.E. & McCabe, M.P. (2005). Relationships between men’s and women’s body image and their psychological, social, and sexual functioning. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_78_52/ai_n13815572/
- Uncommon Knowledge. (2005). Definition: Self esteem. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from http://www.uncommonforum.com/glossary/self-esteem.html
- WikiHow. (2009). How to build self confidence. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from http://www.wikihow.com/Build-Self-Confidence