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Hi all, I'm looking for some advice on how to improve my self-confidence.

 

I went through a break-up last year that utterly devastated me but as i look back now on the relationship, although i love my ex-boyfriend and miss him terribly, i can see that he has drained my confidence in the years we spent together.

 

He has a lot of female friends and i made myself very miserable thinking that they were better than me - jealousy became a huge issue for me and i began to despise myself. I would buy clothes like his girl friends and try to be like them, anything to get the attention i so craved from him - i have totally forgotten who i actually want to be as i am so obsessed with one of his female friends.....this is a situation i feel it is imperative i sort out.

 

We eventually split up after he cheated on me which compounded how low i feel about myself. It has been a year now and i still feel so sad and worthless. Please can anyone give me any tips on how to improve the way you view and think about yourself.

 

I despise the way i look, i cringe at things i say, i obsess about girls i think are better than me - thinner, prettier etc....this self-loathing is so destructive....im 22 and i really need to grow out of this self-pitying and shallow frame of mind.

 

I've been travelling this year, done voluntary work in Nepal, am learning a new language and going to the gym, spending time with old friends etc

I feel ive tried hard but none of the usual things seem to have made much difference so if anyone has any other ideas please let me know....

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Well you seem to be doing a lot of good things for yourself though ... such as all of the traveling, volunteering, etc. Keep that up definitely.

 

I have the same problem. I compare myself to other people entirely too much and it makes me miserable every time I look at other peoples' lives. It makes me realize how boring and dry my life is.

 

But you have to quit that. Or else it only gets worse. My rule of thumb these days now is that I only value a comparison if that person has been through the same kind of experiences I have had. Such as, for example, having such strong social anxiety. If they have not experienced it, how can I even compare myself to them? Hopefully, over time you will come to learn to limit your comparisons or even get rid of them altogether.

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FIRST off, you are YOU and you're beautiful.

 

A few months ago I was at the swim club, kind of annoyed b/c some school had swapped in training and was filling up lanes normally free. Between sets, I overheard the school swim trainer (who'd gotten my attention b/c he had my alma mater's name blazoned on the lycra covering his buttocks) correcting a kid who'd just compared two other swimmers.

 

"In swimming, it isn't about the other guy. You only get better by competing with yourself. If you look at anyone else, that will distract you to things that aren't relevant for you. Improve your own technique, work on your own time. That's your only chance of winning any competition."

 

Easier said than done, but it was healing for me to hear that.

 

Looks-wise ... check out "When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies." It might have something you can use.

 

AND see what small things you can adjust that make you feel better. I still cringe at myself more than I should, and self-loathing, argh, not free from that either. BUT lookswise I know there are a few things that make glances in the mirror less frightening. If you can figure out what that is for you, it's worth the investment. Words-wise, I've benefited from rhetoric courses, books on conversation skills, and negotiation workshops.

 

I'll be interested to see what you get for other suggestions, since I really need to spruce up in this area myself.

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You are attaching yourself to too many things. And guess what, the things that you're attached to, they're pretty much useless in the grand scheme of everyday Life. Who cares if someone's prettier than you or if they're uglier. Do people REALLY care? Being attractive isn't just about being beautiful, you have to be real to yourself.

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You sound like you are already on track with the traveling, volunteering, and working out. That's a great start. The best advice I can give you is to take every single opportunity you can to do something new. When I have lacked confidence in my life it's been because I was scared to do something that was unfamiliar to me. If you learn everything that is possible to learn, and go all the places you can, meet as many people as you can, you will not be afraid of anything.

 

This will also help you to recover from any damage caused by your former relationship. The best revenge is a life well-lived, and all that this guy should ever hear about you is a description of all the fantastic adventures you are going on.

 

Finally, forget all that garbage that society and the mainstream media and anyone else puts forth as to what or who is beautiful. It means nothing. I am in my early thirties, so I can safely tell you that what really matters is being one hundred percent present in your life. Having passions and being good at things that matter to you, real skills that make you genuinely happy, are the important things. If I were twenty-two again I would use my time so much more productively than I did. But, I also remember what it was like to be twenty-two, and can totally relate to what you are saying.

 

Now is the time for you to be as selfish as possible. Forget those other girls and the ex and everyone else. Focus on yourself, what you like about yourself, what you would like to change.

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