This lesson will be concentrating on maintaining a positive self-image. A major part of one’s health is the way that they see themselves and so we felt it necessary to dedicate a whole lesson on it. To begin the lesson we want you to make groups of six and brainstorm, with the paper that we’ve given you, and note down what you think self-image means, what influences it and what effects it can have.

“A person’s self-image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change, that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by others (height, weight, hair color, genderI.Q. score, etc.), but also items that have been learned by that person about himself or herself, either from personal experiences or by internalizing the judgments of others. A simple definition of a person’s self-image is their answer to the question “What do you believe people think about you?”.”

We are going to discuss two of the main influences on one’s self-image.

Media: Media is what we see every day and shows us what an “ideal woman” should appear to look like. Yet, what many people do not understand is that what the media portrays isn’t real. Magazines and film productions use models, which to begin with may have eating disorders, and photo shop them to appear to be something that they are not. Here is a video that is played to us at school and we believe perfectly sums up the idea that media distorts ones perception of beauty.

Friends: Our peers, as many of you know, play a huge role in our perception of ourselves due to their large influence. We are not trying to say that friends are what make or break how you see yourself, but they do make a difference. With your groups again, quickly discuss an instance in which a friend of yours (without mentioning their name) has either harmed or improved your self-image.

Another thing that can destroy ones self-image and confidence is bullying. Bullying is found in all schools in all places around the world. “Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” Can you think of different types of bullies and examples of bullying? Discuss that with them. Forms of bullying are: cyber bullying, exclusion, physical, verbal, gossiping/rumours and there countless others. It is extremely important that if you see someone being bullied or if you are the victim to stand up for yourself and talk to an adult about it. We also can’t stress enough the importance of being inclusive because kindness can go a long way in helping people’s self-image. There have been countless incidences where a teenager has been on the verge of committing suicide and the only thing that stopped them was when one person showed kindness and empathy towards them. We encourage you all to have a random act of kindness every day, even if it’s just complementing someone. This video just shows some of the kind things that you can do for other people.

Although there are some negative influences on our self-esteem we are able to take steps to have a better self-image. One of the things that we have found to improving one’s self-image is being able to recognize both your strengths and weaknesses. A person must be able to accept their weaknesses because no one is perfect and know how to work with them, but at the same time it is important for someone to take pride in their strengths and abilities.

Who wants to share one of their strength and weaknesses, leaders start off with examples

Another way to have a better self-image is to try and keep a positive mental attitude, meaning being optimistic and approaching everyday situations with an open mind. Having a positive mental attitude also means accepting challenges and trying to find solutions.

What are other ways to improve your self-image

  • Having positive people in your life
  • Encourage yourself
  • Focus on the positive
    • Be action oriented
    • If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it
    • Change what you don’t like and accept what you can’t change
  • Dealing with stress in a positive way
  • Withstanding negative influences and understanding what you see isn’t necessarily true/ real

If Barbie were a real person, she would be 6′ 0″, weigh 100 lbs., and wear a size 4. Her measurements would be 39″/21″/33″. Also, she would not be able to menstruate, hold up her back and neck, would have to crawl on all fours due to her legs and feet, and would have many medical problems.