How to Deal with Negative Self Image at University

While studying at university from time to time you may experience negative self-image, and in most cases it’s inevitable. And that is because, from time to time, regardless of who you are you will have a negative thought or opinion on yourself, along the lines of: “I wish I was smarter/prettier/popular/as good as *insert name here*/taller”, etc. And sometimes, the things you don’t like about yourself cannot be changed and shouldn’t in some respects. That’s why today’s post is all about self-love and healthy improvement of oneself, as everyone has felt this way before at some point. 

The first thing you must tackle when dealing with negative self-image is understanding what you can and can’t change about yourself. For example, if you feel bad as you wish you knew as much French as your friends do as you’re all going to France next year, then you can always download some language apps, watch some YouTube videos on it, and/or ask your friends to teach you. However, if you feel negative about yourself because you’re shorter than all the accounts you follow on Instagram, that’s something that you can’t really change, as regardless if you wear heels or platforms all the time, that doesn’t change your actual height, so you should just embrace that side of you that you don’t like, as it’s part of you.

After you’ve noted down all the negative things you can change you need to challenge them. This doesn’t mean changing everything, but for example, if you think that you’re dumb, you can remind yourself that you were smart enough to get accepted into university, which is a massive achievement which contradicts those preconceived notions you once had.

Following on from this you should then notice all your positive attributes, for example, if you volunteer it shows you’re caring and have a good heart, which you can focus your attention on, instead of thinking negatively. You can recognise what you’re good at, whether that is dancing, cooking, or being a good friend, this will boost your mood and cheer you up as you can partake in all the things you’re good at. 

Once you do that, you can start to deal with negative thoughts that come your way, for example, if you didn’t do as well on an essay as you wanted to, think about how you can improve and what you could’ve changed, did you give yourself enough time? Did you proofread? Did you understand the question correctly? By doing this you are being critical in a healthy way and from there you can arrange a meeting with your tutor to go through how to improve or ask friends what they did. 

Other super helpful tips on this topic include:

  • If you panic over negative self-image, remember to breathe and be calm when dealing with situations regarding this topic.
  • Choose modules that go to your strong points/interests where possible, e.g. Picking to do a dissertation or not, picking a writing module over practical, etc
  • Build positive relationships, people who will help boost you up, instead of dragging you down.
  • Be kind to yourself, as you are your biggest critic.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others as everyone is different.
  • Give yourself a challenge, use that time wasted feeling bad and put it towards healthy self-improvement.
  • Set yourself goals, whether that is daily goals, or yearly goals, whichever works best for you.

    And finally, understand that there is no need to compare, as everyone is a bit lost right now and are all striving for different goals. Some people live with their parents, some don’t, some people went straight from sixth form to uni, some people worked for 6 years then applied, some people will have entirely different financial situations, and some will not have to worry about finances as much, some people want to lose weight, some people want to gain, some people are only children, and others have huge families. Everyone is different there is nothing to compare, we’ve all had different experiences in life which make us different people so really, there is nothing to compare.

    Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it useful, and I hope you take something positive from this post which will help you in the long run. I hope you have an amazing week. Until next time!

    Film/Show of the day: Lilo and Stitch (2002)


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