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3 self-esteem tips for men

Men can have self-esteem issues, too. Here are three tips to help you achieve a healthier body image

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handsome man self-esteem

Pressure to be perfect

Check out the muscular physiques, chiselled abs and strong jawlines on the covers of men’s health magazines, on the actors in the Twilight movies, or in the sexy fragrance ads with quarterback Tom Brady in all his cleft-chinned glory. Today, it’s not just women who feel pressure to live up to Hollywood standards of what’s attractive.

“Society sets up standards for what a ‘real man’ is,” says Michael Kaufman, a Toronto-based author and speaker who specializes in gender issues. “And now those standards have been supersized.” When men don’t measure up to the ideal-complete with washboard abs and a full head of hair-they may become insecure about how they look.

Here are three ways to cope with those negative body issues and boost your self-esteem.

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muscle man

Don’t obsess over your muscles

A 2007 Australian study of 104 men found that not all wanted the same look-some craved more muscle while others wanted to be thinner-but both groups had low self-esteem. Those wanting to be more pumped also felt insecure sexually, and the authors theorize that they saw themselves as less manly. Are you obsessed with pumping iron? Try talking with your partner about your expectations, and your sex life, to open up communication.

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self-esteem men media

Don’t let media get you down

Three studies from the University of Missouri and the University of California, published in 2009, charted men’s reactions to male magazines, including Maxim. Looking at hot girls in the magazines-as compared to buff guys-actually led to more anxiety about how they themselves looked, more desire to exercise for appearance’s sake and less confidence romantically. Evaluate the magazines, movies and TV shows you’re viewing to see if you feel more anxiety than pleasure from viewing them.

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laughing couple

Focus on the positive

Women aren’t the only ones who obsess over their bodies. A 2008 Australian study surveyed 200 men and found 83 percent wanted to be more muscular, 68 percent would like a larger penis, 50 percent wanted to be thinner and 48 percent would like to be taller. Plus, men wanted less body hair and more head hair. Instead of dwelling on things you want to change, tell your partner specific things that you like about yourself-focusing on your best traits and being positive is an instant confidence boost!

Related:
5 steps to positive thinking
How to boost your self-esteem
Self-check: Are you an optimist?