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How to Avoid Treating Yourself as an Object – and Why This Is So Important

Do you objectify yourself? Most people would automatically say no. Nevertheless, treating yourself as an object instead of a person is easy to do if you’re not paying attention. If you treat yourself as an object, you live your life with the idea that something about your physical appearance is your means of obtaining something or achieving a goal. For example, you are attractive, and this is your means of maintaining a romantic relationship. The problem with self-objectification is if you fail to achieve, this can lead to self-loathing, shame, and self-deprecation. So, how do you avoid treating yourself as an object? Below are five good tips. 

1. Recognize your worth beyond what you look like

If you are only ever acknowledging the value of your physical appearance, it is easy to forget to appreciate everything else you bring to the table. Think about the skills you carry and why people should value you. Maybe you’re highly compassionate, a hard worker, or goal-oriented and driven to achieve. These things will still exist no matter your outward appearance. 

2. Respect yourself as a complex human being 

Humans are complicated in every respect. We have emotions, joys, frustrations, nuances, and unique personalities. When you objectify yourself, the complexities that make you human often get viewed as inconveniences. Maybe you don’t usually show emotion for fear it makes you less attractive, or, perhaps you’re hesitant about getting silly because you think it makes you look less distinguished. The more you can allow yourself to be authentic in your own skin without fear of changing physical perceptions, the better off you will be. 

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3. Refuse to let others treat you as an object 

If others are treating you as only a means to an end, or an object that delivers only what they want, you can slip into the role of the same mindset. For example, if someone only wants to hang out with you because you are attractive, this is pure objectification. Remove people from your life that only look at you as someone who can do something or be something that benefits them. 

4. Dial down on the self-criticism 

We are all our own worst critics. If you are treating yourself as an object, you are likely criticizing yourself over things that you truly can’t control. For instance, if you gain a few pounds and can’t wear your fave jeans, you can be really hard on yourself to a point that you feel a lot of shame and guilt. When you recognize the link between objectification and self-criticism, you may be able to dial back negative self-talk that you truly don’t deserve. 

5. Allow yourself to feel unattractive 

Some people spend so much time and energy keeping up appearances that being in any other state feels uncomfortable. Do what you can to change this tendency. Try running errands without full makeup or visiting a friend in your gym clothes instead of a suit and tie. Gaining a bit of comfort in your own skin without physical enhancement can help you find appreciation for who you are instead of what you look like. You will start to see that people can treat you well even when your outward look is not where you think it should be.