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Are you forcing yourself to do exercise and eat foods you hate in order to please people you don’t like? Or maybe you’re avoiding doing things you love because you’re afraid people will comment on the way you look?
I think we’ve all been there.
For thousands and thousands of years, women have judged their body confidence by comparison. There have been some crazy trends over the years, skinny with no bum, small waist with a bigger bum, curvy all over, muscly and toned, and goodness knows what else! These body shapes come in and out of “fashion” over the years, and no matter which trend is in season, we women judge ourselves very harshly against these ‘ideal’ body types.
In a world where image comparison is at an all time high, it’s no wonder that women are struggling with body confidence. Not only do we see the women in our lives on a daily basis, but we also have access to women on social media from all over the world.
We are constantly bombarded with images of other women who looking perfectly put together, with flawless skin and a toned body. For those of us sitting at home in our trackies eating a pizza, it’s perfectly understandable that we might feel inferior or inadequate, and not at all confident in our body whilst looking at these perfectly curated images.
As someone on my own body confidence journey, I’ve got some tips to share with you about how to feel more confident in your body.
Step 1: Have a body
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have a body! WOOOOHOOOOO!!! How lucky are you?!
You have nailed the first step to body confidence. You ROCK!
In all seriousness, this actually is the first step. Realising that you have a body.
How lucky are you to have a body that enables you to do all of the wonderful things in life? Take some time to be grateful for your body in the here and now. Without your body, you wouldn’t be here!
Step 2: Move your body
For me, moving my body instantly makes me appreciate it more. And when you appreciate your body, you feel more confident in your own skin.
When I’m feeling a bit flat or blah, I like to do a short Pilates class from MerryBody. It’s amazing how much better I feel after getting my sweat on, even if it’s just a 12 minute Pilates class!
While you’re moving, I want you really think about what your body is doing for you. Look how you’re able to dance, jump up and down, hold a plank, do a handstand or whatever it might be. How LUCKY are you to be able to do that? There are SO many people in the world that would LOVE to be where you are and do what you can do.
Sometimes I think we get a bit too caught up in what our body looks like, instead of being grateful that we have an amazing body that can do all of these wonderful things for us. How incredible are our arms that can give hugs, or lift groceries in the car? How amazing are our legs that enable us to walk, run, jump, skip and dance?
When you see what your body can do for you, you should feel more confident strutting your stuff in your own skin.
Step 3: Compliment your body
How many times have you stood in front of a mirror and picked out all your flaws? Maybe you think your arms look like “bingo wings”, or you constantly obsess over your stomach that isn’t perfectly flat?
Let’s be honest, we have all been there.
I want you to go and stand in front of a mirror right now, and look at yourself. Take it all in, you beautiful thing!
Now, I want you to pick out three things that you love about your body. Maybe you have really pretty eyes, maybe you have a lovely hourglass figure, or maybe you have really delicate hands?
Once you’ve picked your three things, I want you to tell them how much you love them. REALLY mean it. Get creative!
Negative self-talk is one of the biggest barriers to body confidence. If you are consistently walking past a mirror and telling your body how much you hate it, how will you ever feel confident in your own skin?
I challenge you to give yourself at least one compliment every time you pass a mirror. It could be as simple as “my hair looks great today”, or “my booty looks really good in these pants”.
If you notice yourself drifting into negative self-talk, that is OK! It’s only normal after a lifetime of telling your body it isn’t good enough that the negative thoughts will come out. Just notice the thought as you have it, then set it aside and give yourself a compliment instead.
Although it can seem like a very small action, associating looking at your body in a mirror with positive thoughts and compliments goes a long way to helping you feel more confident. It helps to break the cycle of negative self-talk which is one of the biggest things holding you back from your most confident self.
Step 4: Unfollow people who make you feel less body confidence
One of the best ways to feel more body confidence is to remove the negativity in your social media. I want you to go get your phone right now, and flick through your Instagram feed.
As soon as you find a post that makes you feel like uninspired or inadequate, I want you to unfollow that person. Maybe it’s someone that always posts pictures in their underwear, or someone that constantly harps on about their green smoothies, or maybe it’s just someone that always has something negative to say.
Whatever it is that makes you feel down, or inferior, or any less than the amazing person you are, UNFOLLOW.
If it is a friend or someone that you don’t want them to know you’re unfollowing them, Instagram has this wonderful “mute” feature. This allows you to mute their stories and posts indefinitely. Use it.
The less negativity that you have in your feed, the better! You may even notice that the voices of the more positive people in your feed speak louder now that there’s less negativity.
Step 5: Surround yourself with people that lift you up
Just like how unfollowing people can be great for your confidence, the opposite is also true. Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel fantastic is AMAZING at improving your body confidence and self worth.
I’d like you to sit down and have a good think. Who are 3 people in your life that make you feel good? When you think about people in your life, who do you spend time with and wish you could spend more? Who makes you smile, laugh and not worry about the way you look?
Maybe it’s your Mum, your bestie, your partner, or even your favourite social media account.
Now, I’d like you to make a commitment to spend more time with these people. Maybe it’s a phone call or video chat at least once per week, interacting on social media, or catching up for a coffee (once we’re out of isolation that is!).
Whatever it is, you want more of these people in your life – so make it happen! I’m sure they will be super happy to hear from you.
Be kind to yourself – body confidence is a process
Obviously, improving your body confidence is not going to happen overnight. This is something you may have to work on for a very long time, and that is ok!
In the world we live in, it is really hard to stop comparing yourself to others, so don’t beat yourself up when you do. Instead, I’d encourage you to just try and notice when you are comparing, and question it.
Why am I comparing myself to this person? Do I usually feel insecure whenever I watch this person’s Instagram story?
When you notice these things, it is easier to take action to help increase your confidence, instead of falling down a rabbit hole of self doubt.
If you’d like to read more about body confidence, I’ve written more about my personal body confidence journey here on the blog.