Body confidence means something a little different to everyone. For some it means feeling good about wearing a tight dress, for some, it means going for a swim at the pool without hesitation, for some it means not caring what others think about how they look, and for some (like me) it simply means being able to look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘I feel ok about my body’.
Body confidence is very important particularly regarding general and mental health. Low body confidence is a serious issue which has been linked to depression, obesity, low aspirations and eating disorders.
Currently there is an on going movement of body positive campaigns etc. Body confidence ambassadors such as Leyah Shanks and Whitney Thor (TLC show ‘Whitney: Fat Girl Dancing) are spreading the message through social media that ‘it’s ok to love yourself’ despite what society has lead us to believe until now. It doesn’t matter if you are skinny or fat, tall or small, black or white, mobile or paralyzed, eight or eighty, male, female or otherwise; Everyone has to right to feel good about their body!
How can I become more confident with my body?
Be your own best friend
Speak to yourself as you would a friend. Imagine your friend was feeling insecure about themselves and how they look. You’d remind them of their many good points. Maybe changing the language you use to speak to yourself can make a dramatic difference to your thought processes and even your brain chemistry.
Go all out
To build body confidence, a good place to start is to stop thinking about it as body confidence. Think of it as general and total confidence. It’s important not to let your self-worth be dictated by how you feel about your body. Broadening your horizons with a new hobby, skill, travel or embracing something you’re passionate about, will help you build on values beyond the physical.
Find yourself thinking negative thoughts about your body? Me too! When these thoughts take over it really affect an individuals mode. When negative thoughts start creeping in fight back with positive ones. For every one negative thought think of 3 positive ones. Eventually the negative thoughts don’t have as much fun teasing you.
Try an alter ego
Beyonce has an alter ego – Sasha – who performs for her. See, even BEYONCE has insecurities. So, if you feel self-conscious about standing up to do a presentation, shaking your stuff on the dance floor, or talking to that guy/girl who gives you butterflies, channel your alter ego who’s totally confident in his/her/their own skin. Practise something enough and it will become a natural habit.
Work with your body – not against it
You and your body are in it together, so it really does help if you’re on the same side. Sometimes, we don’t give our bodies enough credit – they really are capable of amazing things, and they work hard for us. Nurturing that connection teaches you to respect your body and, in effect, respect yourself as a whole too. You don’t need to live a ‘perfect’ life but doing regular exercise, eating well, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep and making time to relax, will boost your body and mind.
To be honest, I cannot truly say that I love my body 100% or myself as a whole just yet. However, I try to work on my self-perception every day. Is it easy? No. But the self love journey is a much more rewarding one than the self loathing journey which never brought any joy for me and certainly won’t for you either!
For more information visit SpunOut.ie’s article on body image.