Body confidence is a loaded topic. As women we are constantly being told what to wear, how to look, how to act, and ultimately, what beauty is.
Unfortunately though, every single person has a different opinion of what makes beauty, so it becomes tricky for anyone to try and embody a common standard.
Sure, the media will have trends, models of the moment who are usually waifish, and slender with impossibly clear skin and so-called perfect proportions. But we also have social media showing us gorgeous fashionistas of all sizes who have endless wardrobes to style every current trend. We also have cultural beauty standards, what our parents think, what our partners say and what that guy on tinder has in his profile as his “ideal woman”.
Trying to navigate this world of complicated and convoluted beauty standards is an impossible task, so it’s no wonder that we’re often wondering how to gain body confidence in this world full of contrasting opinions.
WHAT IS BODY CONFIDENCE
Ah body confidence, the elusive thing we all seek. What is it? The answer is simple really.
Body confidence is being comfortable in your own skin. It’s presenting yourself in a way that makes you feel good, which is authentic to who you are as an individual. It’s also about balancing that with a willingness to show who you are to the world.
I’m probably more confident in my body now than I ever have been and it has nothing to do with my weight, nothing to do with wearing current trends or dressing for anyone else other than myself. It also has nothing to do with what anyone else says is beautiful, or how anyone else thinks a woman of my age / size / status / occupation etc. should dress.
It does have everything to do with only wearing clothes I feel comfortable and confident in, doing my makeup because it makes me feel good, wearing my hair in a way that makes me happy and showing the world who I am.
HOW DO I IMPROVE MY BODY CONFIDENCE
Improving your body confidence can be a long, difficult road for some people, depending on past experiences. My advice is to start simple and with the things you can control.
What feels good?
Ask yourself what feels good when you wear it. It might be all about textures for you, it might be a style, a cut, a colour or a fabric. Whatever it is, wear it and embrace it without judgment or worry about what others may say.
When my daughter Elodie asks me if I’m going out, I often tell her I need to put my face on first, to which she jokingly tells me that I already have a face. We always laugh, but the simple fact is that I like wearing makeup and I tell her so. I don’t mind if people see me without it, but it gives me a certain extra boost of confidence and it feels good to have it on. I certainly don’t need it, but if it makes me feel great then why not.
I recommend going through your wardrobe. Take note of the things that make you feel GREAT and pull out everything else. If you have anything in there which makes you feel less than your most confident and comfortable self, then get rid of it. If it knocks you down a peg, if it doesn’t sit right, it you don’t like the colour, the fit or the style anymore, then it’s gone.
Can you let go of what others think?
This is definitely a harder task than going through your wardrobe, but it’s important.
Body confidence is letting your personality shine and having the best of your come through, regardless of what anyone else thinks. This can be a process, but it’s one which is worth embarking on.
Body confidence is owning what you put out into the world. There will always be people who want to change you, who have opinions on how you look, how you act, speak and so on. Some of these people will have your best interest at heart and others not so much. The most important part of improving your body confidence is letting go of others opinions. Because they don’t matter.
A friend of mine recently told me not to be “too booby” at a lunch we were both going to. Hello? I’m always booby. I like being booby. It’s just me. It’s not about having people look at my cleavage, it’s just my style that I’ve cultivated over years of working out what looks good on me and I like it.
My friend didn’t mean to be rude and she certainly didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. She is someone who dresses very differently to me, which is fine. I had to remind myself of that today, otherwise her words could have made me a little self-conscious and I can’t let her opinion affect what makes me feel great.
Of course, it’s a balancing act. If you’re heart desires to be dressed head to toe in bright purple sparkles, but you don’t think you could take the looks people will give you, then start small. Today your shoes are purple and sparkly; tomorrow it’s your top and your eye shadow. Slowly you’ll get to the point where you can be your bright purple, sparkly self and won’t care what the world around you thinks. If it makes you feel good, then it’s what you should do.
Can you stop judging others?
We so often feel the reflections of what we put into the world. If you are someone who judges others harshly, then you will assume that others judge you. This perceived or real judgment will impact your confidence. Anyone who loses a little confidence will shrink a little. They’ll stop wearing what they like, stop doing things, stop enjoying themselves and they are the only ones who suffer. They’ll stop putting themselves out into the world as much.
The moment we all stop judging each other so much is the moment we set ourselves free. So next time you see someone wearing something or doing something you consider outrageous, or even just a little different, try and catch yourself before you judge. Instead, you can send a little hope into the universe that the person in front of you feels great, that they’re feeling confident, living their best lives and being true to themselves.