In this episode of The Samantha Leith Podcast we take a look at Body Confidence, and what you can to do love the body you have always. Taken from episodes 6-9 of The Samantha Leith Show.
Hi. I’m Samantha Leith, and welcome to my show. This month is all about body confidence. How you feel in this thing that we have. We’re going to go through some boosters, some tips, some tricks, and hopefully have you coming out at the end feeling like your most confident self, no matter what’s going on here.
Body confidence is a loaded topic. As women, we’re 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 single current trend. We have cultural beauty standards. What our parents think, what our partners say, and what that guy on Tinder had on 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 of so many 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. Being extraordinary as only they can be.
You are more than a number.
If I could have a dollar or a minute back for every day that was ruined after standing on that set of scales and letting that number dictate whether I had a good day or a bad day, whether I felt good, whether I felt like crap, whether I … Sometimes it even affected my sense of purpose. The number does not have that power over you. Whether it’s your scales, the number on the back of the size of your dress. I have clothes in probably 10 different sizes just because I feel good in that outfit, not because of the number.
You are not your age.
You are not the percentage on a dexa scan. I got really obsessed with them for a while. I’m done. No. I am not a number. You are not a number. Do not let it control you. Do you feel good? Are you healthy? That’s all that matters.
You have a bikini body.
Yep. We’ve all heard the saying, and you do. Put on the bikini, walk to the pool, walk to the beach, walk around the house if you want. That’s all you need for a bikini body is buying a bikini and putting it on your body. Look, for me, I’ve got four and a half meters of scars on my body after my surgeries. Is that going to stop me putting on a bikini and enjoying my life if I want to wear the god damn bikini? No. Again, do what you want to do. It’s not about fashion. It’s not about what you look like. It’s about being comfortable in that. Just like those amazing women I saw in Sicily years ago, all ages, all shapes and sizes, rocking whatever they were wearing on the beach. Be that person.
HOW DO YOU SHOP AND STAY CONFIDENT
When you go into those shops and you look in the mirror and you’re like, ah, I can’t buy this thing. Just know what suits you. Buy what suits you from the shops that you like shopping at, from the people that make you feel like you’re worth something in those shops. Don’t follow the trends. And if you really want to follow a trend, buy a pair of earrings or something that can add to something that already makes you feel spectacular. And if in doubt, get something tailored. It’s not that expensive and it will make you feel a million bucks.
Here are some fast confidence boosters for you, some of which aren’t directly related to your body, but being more confident in everything means being more confident in your body. Okay, here we go. You ready? Exercise. Dress for success. Play music. Change your physiology. Power pose. Smile. Say some affirmations. Flirt. Talk to a stranger. Look back at your past successes in your fabulous file. Journal. Find something to be grateful for. Do something you’ve been avoiding. Help someone. Learn something. Achieve a really quick goal. Go to a social event, and Zoom does count.
Do something you would normally say no to. Remove something or someone negative. It gone. Write down things that make you feel good, give you a bonus if you do one. Ask for help. Check your surroundings and make an improvement. Take some time for self-care. Have a date night, by yourself too. Do something creative. Look at your future and do some visualizations, dream board, etc. Challenge a negative thought that you have. Splash on some perfume or cologne. Focus on someone or something you love. Eat something healthy. Have a bloody orgasm. Repeat a mantra. Phone your best friend. Have a hug. Laugh. Watch a sunrise. Look at someone great, someone that’s achieved something you want. Talk to yourself with love. And forgive someone, including yourself.
To be truly confident is to know, accept, and love yourself. No ifs, no buts, okay. So to do that, we need to look in a metaphorical mirror as well as a physical mirror, okay? And I want you to do this whenever you can. Because when you look in a mirror, you can go, “Eh, I hate that bit. Don’t like that bit. Oh my God, my hips, my eyes, all the wrinkles,” all those things. And you can’t necessarily go from that to going, “Oh my golly gosh, my body rocks. I love it.” Okay. That’s a big leap. So I want you to take it one teeny tiny step at a time. I want you to look in the mirror and find something you love about yourself and say it out loud. Now be honest, you’re probably going to feel like a dick the first couple of times you do this, but then it becomes, guess what? A habit. Okay.
I’ll give you an example. Say you’re looking at your face and you’re thinking, “Don’t like it. I don’t like it. I don’t like it.” How about you say, “I love my lips. Thank you for the words you’ve spoken. The food you’ve tasted and the kisses you’ve experienced. For saying no when needed. And I love you for [when wanted 00:03:59]. For quivering in sadness and expressing anger when warranted. These are my lips and I love them.” Okay. They’re your lips. If you’re judging a part of you, you’re really judging all of you. So say, “I’m sorry. I forgive you. I love my lips. I love you.”
Now for some traits of confident people. You may not think that they’re all relevant to body confidence, but again, I promise that they are. Your physicality is one of the first areas you show how confident you really are. Have a growth mindset. Live in the present. Be driven by your values, your passion, your vision, and your mission. Ask for help when needed. Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself or to fail. Find happiness from within. Celebrate yourself and others. Have really strong boundaries and say no. Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Get your goals and take action. Act as if with confidence. Have really positive self talk.
Honor the commitments you make to yourselves and to others. Do what makes you happy. Be honest, assume likability and success. Be organized and prepared. Be calm, practice mindfulness, meditation, breathing, etc. Be comfortable talking to strangers. Make eye contact. Take time for yourself. Have confident people in your life. Have rituals before anything important. Manage your thoughts and emotions. Notice what impacts you and change what you can. Take responsibility for yourself. Make decisions fast. Know what’s in your control. Listen more than you speak and don’t judge or gossip. Love and appreciate all of yourself. Mind, body, spirit. Be solution focused. Only apologize when needed. And have commitment to your habits, as well as being really forgiving of yourself and the world around you.
Yep. We have to talk about social media if we’re going to talk about body confidence. It can be the death knell of our confidence. Ding dong, the bells are tolling and we are quivering messes at home scrolling these perfectly curated feeds of gorgeousness. Most of it’s not real. I swear to you. If you saw the things that we even have to do in a studio to get heights right. It’s smoke and mirrors. So curate your social feed.
And by that I mean your Instagram, your Facebook, as well as what you are consuming online or in magazines. Curate it to be the stuff that makes you feel good, makes you feel happy, inspires you. And if you are inspired by someone, follow them everywhere. Buy their goddam book, but don’t then feel miserable when you are reading something about someone that doesn’t make you inspired, or worse makes you feel less than you actually already are.
Hey, it’s Sam and I’m just finishing recording my month, All about Body Confidence. I’m asking you a favor. Can you pretty, pretty, pretty please pick up your phone and send a quick video, just like this, telling me what body confidence means to you. Are you confident in your body, and why? I’d love and appreciate it. Thank you so much. Bye.
Hey lovely. Sure. Body confidence to me is being comfortable in your own skin. It’s doing the work on yourself so that you love every bit of it. Even the bits that you know wobble in the wrong way, or don’t quite look the same as other people’s. It’s actually just understanding that you are unique and leaning into that. Took me 25 years to do hair free, but we’ve done it, and it’s incredible. And if you can harness that energy, harness that confidence to really be who you are and embrace who you are, body and all, it’s incredible.
Part of being truly confident is about being kind to yourself. And it’s never more important than when we’re talking about body confidence. You can literally sit there all day every day and find faults with yourself from every single nook and cranny. We don’t want you to do that. We want you to find the good, but yeah, sometimes that can be hard. So just take time to be kind to yourself, buy yourself something you’re really going to enjoy. Take some time in nature. Listen to the birds, smell a flower, buy yourself some flowers.
If you are feeling down about your body, do something that is going to up-level you in that moment. It might be throwing on some music and having a dance around yourself. I’ve got a song I always listen to when I get ready, especially if I’m feeling a bit, “Meh, whatever, how’s your father.” That song will always pep me up and will make me feel like I’m being yep, kind and loving to myself.
DEFINITIONS OF CONFIDENCE
Confidence has so many definitions. One thing that can be agreed on is that it’s not cut and dry. Confidence comes from the Latin word [foreign language 00:01:24], which means to trust. Therefore, having self-confidence is having trust in one’s self. Many things help us to build our confidence muscle, small daily steps, huge actions, thoughts, beliefs, nature, nurture, genetics, family, the list goes on and on and on. So I’ve come up with what I believe to be 12 pieces of a confidence stack. Master these 12, and the world can crumble around you. You’ll be okay. Master these 12, and start falling in one, you’ll be okay.
It’s the state of complete acceptance of one’s self. True self-acceptance is embracing who you are without any qualifications, conditions, or expectations. Success, failures, faults, the size of your ass, positive, lumps, bumps, talents, all of you.
Knowing yourself, knowing your needs, and knowing how to get what you need. Speaking up for yourself because you know and believe in your worth.
Executive function all up in your prefrontal cortex. It’s the ability to manage one’s impulses, emotions and behaviors, to achieve your long-term goals. It’s to avoid doing things that you’ll later regret, rather than immediately respond to every impulse as it arises.
It allows you to stay focused on your goals. It enables you to stay in control of yourself and of your reaction to any situation. It’s the ability to push yourself forward, stay motivated and take action, regardless of how you’re feeling physically or emotionally. Self-discipline is, again, like a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger you’ll become.
The belief we have in our own abilities, specifically our ability to meet the challenges ahead of us and to complete a task successfully. General self-efficacy refers to our overall belief in our ability to succeed, our capabilities and the mastery of skills.
Your opinion of yourself, what we think, feel, believe about ourselves. How much a person “values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself,” by Adler and Stewart in 2004.
The act of expressing yourself, and it can take a whole variety of forms. You can use your words, your facial expressions, your body, your movements, your clothing, actions and possessions, to express your authentic inner self. Speaking, writing, dress, creativity. It’s all about showing yourself, without showing yourself. Tell me you’re a Monica, without telling me you’re a Monica.
Having a growth mindset, a desire to become a better version of one’s self, every day. It’s a lifelong process of becoming all that you’re capable of being, that extraordinary you, and that road to self-actualization, as per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
That’s the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively, which is not always easy or that possible. So looking at our habits can give ourselves a great self-knowing. What triggers us, what motivates us, seeing, knowing and understanding our thoughts, our feelings, our desires, those impulses, again, who we are even every single day. It’s in this knowing that we can change where we need to.
Self-love looking after yourself first. Oxygen, mask. Again, I’ll say it, it’s appreciation for one’s self. And it grows from our actions that support our physiological, psychological and spiritual growth. If you treat yourself with kindness and respect, and nurture your growth and well-being, you’ll have a high regard for your own physical, mental and emotional happiness.
Your self talk, that inner dialogue, we all have it. Negative Nancy, Penelope Positive, Argumentative Alice, Friendly Fran, Judge Judy, Silly Sally, the list goes on. That dialogue you repeat that is influenced by your subconscious mind. And it reveals your thoughts, your beliefs, your questions, your ideas, and negative patterns.
Your self-worth, that internal sense of being good enough and worthy enough of love and belonging from others. The dictionary defines self-worth as the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person. It’s about unconditional friendship and love for yourself. You don’t earn self-worth by doing worthy things. You already have it. Self-worth is about who you are, not what you do. It’s about knowing the absolute intrinsic value of who you are, right here, right now, regardless of anything you have or haven’t done.
Say, your self-love goes by the wayside for a bit. The rest of your stack will support you. You’ve taken a hit at work, so your self-efficacy is dwindling. The rest will prop you up. And that’s how the confidence stack is going to help you get to where you want to be.
Yes, it is so good for you physically and mentally. It is not just what you do to lose weight, because we’re not talking about losing weight, we’re talking about being body confident. And being in tune with your body and your physicality is a massive part of that. And I find there’s actually no better way than yoga. And I got to be honest, I used to think yoga was just for hippy dippy people. It’s not. It makes you feel good. It connects you with your soul. So, if you wanted the instant confidence boost, go do some exercise.
Do you remember that Roxette song, Get Dressed For Success? Well, I say you got to get dressed for confidence. But I haven’t written a song about it. But I want you to do it. You know those things that make you feel good. It might be a color. It might be a style. And no matter how bad your day is, or the tumble that your confidence has taken, having a change of outfit will change your physiology and change everything about how you’re feeling. Now, this can be the hard thing to kind of get to know. You might look in your wardrobe and see things that have been, they were just on trend three years ago, and you really don’t want to part it because, oh my God, it was the most expensive jacket you ever, ever, ever brought. If it doesn’t make you feel good, get rid of it. Not going to go so far as saying, you have to KonMarie your whole house and your whole wardrobe. But I do want you to try things on.
And instead of asking, does it bring me joy, I want you to ask, does this make me feel alive? Okay. Because when you’re feeling really confident in your body, trust me, you feel really, really alive. Your blood is pumping. Your heart is racing. You feel fantastic. Anybody could walk in that door and you’d be on fire. You could walk in any door and feel on fire. So dress for confidence every day, regardless of what you are doing. If you’re in your Lulu Lemons, make them the ones you really, really love, with a great pair of sneakers. And if you’re going out, I play the little, little notch. And then as Coco Chanel said, maybe take something off.
BORN WITH OR WITHOUT CONFIDENCE?
Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe she’s Maybelline. Okay, I’m not a commercial. And I’m not going to get into the argument that you’re either born with or without confidence.
I know we’re born with a certain level of confidence, or dare I say gusto, that lets you try new things. You fall down, you get up, you try again. You stumble over words and eventually find your way. But you also cry when your five-year-old best friend doesn’t invite you to a party, or you don’t get the mark you wanted to in that test.
CONFIDENCE IS A MUSCLE
I believe confidence is a muscle. Much like your biceps as you work on it every single day, it grows. Then you can have a day off from the gym and still feel okay. You aren’t as susceptible to getting knocked about, and your bounceability or confidence set point gets higher and stronger. Spending time working out the things that really makes you feel good is the simplest way to improve your confidence. There’s also many boosters and traits that I’ll be sharing with you.
I also encourage you to look back on your life at the moments where you felt the most confident in your body. Was it triggered by someone else or by you alone? By that I mean did you feel good in your skin because someone told you that you looked amazing? Be careful with that, because external validation is fleeting and never guaranteed.
I’ve always been pretty confident in my body from 140 kilos to whatever it is I am now, but so much of that came externally. Lovers, applause on stage, comments on a photo. It wasn’t until I took control of my health and my sex life that my body confidence became truly ingrained. We’ll delve into why you need to make great sex a priority another time, but it is there.
Just like building your physical body, having a team to work on your body confidence can really help. It’s vital, though, that it’s all for you. So, having a glam crew, brows, nails, hair, cetera, if it’s important to you. Brands that you feel amazing in. Maybe there’s some personal training or exercise you enjoy in your body that makes you feel good. Maybe having a coach by your side to hold that space for you and believe in you until you’re really confident in your skin is what’s really needed.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE
And don’t be afraid to change. If you want to get something done to your body, lose weight, put on weight, have your lips done, get Botox, go for it. I get Botox at the famous 11 for myself. I don’t like how my makeup looks in that little line. But I don’t care what you think.
Sit back and ask yourself some questions. Seriously, take time to do this. Do you always feel like you need to improve yourself? Do you like how you look? Are you happy naked? Do you always compare yourself to others? When have you recently felt really unconfident? Describe the situation. How did you handle it? How did you talk to yourself about it? What would you have liked to have happened?
And when have you felt most confident in your body? Describe the situation. Could it have been improved on? If so, how? I want you to really go back into that moment when you felt amazing and bring it into your life today.
Make me up before you go go, just like the Wham song. Yes, I like makeup. And when I can, I get someone else to do it for me. But I usually always have some on because it makes me feel me. My mom used to say, “Never leave the house without your lipstick on because you never know who you’re going to meet.” I will add, I don’t think she ever told me I had to make sure I had clean underwear on, but that’s a whole other story.
Makeup for me is a reflection of who I am. It might not be for you. So, take from this what you want. If makeup’s your jam, do not be phased by people saying you’re a little too made up. That’s their problem, not yours. If a natural look’s what you want to go for, go for it. And you know what? If you are the guy down the road that wants to put on some mascara and a little bit of gloss or a full face, go for it. Nothing dropping you other than yourself.
Affirmations are a common part of my daily success formula. They’re a big part of it. Whilst you can Google and find affirmations for any area of your life, and do that to get a little bit of help, I encourage you to write your own. They’re positive statements that describe your goals, beliefs, passions, values, mission, feelings, anything as though it’s already been achieved.
If it’s something you are aiming for, you can create an affirmation for it. And it’s not about just putting it out in the universe and making it happen. You’ve still got to do the work, but it’s about affirming that it is going to happen.
I’ll give you a couple of examples of mine. I’m committed to the daily habits that improve my physical, emotion, and mental well-being. I constantly and passionately take action towards achieving my business and personal goals. Now I’ve got alerts on my phone that remind me of those affirmations at various times throughout the day. I’ve got them stuck up on walls in the house, on my diary, even in the visor in my car. They’re everywhere, okay?
Some tips. They need to be positive. They need to be in the present tense. They need to be as short as possible, okay? Make it specific, but make it something that makes you really feel. I want you to have fun with them. Create graphics, stick them anywhere, write them out, have them in alarms like I do, make them a screensaver on your phone. And repeat them out loud at least once a day, and in a mirror is even better.
Oh, let’s talk about Christmas. Yay. There’s ever a time of your year, especially in Australia because it’s summertime, our body confidence starts to go down the toilet. We’re surrounded by images of people looking incredible in skimpy little frocks, and we might not want to actually show our arms. We get invited to so many parties where there’s food and booze and food and booze. And then our habits slip and we don’t get up as early and we don’t do the things we want to do.
So, I really encourage you during this time of year to make sure you are sticking to the things that make you feel good. And it might be as simple, and trust me, I don’t really like this one, but it does make me feel better. When you’re at that cocktail party with all those people that you’ve got to have conversations with, have some water and some food before you go. Wear something you feel spectacular in. And then while you are there, have a boundary and not talk to people you don’t want to talk to. And for every alcoholic drink, you have have a nonalcoholic one as well, and it will make the Christmas season so much smoother.
Let’s talk food, booze, and confidence. Food and booze were my go-to when I felt like crap. That instant sugar rush of the alcohol or chocolate for minutes or seconds, maybe an hour if you were lucky, would make me feel amazing. And then you slowly as the sugar leaves your system start to feel like crap. And then all those body insecurities are even worse. And if you’re insecure in your body, that insecurity goes into other areas of your life.
So, ask yourself when you want to just go, bing, I’ve had a bad day. I want chocolate. Is it the chocolate that you want or is it some comfort you want? And see if you can maybe get into some other habits of phoning a friend in that moment, or maybe you could have a cup of tea. Might make you feel good because it’s got that little bit of stuff in it that actually does literally make you feel better, but you won’t have that guilt from eating the chocolate.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you want to eat the chocolate, eat the chocolate. If you want to sip on a green smoothie because it’s really good for you, you know it’s good for you and you think it tastes great, sip on the green smoothie. If you want to eat a salad because you feel great eating it, eat it. If you want to eat pizza because, hey, you’re Italian, eat the pizza.
But I want you to make a conscious decision with what you’re doing with all of these things, not going to them for comfort. So, before you do, ask yourself, do I want this or am I wanting something that this is giving me, and can I get it from somewhere else?
Hopefully you’re going to have a little more zing in your step tonight, and please do the exercises. If you need some more information or you want to download the PDFs for them, head over to samanthaleith.com/freebies, where you will find everything at your fingertips. Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the Samantha Leith podcast. If you enjoy this episode and want to dive deeper into the world of personal development and what’s possible for you, then I would love to invite you to join the club. It’s my monthly membership design to guide and support you. For the tools and the coaching you need to be extraordinary. Head on over to samanthaleith.com/club for more information. I’d love to see you on the inside.
Produced by Rebecca Saunders and Pyrmont Studios
Songwriters: Anthony Newley / Leslie Bricusse
© Tratore, Universal Music Publishing Group
Produced by Samantha Leith / Michael Allen
Vocals by Samantha Leith