Body Confidence—Oh I’ve been looking for you!
Do you ever look in the mirror? You might brush this off and be thinking to yourself well of course, I mean we pass by mirrors quite often or see our reflection on windows, computer screens and when taking numerous selfies to get that image that’s just right to post on social media. But the question stands, do you look in the mirror and actually see yourself? Do you consciously take the time to look at your reflection and think positively? Has your perception of self changed over the years?
I’m raising these questions because of the two most common thoughts that unfortunately too many people have, which is: I don’t like the way I look, and I wish I could change this or that. We can all relate or empathize with having experienced these sentiments. Body confidence is not an easy endeavor, many struggle with feeling at home in their body, regardless of size or shape, being comfortable in/with your body can be a challenge. In today’s society and world of social media where moments are edited and filtered, it can be easy to forget that self-worth is not linked to appearance. At times, we can all fall prey to images that make us envious or feel insecure. During such times, it’s worthwhile to remember that the world is home to many diverse bodies that each have their space and purpose.
Put differently, we can’t control what others think or what the masses will deem as the new beauty trend or the LOOK, but we can control how much of these views we absorb and how we let them affect us and our personal view of self.
When we are young, we don’t necessarily have to learn how to love, it’s something that’s innate. However, as we get older that innate ability to give out love to ourselves or others around us, in some people, becomes guarded. Hence, what we have to remember is to be kind and to find beauty in all parts of ourselves. Each and every part of your being comes together to make you who you are, so it’s important you learn to cherish all aspects of you that are unique but nonetheless worthy of love. Sometimes, it can help to alter your thinking, for example, think healthier not skinnier—in other words, choose to eat healthy and to move your body through exercise because it makes you feel good and boosts your confidence; do it because you love yourself.
I think learning to be comfortable in our body is a lifelong journey because we are constantly changing and that’s okay. To be comfortable with how we look, I think we have to get to a point where we change our inner narrative. If you’re feeling insecure, you’re not alone, but it can be a useful reflection in one’s journey to body confidence to think about why we feel pressured to look a certain way or to change ourselves to be loved or even to fit into a role or occupation. To be a professional dancer I had to weigh a certain number and not allow my body to change to maintain the physique that was associated with a dancer. Even at that time in my life where I was at my fittest, I would have changed things about the way I looked. It wasn’t until years passed that my perception of self changed, and I became more focused on being thankful for my body and all it allowed me to do. What I’m getting at is that arriving at a point where you are happy and confident in your body is a process and it’s not because others approve that you will find comfort. The true comfort, body confidence, comes when you’re happy looking in the mirror, and that by no means requires your body to be “perfect”, it just means that you realize you are a whole, worth more than a single part, and that you are not defined by cellulite, large hips, rolls or skinny arms. You are so much more and deserve to be proud of the parts that make you whole; your comfort comes when you are content with who you are as a person—we are more than body parts and measurements.
Bear with me, but what if we thought of beauty and body confidence as emotions, as something that you feel and exude. Our emotions are strong, so give yourself the power to feel; it’s like with gratitude, the constant practice of stating gratitude on a daily basis generates happiness, so it could be said that practicing feeling good and confident in your body will turn into genuine sentiments towards yourself.
Also, try focusing on what you love about yourself and being thankful for your body and what it lets you do each day. It can also be interesting to think about what your body lets you enjoy; for example, you wouldn’t want to deprive yourself of things you love eating to maintain a physique, it’s okay to find a middle ground. I’m not saying that healthy eating and being mindful of your health isn’t important because it is, I just mean that you can be healthy and eat healthy but still have rolls—it doesn’t define you.
Let the love in! When your body becomes home and you feel comfortable, you’ll exude confidence from within and might even experience a feeling of freedom. As you’re finding your comfort, stop comparing yourself to others, focus on the things you love, cut out negative self-talk, and surround yourself with positivity.
You got this Warrior!