I am body confident. But, it hasn’t always been that way.
The irony is that when I had no confidence I actually was within a normal weight range, was much younger, and probably on the surface had a lot going for me. Inside though my confidence – or lack of it messed up so many relationships, fuelled an unhealthy relationship with food and contributed to depression that was my black dog for many years.
Now I am 52, overweight, a few grey hairs, a few wrinkles and I have body confidence.
What really changed to give me body confidence?
What really changed? I have given this a lot of thought.
I have waded through photographs of myself taken over the last 50 odd years looking for answers. The only answers I got were that over the years my body has got less perfect (when measured up against the norm). If the answer wasn’t in physical appearance then where was it?
I started to think about the people in my life at various stages. It was at this point that some answers started to appear through the mist. Where were the people who loved me unconditionally? Where were the people who believed in me wholeheartedly?
It is very important to make a statement here. Each person’s belief system is unique and individual to them. Belief is the subject of another blog post in the future, but what I really want to emphasise here is that it wasn’t about the people who supported or believed in me, it was about my perception that they did.
Even if someone loves you unconditionally and supports you – and you don’t feel it or believe it then it doesn’t count as far as body confidence goes.
You need to know that there are people around you that support you. It needs to be obvious support. Compliments, affirmations lots of positive feedback.
Of course this is only part of it. A huge part of body confidence comes from within. That within needs feeding though. It needs feeding by others and by you.
The media and other voices and how they affect and body confidence
The media is constantly showing us unrealistic beauty. We know it is airbrushed, but regardless this feeds into negative self-confidence.
It is more than just the media though. People who are around you can affect the way you feel about yourself, especially if your self-confidence is low.
I have to share a little story about just that. I was visiting my sister in Dubai – which is hot! She said I must definitely bring a swim suit. Well I hadn’t worn one in years. I bought one online and felt very self-conscious wearing it. I wrapped myself in a sarong and towel and headed outdoors for a dip. The only ‘person’ around was the cat! Well you know what cats are like – he looked me up and down and I felt awful. Because, my inner self-confidence was in shreds.
Be that person that builds body confidence in others
My request today is that you decide to be the person that builds other people up. This is more important even than remaining neutral.
Young girls are having issues with body confidence all the time. They compare themselves to others, to people on TV and on social media and are made to feel that they are not good enough.
Although I know that self-confidence must come from within, I strongly believe that feeding anyone with a diet of compliments, positivity and unconditional friendship will go a long way to building body confidence.
I am so grateful to the people in my life, from boyfriends (and yes I mention this first as you need a lot of body confidence to get naked), family, friends and colleagues who have spent the time to like a photo on Facebook, and tell me I am looking good. The times when someone has complimented me on what I am wearing or told me how a blog post I have written has helped them.
Feed your friends a diet of positivity. They will really appreciate it.
I know for me once I heard it often enough I started to believe it and that is when the shift happened for me. There were other tools I used including counselling too. It is never simple, but it has to start somewhere. Receiving a compliment is a great place to start.
This body I stand in today is mine, and I am proud of it. Every dimpled cellulite bump, wrinkle and pound. Even my freckles which I have been trying to get rid of for years. I have body confidence but it took a long time to get it.
Thank you for reading and please feel free to share so we can spread this message about body confidence around the internet.