body confidence, how do you do that

It’s a tricky thing, writing this without sounding boastful or conceited or whatever the correct version of that is. So let’s just say for argument’s sake I’m not any of those things and I’m trying to help, if you will. Then we can move on and I can stop pussy footing around it being awkward and say what there is to say about Body Confidence. What I really want to say is that body confidence is available to you any time you want it, you just have to give up a few things first!

I made a list.

To be confident about your body you need to forget everything you were ever taught about bodies. Forget the thin is in myth, forget the muscles make the man thing. Pretend you never heard about thigh gaps, real women have curves and every other body catch phrase you have ever heard. You need a blank slate. These terms are coined by people usually looking to sell you something you don’t have. To fill a big hole you didn’t know you had.

Forget them.

Start to remind yourself of all the wonderful things your body does all the time for you. Start with breathing. That’s important. Blood pumping. Personally I spent SO much time bashing my body for everything it was doing wrong all I could see were the faults and flaws. Stop looking for faults and start looking for things to be grateful for. As you walk think about how awesome it is to be able to. When you watch TV, send a shout out to your sight.

Take the time to notice the pluses, ignore the minuses.

Consider, that those things you even thought to be faults, minuses and flaws, may not be flaws at all. Who says having short legs is a fault? That women shouldn’t have broad shoulders or be tall. Or that lean is better than rounded? Who ARE these people you have given so much space in your head over to?

If society threw itself on its head tomorrow and said women should be big, men should be small, fat is in and thin is out… Where would you stand then? You see, it’s not real? It’s an IDEA. And ideas can changed. You need to change your idea right now. It’s the key really.

Change your thinking about the way bodies SHOULD look and change your ideas about what makes for a healthy and happy body.

Start taking steps towards cutting out chemicals, eating whole foods and doing some exercise. You start to care of that body of yours like it has never been cared for before. With LOVE and no intent to force it to do anything. But instead with appreciation for what it does for you every day.

Because not having body confidence isn’t something that is only felt by people with society’s version of unattractive bodies. It’s a common occurrence. There’s always something wrong with your body if you look for it.

So stop doing that! 

For example, I say this with all seriousness, I WISH people would stop complaining about their bodies being ruined by having babies. RUINED. Seriously? Consider that statement for a moment… you are not ruined. Ever. Calm the farm. Changed yes. Absolutely. But ruined?

Want proof that this sort of body confidence deficit happens to everyone? My current girl crush, the gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence jokingly commented on Letterman about her Catching Fire premiere dress {the sheer one!} “Thighs, OMG thighs!” with a horrified expression. Now this, by all accounts, is a woman confident with her body but all she sees in those photos {my impression of that conversation anyway} is thighs.

I saw a hot bod!

Most of us saw a hot bod. Which brings me to my final point. You don’t even KNOW what you look like. Not really. You have this idea about what you think your body looks like. The people around you have another. You never know you may be coveting something you have. And sure, that’s not a good enough reason to love your body, but it’s a place to start. Start there.

Start anywhere. Just start today. The sooner the better. Because when you can look someone in the face and say I am okay with my body. Proud of it just as it is now, then we all win. Media and sales pitches don’t have the same effect. Nobody does.

No one will be able to tell you that you are not worthy of love, affection, care and concern if you believe it first yourself. So begin now. For the worlds daughters sake. For the sons. One person at a time to change the world.

I’m counting on you.

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  • Vicki Christopher

    What an awesome post! I am going to start every day this week, rereading this. Thank you

  • When I was my heaviest was when I was my most body confident. It was so weird slash satisfying 🙂 You were one of the people who taught me how xo

    • Naaaw, thanks Rah. All it takes is a little loving and your body finds its new normal. That’s my two cents anyway.

  • stinkb0mb

    ” I WISH people would stop complaining about their bodies being ruined by having babies. RUINED. RUINED. Seriously?”

    This OH so much this. Especially when you consider how many would kill for their bodies to be “ruined” by being able to birth life! A body that has birthed a baby hasn’t been ruined, it’s done exactly what it was designed to do – it has created, nourished and birthed another human being, that is something that proves how amazing your body is, celebrate that, rather than focus on it being “ruined”!

    I have to forgive my body before I can ever start to love it, which is proving a very hard road.

    We, your readers, can learn a lot from your love of your body and self Mel, don’t let anyone shout you down xox

    • Oh yeah. I know you know what I mean on this front. I’d hand mine over to be ruined any old day of the week.

      It’s a hard road, that’s for sure. I was saying to another long-term ttc’er the other day, it’s a tough thing to forgive your body when it’s being difficult, it’s hard to love it when it’s not performing. BUT I love my husband at his worst, my family when they don’t do what I think they should… Why not me? Why not my body? Why not NOW.

      Thank you Rach. No one will shout me down. That’s a promise.

  • TeachFlees

    Agh, right in the feels! This is something I’ve been working on for myself. My “trouble” area is my arms. I always feel that I need to have them fully covered. That means I’ve avoided sleeveless, cap sleeve, and even some short sleeves. Lately, I’ve been trying to surround myself with images of real women. I’ve started to follow blogs of plus size women. I’ve even made a pin board of women my size. I figured if the media can do this to me, surely I can do the same.

    The other day I saw this picture of a beautiful woman. As I looked I noticed her dress, then her accessories, her shoes to her confidence. Finally, I noticed her arms. They were my arms! But she wasn’t cringing, no, she was posing. With those arms! I’m not saying the work is done, but in that moment I felt a change. Thank you to all those beautiful women like you who inspire us with your confidence! Xoxo

    • All it takes is a moment. A shift in an idea of what is beautiful or what is just plain old normal and you’re a step closer. Or maybe even that’s all it takes to be there. Good luck to you. Find those role models, clean that slate and start over.

  • So much of this!
    Yesterday I had a customer came in to buy her birthday outfit. She´s 60 yo, has a pretty important job, earns lots of money, has the most loving husband and an adoptive son who loves her more than anything. And this amazing woman had the hardest time finding something to wear because she didn´t want to show her arms. It made me so angry and sad at the same time that someone with such a life would look on the mirror and only see flabby arms…

    • Thank you Gi. It’s stories like yours here that make me wonder if it’s not some great conspiracy to keep women battling each other and themselves, this whole body issue/confidence thing. Our value can not be found in the firmness of our arms, or our abs, or butt or waist. The value of a woman {or anyone for that matter} is NOT THERE. We need to stop looking for it there.

  • PrincessEatsPeaSoup

    Body confidence is something I am working on all of the time. I have high self confidence which often makes up for a lack of body confidence but I want both, so I work on it. My arms too. In winter it was about finding my confidence in strapless tops and dresses and my hurdle for summer is going sleeveless. I find it ridiculous, now, myself that I have covered up my arms for so many years and suffered the real discomfort of extreme humidity and heat with extra layers of material in my clothes because I didn’t want to draw attention to my arms. No longer. Have a look at them everyone and get used to it because I am not hiding my arms anymore! And if anyone comments on it, I will be ready to look them straight in the eye and let them know what I think.

    • It sounds like you have taken great strides, my friend, congratulations to you. And yes, I am prepared at any moment to address someone who inappropriately comments on my body. It’s reassuring actually to know that I have an idea of what I would like to say should it happen. And it seems being prepared has left me with very few opportunities indeed. Apparently for others it’s a non-issue.

  • This is some awesome writing Melissa. That is all.

  • “I WISH people would stop complaining about their bodies being ruined by having babies. RUINED. RUINED. Seriously?” – These people need to sit down to a good viewing of the Alien trilogy.

  • Reading this made my day and seriously makes me want to start a clean slate here and now! Completely resonated! I know I will print this out today and most it next to my bed! I plan to read before bed until it begins to sink in!!!

    • Thank you Jane. I’m SO glad. Make that clean start. Make it every single day if you have to. One day you might just wake up that way. x

  • pioneerpat1

    I always tell my daughter that to be comfy in her own skin and not worry about what others think.

    • It really is that. People will always have opinions about what a woman should and shouldn’t look like, do and no do and all that. More so I think than young men {that said, I’ve never been a young man, so who knows}. If you know who you are, where your REAL value lays {lies?}, then none of the shoulds will be able to touch you.

  • Mahina Hathaway

    “You don’t even KNOW what you look like.” This!!! What helped me was remembering that everyone else in my life saw what I looked like ALL THE TIME and they still wanted to spend time with me! I only ever saw myself when I looked in the mirror, which I used to avoid if I could help it. And I hated photos of myself. And then I slowly started to realise… My now husband thought I was beautiful, my family always told me that I’m beautiful, so where did I get off telling them they were wrong?! I stopped reading trash mags with all their beauty catch phrases. And I started following women that I admired, strong, confident, ballsy, vulnerable, beautiful women who were outspoken and changing attitudes. Women like you! And writing like this! Really does make a difference.

    • It’s so true! Who are you to say to those people that they are liars, lying to your face, about something so important. Give yourself and them a break and listen up. You don’t know. You’re usually wrong anyway. Thanks for sharing Mahina!

  • kp

    Stands up & gives a standing ovation! THIS, so much THIS!
    Great post, great read, start now!!!