Here at Body Positive Plus we believe having a healthy body image is important to maintain a positive relationship. We recently talked to Danailya’s Bedroom– a Canadian Lingerie & Swimsuit company about their thoughts on the subject. These are a few tips and tricks we hope will help build your confidence and add a little sizzle back just in time for Valentines Day.
Body confidence and body positivity: these two words that have been floating around a lot lately. We all know we ought to feel good about ourselves and we ought to be grateful for our body. But when it comes to embracing the idea personally and actually feeling good within our body, we cannot help find odd reasons to why we just aren’t that perfect, yet.
When you are dating, your thoughts around your body might be about how attractive you look to a potential partner. In a relationship, this goes a tad bit deeper, considering the emotions involved, and you cannot help wonder if your partner finds you as appealing and sexy as they did initially.
Irrespective of the situation, body confidence has little to do with others and much to do with what you tell yourself within your head and how you choose to see your body while you stand in front of the mirror. This confidence is what seeps into your relationship and how you carry yourself when you are around your partner.
If you ever think you are the only one with miserable thoughts about yourself, you are wrong. The media and the cosmetic industry has done such great job that even the seemingly most perfect of us doubt ourselves and feel a need to ‘fix’ what’s wrong.
So when you choose to own your body and work your mojo around with the confidence of a real-life beauty queen, you are inspiring all the real women around you to feel good about themselves. Isn’t that incredible? Here are 12 ways to feel more confident about your body and own it with all its beauty, flaws, and irreplaceable imperfections. The first five are things you can do for yourself alone and the rest is about how you can change the way you perceive yourself when around others.
1. Look at yourself in the mirror naked
What are the thoughts that immediately pop up in your head?
Oh, god. Those flabs!
Yuck. Look at those spots.
Is that how I look from the side? Ugh.
My legs look as thin as sticks. I’m not going to wear this dress again.
These are the thoughts you constantly carry about yourself all day long, through entire weeks, months, and years. Would you say the same kind of things to a sibling or a girlfriend? Why then would you be so ruthless with yourself? Imagine the kind of message you are constantly sending yourself as you go about your day, meeting people, working at your desk, catching your reflection as you pass by a window, or meeting your partner for dinner or going to bed with them. It’s no wonder you feel insecure about yourself.
2. Look at yourself in the mirror naked, again
This time, really look. Take the time to open your eyes and take in what you see. Look at yourself from the back, the sides, the angles that you don’t find yourself appealing in. If you cannot be with this sight in all your glory, how can you expect someone else to? Now choose to replace the old tape of judgmental messages with kind, honest, and loving words. This might sound corny. But try it before you skip the idea.
The shift you feel within yourself will be immediate and, often, quite emotional. Pick on 2 things that you like about what you see every day. In a week, you will already find yourself less critical and more accepting. Keep at it at least for four weeks. Within a week, you will find more than 2 things that you find good about yourself. Here’s a list from a self-exercise done in a women’s group.
I actually like my neck. It looks elegant and pretty.
I never really noticed that my hip is so curvy. I knew it, but I was too afraid to acknowledge it, so I never really looked. It looks sexy, actually.
I always focused on my thighs that I never looked at my butt. Cute tushy, I think.
I love the dimple on my left cheek. My son has one just like me. I gave him that! 🙂
My hair. I love my hair.
The scar on my shoulder.
3. Block out or say bye to those who make you feel bad about yourself
As if it weren’t enough to have supermodels creep into our subconscious and act as the blue print of what ideal beauty looks like, we reiterate this skewed image every time we agree with this false idea in our conversations, in our social media feed, or in the shows and magazines we entertain ourselves with.
If your colleague cannot stop talking about how she needs to lose weight for the office holiday party, be straight enough to tell her that you are excited to party just as you are and can’t wait to try the new dessert at the corner bakery. If your social media is filled with pics of ‘perfect’ celebs, it’s time to unfollow the ones that don’t fit reality and follow celebs and real-life women who look more like you.
4. Follow women/individuals who embrace their flawed beauty
Round, fat, dark, skinny, freckled, flabbed, uneven, pigmented: these words are made to feel wrong. But all around you, this is how women wake up looking. When you look at your pin boards filled with real women who look more like you, your unconscious mind will begin to process what ‘normal’ really is, according to reality, and based on not media’s portrayal of reality. When your Facebook and Instagram feeds show women in all sizes, shapes, colors, flawed (read real), either in bikinis or in plain pajamas, having a great time just being themselves, you are changing the digital world to match the real world.
5. Be deliberately kind, soft, and sensual with yourself
Create rituals that celebrate your body. Take time to enjoy a slow and sensual bath. When you moisturize your body, don’t do it do away with your dry skin. Be kind and gentle. Give yourself the pleasure of feeling good in your body. When you get dressed, notice your skin, your limbs, your hair. Be playful and kind. Your body will respond by feeling more relaxed and confident. If you can be kind to yourself, you pretty much don’t need anybody else’s approval.
6. Understand that your partner picks on how you feel about yourself
It’s how good or bad you feel about yourself that your partner picks and reflects back to you. Joy is infectious. So is playfulness, love, and warmth. When you feel good about yourself, there is an air of confidence and acceptance that your partner will find incredibly sexy. It has nothing to do with how you look or what you wear. The vibe is extremely appealing and irresistible.
The same way, your insecurity, self-criticism, and discomfort are also equally infectious. Even if your partner finds you gorgeous and you constantly feel unsure or unhappy about yourself, your partner will begin to feel it as a dip in your natural appeal and feel less excited around you. Again, this has very less to do with how you look and more to do with how you perceive yourself in your head.
7. Do sensual/physical things together more often beside sex
Engage in activities where the body gets to be playful, relaxed, and active. Play a sport together. Or, go for a pottery workshop (you have no idea how sexy this can be). Dive into the pool and fool around for a bit, act silly, laugh, and good around. The more you engage yourselves in physical activities that aren’t sexual, the less you care about how you look or appear to your partner. This increases your natural body confidence and also lets your body enjoy its right to feel good, move around and be playful without being constantly judged by you.
8. Accept compliments gracefully
If your partner says ‘you look gorgeous in that dress,’ don’t squirm, giggle, or worse, use it as a moment to criticize yourself with ‘yeah, but my arms look big’ or ‘I hope I don’t look too skinny.’ Nod, smile, and say ‘thank you.’ This conveys that you own your beauty and are willing to accept it with grace. A healthy sense of vanity is good for you when you want to replace a negative body image with a positive one.
9. Make your girlfriends your body-confidence champs
You know how BFFs are. They are brutally honest and straight with you, but never will they let you beat yourself down. Use your girls night in or dinner with other mommies as a time to open up and talk about your vulnerabilities and fears. This will allow an entire bunch of women to know that others too feel insecure and it will give you the space to look at stupid notions of beauty objectively.
You might not defend your own beauty, but if a girlfriend says she doesn’t really like ‘her nose’ you catch yourself disagreeing vehemently and saying everything you can to make her realize how perfect her nose is or how gorgeous her curves are. This is also a great time to laugh at media stereotypes and bring them down with sarcasm one lousy ad at a time.
10. Ask your partner to be more vocal with appreciation
Your partner might be kind, affectionate, and caring. But if they aren’t good with compliments, you can be honest about your need and ask for it. It helps to hear positive words of appreciation to counter all the negative messages that you hear in the media otherwise or to douse your own inner critic. You can do this from a space of love and vulnerability rather than a needy position, where you beg for approval. You could say:
Hey, everyone loved my outfit at the party tonight and I felt great in it. Did you like it?
Or, you could be more direct:
I love you and everything you do for me. But I would like to hear you say nice things about me more often. It feels good when it comes from you more than from others.
11. Challenge stereotypes
Challenge stereotypes in conversations with your friends, kids, partner, parents, and even online.
Challenge stereotypes when you come across them in ads, TV shows, or the movies/magazines, political debates.
Challenge stereotypes non-verbally in how you choose to dress. You could be a Size 10 and still rock a dress you love.
12. Enjoy sex for the pure pleasure of it
When you push aside all your insecurities, forget about how you look from a certain angle or in a certain position and simply dive into the physicality of sex, your body rejoices. Because a desirous touch, an appreciative glance, a passionate embrace gives your body the tactile approval and appreciation for what it truly is: real, unique, beautiful, and incredibly sexy with the freckles, flabs, flaws and all.