Let's Be More Body Confident
Before you read on can I reassure you that I’m not here to preach and demand you all feel more body positive immediately. I’m just writing these words as a kind of friendly nudge in the right direction as it were because I am quite aware that the process is not instant nor is it always easy.
Trying to feel more body positive at times or at all, for that matter, just doesn’t come naturally for many and I see it all the time in my job. That's why I'm here to help, with a few basic pointers to get you started.
As women we are faced with so many physical changes that can have an impact on our bodies and minds... From puberty to pregnancy and menopause to later years, our bodies are the bearers of it all through our lives, its a tiring process but flaming amazing at the same time, if you think about it.
The whole 'being amazing' thing can be hard to embrace ,especially when we are enduring health problems or struggling with feeling positive about anything.
However, we can't deny that bodies come in all shapes, sizes and colours and are uniquely magnificent in their own right.
Just because your belly hangs over your jeans you spit ‘god I’m so fat’ at the mirror. We’ve all done it, myself included.
Though, I do recollect my mum saying to me repeatedly as a teenager “If you didn’t have any belly fat you’d split in half if you stood up” err not sure about that Mum but it did help…well a bit.
What we learn from both our familial and peer environments growing up as girls affects us and it can be positive, negative or a mixture of the two and we tend to follow suit and pass it on.
If you're a mum with a daughter (or son) it’s important to think about the message you send out via what you say about yourself. Don't we owe it to our kids to make a difference and break the chain?
Sometimes, there can be great compliment giving going on in a conversation but often what happens when we do receive one is, it's often batted back with denial or we deflect with a “but” or “because”. We just don't always believe or accept the words we're hearing. I think it all boils down to how we value ourselves deep down.
It’s not often we say “thank you I love my shapely buttocks too”. Nor do we bound into a room singing “I’m so pretty, I’m so pretty” Probably because it’s oddly deemed as bragging amongst women and well… not being the norm? The accepting of a compliment that is, not the singing... that might be a total conversation stopper.
We strive so much for a perceived ideal because we think others will like us more??…well let’s try liking ourselves first! Yes, it is a bit like swimming against the tide with all the social funk going on but I do think we can make a few little changes to get the ball rolling from within and for ourselves.
Firstly, it’s important to mentally accept our physical quirks and foibles just as they are, smaller parts of a bigger picture if you will. Totally flawsome!
I know that cosmetic surgery can make a difference if it’s right for the individual but hey lets ‘Big Up’ our better bits that we currently own eh? Thinking more of the positive tweaks today and less of the future fixes for this post.
Let’s get mental…
POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
Try this for starters…Draw two columns using my titles or something similar (see table below). Write a list of as many positives as you can down one and on the opposite side list only one physical negative. Please don’t write it with cruel intent either. ‘I have breasts like spaniel’s ears’ is not helping anyone! It doesn’t all have to be relative to just looks either, there’s more to a positive body image, the inside is just as important... it’s a state of mind.
Here’s one I made earlier….
Now pin it up… to your wardrobe or on a mirror. Pick a poignant place where you get dressed and will see it. Then look at it as often as possible and “absorb it”.
I find it just helps to re-focus a bit, especially first thing in the morning or before a night out and if at any time a negative thought gets a good grip, try just getting into the habit of saying meh…I've heard you, now sit down because it's not helping me right now. Let it go.
When you’re out in the big wide world other people have their own problems to dwell on and your upper arms are not going to be one of them. What you focus on daily, isn't always what others see. Wearing a little confidence can carry you much further.
There are so many more tips and advices I can share with you to help you nudge in the right direction of body acceptance (see other blog posts), but for this one I want to show you how you can also use clothes to dress that unique loveliness of yours. It deserves to be valued and adorned with things that make you happier. Just feeling pretty, cuter or sexier than usual can do wonders for your mindset.
Let’s get dressed…
So now we’ve started an inkling of positivity, let me tell you a secret….More often than not your clothes can be the doom bringers. We’ve all seen those piccies in that “what the hell was I wearing” outfit but it’s important to note that the clothes are doing the ‘naughty’ not you. Time to let it go.
You can streamline, uplift, draw attention to, draw attention away from, be yourself and dress for your personality and lifestyle with the right tweaks and know how. Cuts, fabrics, prints and colours can all make a difference depending on where it goes and what it’s for.
Try to dress your body lovingly and note that you don’t need to spend a fortune, just knowing what works and feels nice can make all the difference. Or you can book me of course…ahem cheeky plug.
Before, I go on I just want to point out that we are all so different and I couldn’t possibly list everything I know to help you in one post but I can give you my key top 10 Styling Tips to help kick that visual negativity into touch.
1. Dress For You
There’s no point trying to dress in a particular style or in certain clothes if it just doesn’t feel right. Your clothes should be reflective of your personality and lifestyle, allowing you to look and feel great and also to project confidence. Looking the part authentically, whether it be for a social event, at work or out and about on the dating scene, always works in your favour and translates YOU much more effectively.
Think about your Style Personality too, we usually have a dominant which steers us towards certain looks, fits, patterns and colours etc. A common problem I've found is that wardrobes just don't match the person, leaving clothes unworn and garments mismatched.
Clothes should be comfortable, if they’re not, they're wrong. If the size or fit is an issue you’re less likely to wear them let alone feel great in them, plus if you’re constantly fidgeting with them, your body language will be sending out negative/nervous signals.
Skimming is always better than strangling in any clothes stakes and fabrics should flatter and flow, feel great on your skin and give you a comfy casual glow or glamorous glad rag sparkle.
3. Size Tags
It’s just a number not a judge and jury. Sizes vary from shop to shop anyway, they’re just a guideline. A good fit is key to a better streamlined shape. Don’t squeeze into smaller clothes or avoid larger ones because of it. No one will know or care, so cut it off then you’ll forget all about it. Style has no size, it's totally inclusive and brands are popping up everywhere online to fill the gaps.
Just like clothes, size varies greatly amongst brands and styles of bra and pants. Don’t presume the same bra size will be right every time, get it checked in store for good fit before your buy. I always recommend to clients, that you get measured for the bra you fancy.
If you want to try spanx or other control garments go for it, smoother lines give you confidence, but don't feel the need to wear them. If they're uncomfortable, don't bother with them because you'll spend more time fidgeting then you will enjoying the occasion.
You don’t have to buy the high end garments to look good, there’s nothing wrong with the high street when you know what works. I would say though that quality does matter with ‘backbone’ garments (worn a lot) like coats, jeans, boots etc. so investing a little more moolah on these items will get you a longer shelf life (cost per wear). You are worth spending money on, no matter how small or large your budget.
We all have them no matter how insignificant you think they are. Show them off and treat them a little. Your face, for example, is your communication centre so draw attention to your best features and treat them to a little make over or a facial.
Seek a professional for that fab lipstick or eye shadow and find out how to put it on for effect or for a natural glow.
Every body part deserves some style love and if you're still not feeling it, then you can't beat a funky pair of pj's to enjoy your Friday nights in. I once was bought a gold sequinned pair of slippers by a friend and I kid you not they made me smile every time I popped them on. Every little helps.
I know I've mentioned this already but it's so important. Learn to take those that are given to you. You’ve earned them and they're a gift, usually given with sincerity. You would be doing the giver a disservice by throwing it back at them, especially from people who love you.
Give them out too. No one knows they’ve got something right unless you tell them and your words could just make their day.
Go and look in your wardrobe and assess your rainbow or lack of. Colour can affect your mood and create positive impressions if used wisely. For example, if you’re on the dating scene a colour will help you get noticed amongst the sea of black on a ‘Singles’ night, particularly red! You could be missing out on being a Colour Ninja as it holds so many psychological benefits.
Learning to love yourself a little more has so many benefits. It will radiate out and others will see your inner smile. Actually, when you look in the mirror try smiling, winking or blowing yourself a kiss, I know it sounds a bit daft but it does work if you keep it going.
The smallest tweak can make all the difference in an outfit from boring to bodacious. Necklaces can change your neckline and bracelets or earrings can add the final touches without feeding any negative feelings of size or shape.
Bags and clutches allow us to experiment with colours and patterns we would normally be afraid of and shoes can make us feel sassy, but both can satisfy our indulgences. All are feel good factors.
Lastly can I just add one more thing?…Treat you and your body to a good massage, a facial, a haircut or whatever helps you look/feel better both mentally and physically, you only get one body after all and hell knows we go through enough trials and tribulations.
Enjoy the pamper whatever that looks like for you.
If you would like to further your body positive journey and find out more juicy and practical tips, then check out my NEW E-COURSE and enjoy Step One for FREE when you join The Image Tree Family here.
Click the image below for full course details.
Be YOU Be TRUE