Everyone goes through the struggle to find and love ourselves and to find and create confidence.
Sometimes we fake it, sometimes we give up on having any confidence altogether. It may take years and years to discover and build it or not as much time as we expect.
Through it, each individual finds techniques of loving his/herself. We fail at some, succeed at others, and learn from other individuals who are going (and have gone) through the same fight. Because it is a fight, a fight with oneself, with one's culture, and with one's society.
My Creating Confidence series looks to introduce ways that have worked for me in building self-esteem and self-love. My path to confidence (that I still traverse every day) started with finding a blog and then another and another that showed ways in which each woman struggled, succeeded, and failed in loving themselves. I'm here to, hopefully, do the same for you.
There's many, many facets of loving yourself inside and out, but today I'm going to focus on the love for your body, because this was the hardest fight for me to conquer, and I still go to war with myself on a daily basis for it.
This trick is simple and, yet, may be a grand downfall for some. Tread carefully and softly, because this can bring you down as easily as it can bring you up.
Look in the mirror.
Ever since I was old enough to realize being naked was something dirty I hated seeing myself naked. Since I wear glasses, I'd take them off before showering and quickly turn away from the mirror as if my body was diseased and malformed. I would keep my head turned down, away from the reflection, as I dressed myself, and then I'd replace my glasses onto my face.
It may seem like a harmless, awkward, phase -- a tween girl hitting puberty and feeling uncomfortable about bodily changes. The thing is it created a negative mindset over not just my own body but bodies in general.
It built a habitual thought process that it's shameful to see a body in it's natural form. It created a negative foundation of looking at my body and feeling positive towards it.
Nothing made me more uncomfortable than seeing myself naked in a mirror. If I happened to catch a glimpse, I'd find myself unbearably embarrassed and put-off before moving out of view. The eugh-y feelings that festered in my stomach fostered for later (and bigger) body-image issues.
My body wasn't worth seeing that way.
My body wasn't good enough to see that way.
Maybe if I was thinner or more in shape, I wouldn't mind looking at myself in the mirror.
Maybe if I suck in my stomach, it won't be so horrifying.
A load of BS.
BS that we learn from a very young age and carry with us through years and years of struggle.
Unfortunately, it's rare that we're taught it's BS. Most of the time we have to learn it ourselves, if we actually learn it.
Know this: if you feel that way, it's all crap.
So, I dare you to really look in the mirror.
When I learned all the crap that had been taught to me is just that, crap, I decided it was time to face my reflection.
Yes, this does sound much more epic and influential than it really was. I was mortified and awkward for the first, like, twenty times. I felt perverted for looking at myself. I saw everything that needed fixing.
Before showers I'd leave my glasses on as I stripped off my clothes and casually look at myself for a few seconds, then jump behind the curtain to get away. I felt like I was facing off with myself.
The key part of doing this is being aware of your thoughts. Each and every thought that passes through as you stand in front of yourself. You are not allowed to say bad things about yourself, even if the words aren't said aloud. If negative thoughts appear, CHANGE THEM.
This process works to form new, better, and healthy habits. No more habitual tearing yourself down; no more feeling ugly, gross, unworthy when you see your body. We only gain this from changing how we feel internally, and thoughts are so influential.
Pick out the beautiful parts to you and admire them.
Over time I became used to the contours of my body: where I stuck out, where I smoothed out, what I was self-conscious of, and what I absolutely loved. I focused hard on altering my thought patterns, and with that, the negative emotions inside of me were slowly cleansed. They became few and far between, but if I'm not careful, they try to find there way back inside.
It's a daily fight, and most of the media, government, and your well-trained thoughts are not on your side.
I would say that this is the most fundamental technique I use(d) to embrace and love my body as it was and as it is. What's fantastic, is that I think I look better naked than clothed now! And let me tell you, that feeling is wondrous and freeing.