While summer is touted as the season for enjoyment, indulgence and throwing caution to the wind, it’s also the same time of year in which we’re screamed at to change and improve our bodies. But what if we told you that you actually didn’t have to do that, and could go out into the world just as you are now?
Easier said than done, we know. And by no means are we telling you you have to love yourself, when sometimes just accepting your body as it is is enough. But if you’re wanting to take your self-confidence to the next level this season, we have six tips for you to do just that. And spoiler alert: none of them involve a gym, a scale or restricting what you eat.
Six Body Confidence Tips We Live By
1. Wear clothes you feel good in
So often the answer to feeling bad about our bodies is simpler than we think. If our clothes are too small and dig into our skin, how can we expect to feel good about ourselves? Do away with shame around the size of your clothing and focus on getting things that fit, are comfortable and make you feel amazing. Practical items like anti-chafing shorts are a great way to make any outfit more comfortable, especially in the summer heat.
2. Spend time looking at yourself
You may be thinking, I’ve been living with myself all these years, what more do I need to know? While we can’t speak for everyone, it’s really common for people to avoid themselves and their reflections when they’re feeling a particular way about their bodies. Set aside a few minutes each day to take a look at yourself from every angle, and don’t worry about editing your thoughts, positive or negative. Take in every part of you for a bit of time every day and you’ll soon start to look at yourself in a neutral way, if not find more things you love than you ever did before. The more familiar you become with you and your body, the less foreign it will feel.
3. Be done with body checking
This might sound completely counterintuitive to the first step, but hear us out. Body checking is different from observing. When we body check, we’re looking for information about our body’s weight, shape, size or appearance, and evidence that we’re “unattractive”. If you find yourself partaking in this behavior, don’t shame yourself — it’s a normal habit we’ve learned over a lifetime that’s often used to soothe anxiety and takes a long time to solve. Just notice the behavior and try to adjust. Have you realized that you check out your reflection everytime you pass a window? Consider coaching yourself to avert your gaze next time you’re walking down the street. Do this enough times and you’ll create a brand-new habit.
4. Curate your social media feed for you
It’s easy to click the follow button on every social media influencer and model, but if seeing their photos makes you feel bad about yourself, here’s a tip: Unfollow them. Fill your social media feed with people who look like you, inspire you and fill your feed with messages that make you feel seen. When you start seeing diverse bodies and people that look like you, you’ll feel less alone in your experiences which builds body confidence. Social media is a part of most of our lives, so we might as well make it the best experience possible when we decide to log on.
5. Separate thoughts from reality
We’ve all heard the age-old truism: Thoughts aren’t facts. You may have a negative thought about your body, and that’s okay — but you don’t have to take that thought on as your own. You can work towards realizing that these thoughts were taught to us by a society that forces us to strive for perfection, when perfection doesn’t exist. Welcome the thought, then gently redirect yourself in your mind: This isn’t my thought. Let’s replace it with a new one.
6. Watch how you speak about yourself
It may seem benign to say the negative thoughts about your body out loud, and sometimes it’s important to get them out of your head in certain contexts, like a therapy session. But the way we talk about ourselves is important. The more bad things you say about yourself and your body, the more you’re training your mind to believe them which is bad for your body confidence. Sometimes, we just need to vent. But let’s try to watch what we say and speak to ourselves like our best friends would.