Before my days of being a recovering perfectionist, I was a professional perfectionist. Everything in my life rotated around an image of success and achievement I felt obligated to maintain, an obligation I thought made me worth loving. Perfect student. Check. Perfect daughter. Check. Perfect friend. Check. Perfect athlete. Check. Perfect body. Check. Uncheck. Check. Uncheck. Wait…
That body thing was a problem. In my distorted perfectionistic thinking I felt like I had control over most areas of my life, but, try as I might, I simply could not make my petite, athletic legs long and tall. Trapped in a body type I didn’t want I spent years coveting what other girls had and who they were, wishing myself away secretly as I did so. I never felt comfortable or at home in my own skin and, though the outside world saw me as confident, successful and happy, I knew I was a complete imposter and I feared how long I could keep the facade up. And since I couldn’t change how my body was built, I reveled in the fact that I could control how much I exercised, how little I ate and how malnourished I could make my body without others knowing.
After ten years of this exhausting secret life, I cracked. I hit rock bottom and I knew I couldn’t go on with life hating the very thing that was allowing me to have life and to walk around in life. As told in my book, The Skinny, Sexy Mind: The Ultimate French Secret, my life turned around completely at a small cafe table in the south of France and the way I saw my body began at that moment to forever change. Since that moment in 2006 my body confidence has been under construction, and I have furiously studied the art of self love and body freedom as I walked through the transformation myself. In the process I have been surprised to find that the freedom I thought I was looking for wasn’t the greatest gift I received – yes, I now love the skin I’m in and feel alive when I’m being my truest self, however, I learned that it is this freedom found in authenticity that has launched me into living life with more engagement, passion and love for others. The ability to engage in life (and to find freedom from the relentless negative body chatter that went on in my head) has filled my soul with so much peace and joy that I am committed to helping you find that freedom too. And, my friends, we aren’t seeking body confidence simply for ourselves, we are seeking it so that we can stop limiting ourselves in life, stop being only half-engaged and half-present, and so that we might get out of our own heads and our way and start living up to the great potential and calling we have on our lives. We are here to love others, and to do so effectively, we must first learn to love ourselves so we can actually focus with pure hearts and pure presence on others.
To help you have more body confidence, starting today, I have put together a short list of 7 very simple ways to start loving the skin you are in. I want you to think about confidence like a garment of clothing that you are putting onto yourself. It’s something you wear by choice. It’s something you pick out. It’s something that looks good on you.
Embrace your body in the present moment.
You can decide to have body confidence by simply slowing down all of your forward thinking and instead using that energy to focus on exactly where you are and what you are doing right now. Take deep, slow, intentional breaths, allowing the oxygen to run through every limb of your body and take note of how your body feels as it fills with life and awareness. Another important factor to realize is that by worrying about your body, or rejecting it as it is right now, at this very moment, you are in fact throwing your ability to be present away. When our body confidence is challenged it can become all-consuming and all-distracting, distracting us from the things in life that really matter to us.
Focus on good posture.
You will feel 10x better and look 10x more confident with the simple shift of having good posture. Stand with your head neutral, your shoulders down, relaxed and retracted and your chest slightly out and allow yourself to stand tall. When you stand in good posture you also benefit by having more overall awareness to the positioning of your body, giving you more insight as to the gift of space you use.
Never apologize for your body.
It’s way too easy to put yourself down, and in fact, body-bashing has become acceptable among friends and it’s simply not okay. Wishing anything about your body away – whether it is your height, your shape or your color – is apologizing to yourself being you, and it’s absolutely ridiculous that you would need to apologize for being who you were created to be. Never allow yourself to make excuses, judgements or apologies for the beautiful thing that is your unique body.
Don’t engage in diet talk with others.
One crucial key to freedom from negative body image is found in recognizing when and where toxic conversations take place among your family and friends. Often, dieting is at the center of these chats and discussion over how much one “needs” to diet and words around dissatisfaction over one’s physical self does nothing to launch you positively towards optimal health, wellness and happiness in the future. Just say no to diet talk and negative body bashing. Walk away from any toxic conversations that might lead you away from the freedom you want to experience.
Honor your body and give thanks for it.
Gratitude can change everything about how your brain thinks, and, since we are pursuing body confidence, most likely because we have struggled with a lack of body confidence, then we need to re-wire the workings of our mind. When you express gratitude you see the world differently and with deeper appreciation and connection. By expressing gratitude towards your body, which is your one vehicle for life, you will start to see more beautiful things about it and you will find yourself feeling more and more comfortable in the skin you’re in, little gratitude by little gratitude.
Comparison is the thief of joy and the number one felon responsible for stealing body happiness from you. If you want to have body confidence and to live freely in the skin you’re in, you absolutely must go to war against your natural propensities to compare yourself to others. When you engage in comparison of any type, you are throwing away any ability you have to have full joy in being who you were created to be. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle to stop comparing yourself – you must remember that you’ve probably spent decades comparing yourself to others, so it will take time to rewrite and rewire those destructive thought habits.
It’s hard to not feel good about yourself and about life when you are smiling. Scientific studies have shown that even when a smile is forced or fake, it has the same psychological impact on our brains, releasing positive endorphins and happiness through our physiology as a result. The more you smile, the better you will feel overall. Also, smiling is usually associated with fun or happiness, and in that, it’s very difficult to feel uncomfortable, insecure or filled with self-doubt when smiling or happy.
Here’s the thing, I know that repetition is the key to mastery, so to help you find more freedom and joy in the skin you’re in this week I am committed to providing you with as many resources as I possibly can. Make sure you catch this week’s episode of Confidence on the Go, episode #171, called SPF Body Confidence, which you can find for free in iTunes or just directly at www.trishblackwell.com/171 or www.trishblackwell.com/podcasts.
Additionally, I put together my thoughts on body confidence on video for you since I know that sometimes to really hear truth, you need to have someone look you straight in the eyes. Consider the video my pep up talk for you, from me to you and sit back and soak up truth about yourself and just how amazing and beautiful your body is for the six-minute video. Watch the video directly in YouTube or right here below this paragraph:
Take this one thing away with you today: your body is a gift. It’s time to forgive yourself for not appreciating the gift, for being critical of it or for being harsh towards it and it’s time for you to give thanks for it’s strength, resilience, mobility and beauty. I am confident that you can find joy and happiness in the skin you’re in … and that freedom will start to unfold the day you decide that it is actually available to you.
PS: Need more support from me to help you in your quest for body confidence and freedom? Enroll in my 7-day online Emerge Experience, a program put together to help you emerge from any weeds in your mind that are holding you back from life to the fullest and freedom in the skin you’re in. Register for Emerge and start transforming how you think and feel about your body right now, today. Sign up at >>> www.trishblackwell.com/emerge