The way I see it, confident people are the people who are willing to be vulnerable.
Insecurity lies in safety, confidence lies in risk.
Confident people are okay with opening themselves up to things like rejection or criticism or not getting the approval of other people, even letting people down.
Confident people are the people who are willing to take the risk of the negative things happening because they want the positive things more. So that’s my opinion of what confidence looks like.
So when you apply that to body image,
It’s opening yourself up to maybe not looking perfect all the time, allowing your body to exist without those feelings of guilt. Not apologizing for the way that you are or apologizing for your flaws.
When you’re confident in your body, you stop apologizing for eating too much, not shaving your legs, or anything about your body in its natural state.
It’s about opening yourself up to the possibility of being criticized for that or someone judging you for that.
The biggest part is putting your comfort and your peace of mind above the comfort and peace of mind of other people.
People are used to seeing women a certain way. When you’ve been presenting yourself in that way for most of your life, changing it might make someone else uncomfortable. Someone else’s perception of you might be challenged or changed.
But body confidence is about choosing your comfort over other people’s. Honestly, you deserve it. As women, we’re trained to make everyone else comfortable, sometimes at our own expense.
When you have body confidence, it means you’re giving yourself permission to show up in the world as your natural self some days, as your done up made up version of yourself some days, and somewhere in between other days.
You don’t make your choices based on what other people expect you to look like.
I used to never leave the house without putting on a full face of makeup. Because I wanted to hide all my flaws, I did not want someone else to see me without everything perfect because I was like, “well then they won’t think I’m perfect, or they’ll only see my flaws and they won’t see the things I’m talking about or the person I really am because they’ll be so distracted by how I’m ugly and they won’t listen to me.”
Or if it’s summertime and I’m wearing shorts I have to make sure that I have my legs totally smooth, clean shaved, smooth legs because God forbid, what if someone notices my leg hair? What if someone touches my leg and they notice that it’s not smooth and then they judge me because of that and they think I’m gross and they’re like “ew, why haven’t you shaved your legs?”
So I would take the time, energy, and space to make sure that my appearance was what other people were expecting. I was putting their comfort and expectations above my comfort and my timelines. I didn’t have time to shave my legs, but I would be late so I would show up in a way that was acceptable by society.
The thing about it is, no one really notices or cares as much as you do. So there’s that part of it. But then also, anyone who does notice or care, why are you trying to get their approval anyway?
You’re probably never going to be good enough for this person if they’re judging you based on how you look or whether or not you’ve shaved your legs, or whatever it is.
So that is how I see body confidence.
It’s different than body image, it’s different than body positivity, everyone needs to learn how to be confident in their body.
Not love their body, not be super excited about the way their body looks, but accept their body and realize that being comfortable within yourself takes priority over how you think other people are going to respond to the way you look.
Rebekah Buege is a body confidence coach helping strong women process critical thoughts and heal insecurities.
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