I get why you’re frustrated. All the Instagram girls make loving your body sound as simple as signing up for a yoga class. You should be able to just inhale gratitude and exhale self love – done in 45 minutes flat.
So why are you still feeling this way? Why do you still doubt your worth? Why are you comparing yourself to the pictures in your feed, women in your office, and friends you’ve known for years?
All that abstract “love your body” advice isn’t working because confidence is a buildable skill, not an idea or feeling. Loving your body is not a Pinterest-perfect self care exercise, it’s a commitment to uncovering the logic behind your critical beliefs – and tearing that sh*t down.
That doesn’t happen by reading inspirational quotes written in cursive. Body confidence starts with reframing how you view your body.
It’s called self-objectification and it’s the reason you’re so hard on your body. Growing up in diet culture, young girls soak in the message that the way they look is who they are.
The tall girl can never be “cute” the athletic girl can never be “sexy” the curvy girl can never be “fit” and so it goes.
If you’re beautiful, you’re expected to be confident. How do you become beautiful? You start by meeting the current body standards, be thin but not too thin, sexy but don’t try too hard, and finally, gather a consensus that, yes, you are beautiful.
The tragedy in this is that even with the consensus, you still feel insecure. You still doubt. Being considered beautiful isn’t the answer to confidence. You’re afraid their opinions will change, or worse, your body will change and you’ll lose the only thing our culture says matters for women.
So if being beautiful isn’t what brings confidence, where do you start? You can’t identify as a body anymore. You have to see yourself as separate from your body. You are a spirit, a soul, a being living inside this body. Think of the movie Freaky Friday with Lindsey Lohan. The mother and daughter switched bodies, but their personalities stayed the same.
This way, you can separate yourself from the thoughts and feelings you have about your body. When you’re feeling down, it’s not “you” that feels wrong or bad. In that moment, it feels like your body isn’t measuring up. Which is a step above feeling like *you aren’t measuring up.
Remember, this is how to get started with body confidence. Baby steps, stick with me and I’ll get you to a place where you love your body and easily redirect your thoughts away from criticism towards confidence.
Outside of simply thinking you are separate from your body, change comes when you take action. Start with how you talk about yourself, that shapes your identity. Think about all the “I am” statements you make and see how many you can edit to NOT influence your identity. As if you really are separate.
I created a quick reference for you to start your day with confidence. Click here to get it.
Here’s a short example of body identifier language.
I’m brunette, I’m 134 pounds, and I’m a size 4.
You can provide that same information without identifying as your body, like this.
I have brown hair, I weigh 134 pounds and wear a size 4.
See how that language is more detached? It might seem insignificant on the surface, but over years of repeating “I am a size 4” it causes serious identity issues and stress if for some reason you need to wear a different size. I’ve known women who refuse to buy a different size because they’re afraid to lose some arbitrary piece of themselves. They can’t comprehend what it would mean if they’re not longer “a size 4”
Try this for a few days – a week – and see how much easier it gets to stop identifying as a body. This makes it easier to get to know your body…which is the next step in building confidence.
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Rebekah Buege is a body confidence coach helping strong women process critical thoughts and heal insecurities.
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