I used to have ridiculously low confidence in myself, my capabilities, and my body. As a dancer the “I’m not ever good enough” mentality was grilled into me, and because of this my self-esteem was rock bottom for years. I was made to feel like I had to restrict what I ate in order to get to a place of confidence in the ballet world. This pressure translates into the everyday woman, and isn’t exclusive to the dance world by any means. That close-nit relationship between body image, food and confidence is a tricky one to navigate. It’s true that feeling good in your skin leads to an abundance of self love and confidence – but this doesn’t need to come from extremist diets or guilt, but simply by accepting who you are, for all those beautiful flaws that make you you.
It took me a long time to get to the place I am now – loving every little curve and not wanting to change them. Who’s to say love handles weren’t there to be loved, right? Of course alongside this I love my body when it feels strong, powerful and capable – one of the main reasons working out makes me feel so amazing. Seeing more tone and strength in my body from playful, challenging exercise just makes me feel great.
I wanted to share my self-love tips (excuse my inner hippie) for feeling confident, sassy, and sexy in your own skin.
Reflect on your reflection
My grandpa always used to say when he’d pass a mirror and quickly glance at himself “You should never miss a good opportunity”. I completely agree, any chance you have to have a quick looksie, do! When you look in the mirror, how do you feel? Critical or content?
I was looking after my baby nephew the other day and when he saw himself in the mirror he ran to it and gave himself a big kiss. He loves himself! I’m not telling you to go give the mirror a kiss, I’m not that crazy, but when you see the mirror you should be giving yourself a big mental one. You have a beautiful, unique, capable, healthy body – take every opportunity to celebrate that!
Say farewell to self-hate habits!
You may not realise it but that mental chit-chat you have going on 24/7 may be knocking your confidence. Meeting friends and kicking yourself for not changing your outfit, going on a date thinking he’s going to see your ever so bloated belly through the far-too-tight dress your wearing, or even just rocking up to a work event feeling like the outsider. We all have unique patterns to how our brain works – notice them and nip them in the bud. Talk yourself up in your head, list all the reasons you’re worthy of the situation and absolutely good enough. They say fake it till you make it, but you don’t need to fake the truth, you just have to believe it.
Change your attitude towards food
Food and body image can feel like one and the same and it shouldn’t be that way. Food’s best friend should be how you feel, not how you look. Eat to feel baddass, full of energy, happy, content – don’t eat to see a different reflection, because chances are that reflection isn’t going to be very happy. On the other side of this, it’s easy to eat because of the way you feel, which is equally as unhealthy. Emotional eating is something we all do – in fact just this morning I was stressed about a big day of work and spent slightly too long in the almond butter jar (my biggest addiction!)
Be a hipster
I got given a gratitude journal for Christmas last year, and only started using it recently. I’ll be honest and admit that prior to using it I was pretty unconvinced by the idea, but I’m so glad I gave it a go. I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be but 3/7 days of the week I’ll pick it up before I go to bed and write some things I’m grateful for. A good way of helping to change your insecurities is writing down the things you’re grateful for surrounding that thing. For example if you feel insecure about your non-existent abs, then write down something like “I’m so grateful to be able to have a healthy, working body. I’m grateful to be able to get in the gym and work on my strength. I’m grateful to see a small progression”. Make your biggest insecurities into something you’re grateful to be able to work on and change. Accept where you are in the process.
One of my favourite quotes is “The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday”. It’s easy to make comparisons, but ultimately you will never be anybody but you, and you shouldn’t compare yourself to anybody else. Confidence comes from accepting who you are, and being truly happy with being that person. It’s not an instant thing, but loving yourself is just about the best thing you can do for your health. After all you gotta rock this body every single day, you may as well feel incredible doing it.