Self confidence, self esteem and self love are huge themes for me these days. More than ever in my work I am curious to discover where self confidence and self esteem comes from.
bodyheart is devoted to liberating women from their prisons of physical inadequacy. I love how their un-retouched all-female photography series celebrates the ART that is the female form, in all its colors, shapes and sizes.
Afterward, as I looked over the pics, I noticed the usual ‘Gotta change that!’’ chatter in my head had switched off. There among my sisters in the black and white frames, I admired my own body without judgment.
This is the gift bodyheart hopes to share with all women. It seems now more than ever, women have distorted ideas about what self confidence and self esteem are based upon.
Today, I’ve asked Amber to share her bodyheart wisdom and self confidence exercises with all of you! If this post brings up anything for you, please give yourself the space to feel it, not judge it and be with your body.
When accomplishments = self confidence.
Many women seem to believe self-confidence is built through achievement alone.
In the past, if something didn’t go as planned, I was hard-wired to pick away at myself. Countless women do the same. It’s not easy to admit, but with awareness it all can shift.
Don’t get me wrong: set and accomplish you goals! But in order to love yourself you must love your body as it is.
And you must take care of your body’s needs, first and foremost. The real test is when we take off our clothes and stand naked in the mirror.
bodyheart Tip from Amber: Touch your body
What? You want me to…what? Yes, it’s true. I want you to touch your body. Touch is a form of demonstrating love. Withholding touch is a form of neglect.
Would you keep yourself from hugging your child or partner? No. But we neglect our bodies all the time.
“If only I could shave off a little of my inner thigh” you say, while pinching it back to appear slimmer in the mirror. If your partner was doing that to you, my guess is that relationship wouldn’t last very long.
Instead of picking your body apart, place your loving hands on her and say, “I’m sorry.” She is trying her hardest everyday to keep you alive and healthy. Doesn’t she deserve love just for that?
Physical nitpicking = self sabotage
It’s the same story around the world. Women who have suffered find release by harping on their physical ‘imperfections’.
You bite your nails, pluck at split ends and pick your face. You look in the mirror and want to change your body. Maybe then you’ll be good enough.
This can manifest into more radical behavior; skin cutting, hair pulling, and other means of self-mutilation. It breaks my heart to see. If you are doing this, please seek professional help.
I want you to take this next line into every cell in your body:
I only have one body to enjoy this life. If I am AT WAR with it, then I am missing out on the greatest gift of all: ME.
When all the girls started to develop I was still a washboard. I was teased mercilessly. It wasn’t until high school that I started to like my body– but only because I got attention for it.
As a teenager I craved this attention. I would do anything for it. It was a sick cycle.
Years later, I’ve found peace through my own path of self love, knowing that I had to love my body. I had to dress for me. I had to release the need for other’s attention to boost my self-esteem.
Now I can feel good about myself around a group of women and not criticize my body, thanks Amber, Cynthia, Amanda, Karen, Paloma, Karin and Leona.
This is where self care plays a crucial role for women. It helps us to create a foundation we can thrive on. [psst… freebie, grab my self-care strategy.]
bodyheart tip from Amber : Become an observer.
Start to view your body as a partner, with her own wants and needs.
Our bodies are extremely wise. They talk to us all the time. Headaches, stomach aches, feeling tired or energized are alerts and red flags. Start paying attention.
Get to know your body. Maybe she doesn’t like running at the gym. Maybe she’d prefer a bike ride instead. Take note when you’re are doing things out of requirement instead of pleasure.
No relationship can thrive in restriction & punishment (where most of this culture resides). Have compassion for your body, it can surprise you!
False self confidence is based on ideals.
“Our current model of beauty is based in illusion. There isn’t one image released in the press without some form of retouching. This sends a message that we are not enough as we are. bodyheart is changing that. bodyheart is based in the belief that our bodies are walking works of ART meant to be celebrated and valued.”
I could not of said it better. A great self confidence quote, thanks Amber.
Finally in my late 30’s, I can stand in front of a mirror and love what I see. For me, learning to love my body with confidence has been a process of revealing and healing.
Taking care of yourself and loving all of yourself is the path to create unshakeable self confidence.
When you learn to love your body as the most precious gift, you’re practicing the highest form of gratitude. Click to tweet this quote…
You’re able to hang in the unknown. You’re able to show up feeling powerful, even when you’re afraid. You tap into a power that moves mountains without force.
This is how you create lasting self-confidence.
What do you believe? What part of your body do you love? Why? Comment below and let us know. I know both of us will love to read what you have to share.
Lots of love,
P.S. Have any women in your life who would get a boost from this post? It will only take you 3 min to share it + may even change their life forever.
P.S. Connect with Amber on twitter @Bodyheart
Photo credit: Karen Christensen