What is Self Confidence?

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.

A few months ago I was invited to be part of a photo shoot for the bodyheart campaign, founded by Amber Krzys with the LA Power Posse. [ladies I met though RHH-bschool]

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.

When asked what my favorite body part was, I immediately replied “My left bicep.”  I have a scar there. It reminds me that my imperfections make me even more beautiful.

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.

Trust me, I understand what it is to hate your body. I was the skinny, awkward girl, more untidy tomboy than pretty princess.

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,

Logo - Hillary

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

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  1. Hi Hillary,
    Thanks for a wonderful blog!!! I love how you refer to the body as our vehicle to life! That makes me want to take care of my body in the best way possible.
    My favorite parts are my eyes. I love my beautiful, big, brown eyes!!!!!

  2. Hillary,

    Such an important topic. Thank you for sharing your own story & struggles. That inspires so many women who are challenged right now. There is light at the end of the tunnel, ya know?

    So grateful to be included in your post. And, beyond thrilled at how gorgeous you and the Posse are! The photos are ridunkulous!


  3. Great article Hilary + wonderful references from Bodyheart! Amber’s mission is solid.

    This photoshoot was an unforgettable ‘Girl’s Night’ + extremely empowHERing. Karen is an adored photographer. The deLIBERATE energy in that space created by us was undeniable. So unique in our big + small ways… all sharing different sizes, traits, flaws, characteristics, shapes + colors. But so very RAW + REAL. I can just hear the ‘Oh, yeahs!’, ‘work it girl!’, ‘damn!’ + ‘owning it!’ we proudly voiced to each other during the flashes + snaps.

    Self confidence to me is living a deLIBERATE life… in my own skin, mind + soul.

    As I grow more self confident in my own skin, there are so many things
    I am learning to surrender to. I decided to dedicate my 33rd year to self forgiveness.
    My 365 day self dedication is a practice to forgive myself of anything + everything
    I’ve knowingly or unknowingly held onto, on a deeply rooted level.

    I am learning that my physical body is a direct reflection of my mind + soul, and vice versa.
    They inTRIcately mirror each other.

    I can be dis-aligned in a downward spiral force, reflecting angst, frustration + fear in my mind, body or soul.
    Or I can be an aligned force spouting reflections of confidence, clarity + trust in my mind, body or soul.

    I’ve been reflections of both forces before.

    But choosing more deLIBERATEly, allowed me more.
    More freedom, more space, more clarity, more confidence + more acceptance.
    Choosing more deLIBERATEly allowed me to be in full, clear alignment with my
    mind, body + soul. When aligned, I am capable of ultimate freedom.
    Feeling fulfilled, confident + complete at all times, from any angle.

    Whether I choose a hike, yoga session, journaling,
    cooking meals, creating a playlist, returning that call,
    writing that thank you card, green thumbing it, volunteering,
    eating nutrients, preserving the silence, cleaning the clutter, being grateful,
    avoiding the gossip, reading the next chapter, laughing with my girls, asking my man for
    just a few moments l o n g e r in that firm squeeze, or avoiding toxic interruptions,
    I am essentially fueling my force- for positive motion + alignment.

    No self pity hangovers, no putting off physical activities another day
    or self comparisons. No blockages.

    It’s a challenge.

    Some moments are easier than others, but the awareness is present.
    The choice is always available for me to choose a deLIBERATE life!
    And when my mind, body + soul are aligned, my reflections look + feel good from ALL angles!

    Much gratitude for the LA Power Posse,
    Amber + Karen in their efforts for compiling our fierce images.
    I am proud + humbled to advocate for the Bodyheart campaign.

  4. Dear Hillary

    Thank you so much for your words. They are so true. I guess almost every women knows this story of war and self sabotage. It’s time to start a new relationship with our bodies! 🙂

    I also like my eyes! And my hands!


  5. Hillary, thanks so much for this post. I’m so proud and honored to be the photographer documenting your story for Amber’s incredible body heart campaign. The Legacy Boutique and I are so grateful for the conversation you two have going here. Such a gift to so many women, myself included. THANK YOU, Hillary and Amber!

  6. Christina says:

    Thank you Hillary,

    All my life, my poor body has been an accordian. I have either been too skinny or to big, and I have gone back and forth between the two over many years and I was never satisfied. Now I take care of my body and make sure to nurture it, but I know that the self confidence is not all there.

    As I was reading your article, I asked myself not only “do I really love my body?” but “am I a confident girl?” and I thought about recent pictures that were taken of me on a trip I just took. My mother wanted to take a picture of me posing in front of various areas of beautiful scenery and I remember hating almost every single picture! I kept asking for do overs and I kept readjusting myself, putting my hands here and there, turning my face in different angles and I was just never satisfied with any shot. It occured to me now that it had nothing to do with lighting or how I stood, it was my insecurity that made those pictures look so awkward. How visible this insecurity was!
    Thanks for helping me come to this enlightenment. And by the way, my favorite body part(s) are my eyes. The Greeks have an adjective that describe my eyes, the word is “tsakirenia” which means big and beautiful, and coincidentally the word is related to my name.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      You are welcome Christina. Thank you for sharing how you felt when you discovered what happened when you were having pictures taken of you. Love that you are another eyes lover. Great way the greeks see them too!

    • Christina,

      I am so touched by what you shared in your comment. We are always the hardest on ourselves, especially when looking at photographs. I think it’s partly because we’ve been programmed to believe beauty looks a certain way.

      Such a brilliant awareness to see how visible insecurity is. That is powerful. One way to continue increasing your confidence is to make a list of everything that is unique & fantastic about you. Read it aloud every day and keep adding to it. Cause, I can already tell, girl you are fabulous!

      Amber from bodyheart

  7. Gorgeous photo + awesome post Hilary!! I freakin’ looove all of your work!! And as a fellow Bschooler also passionate about healing + self care I looove watching you evolve!! Sending you big love from down under, Susana xoxo

  8. Hillary this post, Amber’s cause, these tips are all so BRILLIANT! I am re-sharing this! I already told Amber I want to submit photos. Now your post has inspired me to gather a group, find a photographer in my area and participate! All of a sudden I am jazzed about the possibilities!

    And my favorite body parts? My hands, biceps and my smile. 🙂

    • Hey Laurie!

      I am so excited that you are jazzed by the possibilities. Yes, there are soooo many! I would love to talk with you about speaking for your event once you figure out some of the details. I’ve traveled before and would love to travel again.

      Can’t wait to see your hands, biceps & smile very soon.


    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Laurie thank you so much. That sounds really fun to do a group. Can’t wait to see it. Love the hands + of course the bicep. 😉

  9. Laurie, you absolutely MUST do this! If I lived up in your area you know I’d be thrilled to shoot your photoshoot. But however you join bodyheart, join! Get involved today. You’ll feel as inspired as we all were. Both the girls in front of the camera and me behind the lens had a blast! Such a memory.

  10. Thanks for sharing these, Hillary! I think the pics turned out great!! Major props to our amazing photographer, Karen, and the queen bee of empowHERment, Amber.

  11. Love that LA Power Posse is making LA a better place. Thanks for this post!

  12. LOVE! you, Hillary! and your sweet deep-hearted devotion to the sacred self. Thank you for this particular post on our most precious bodies and loving the imperfections. I immediately go to my scars, to those places I have shunned because of their markings… and I am brought to seeing/being/feeling into them in new ways. Reclaiming my scared self, one mark at a time. There truly is nothing more sacred… and nothing more healing/trasnformative than this level of self love.
    thank you for being its spokeswoman!

  13. Heya Hillary,

    great looking site. This article caught my eye, because I was just having this almost-identical discussion on linked in. Very serendipitous;)

    Thanks for voicing the need for stepping into our own Power. and it feels like you’re also conveying the need to STOP looking for meaning and value externally. that is a serious flaw in our culture: that we allow OTHERS to define us, decide out worth and value and our life path.

    A lot of this is the end result of a very broken public ( and private) education system. Where conformity and consumerism are the true curriculum- but that’s a huge soap box. Interesting, but lengthy:)

    You write well, with a powerful voice that is easy to follow and understand. Keep it up- too many teachers try to sound profound and mystical. oi:)


  14. I agree with Susana. This post and that picture are fantastic!

    “If your partner was doing that to you, my guess is that relationship wouldn’t last very long.”

    This is so true. We would not tolerate such talk from our partner. So why do we allow ourselves to talk about our bodies this way? For some reason, we feel we have to be harder on ourselves than we expect others to be of us.

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Self-love has been a wild, wild journey for me. It is only now, reading your post, that I can understand just how long ago my relationship with negative body image began. I believed for the last few years that it only started when I was 19, broke up with my then-boyfriend, and decided I could control my eating if nothing else. But I was that skinny girl with washboard abs as a tiny 12-year-old. I reveled in my ability to be thinner (but eat so so much crap) compared to many of the girls in my grade throughout high school. I seriously think this is the first time I’ve actually realized that that’s where it started. Way back then. It’s almost scarier admitting that. But I’m learning to change it every day.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Hey Kaleigh thanks for sharing. And yes the ride is always wild and adventurous. Glad you discovered the starting point and sharing. 😉 Hillary

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