“You are so confident” is what I hear often. The assumption is that I shouldn’t be confident. Here’s how I gained my confidence with curves!
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This is an interesting question as the assumption is that I should not be naturally confident. That I should be self-conscious because I am not considered to be the “right” body type based on society’s standards. I am not thin. I talk about being midsized in another post here.
So I wanted to talk about the things that make me feel confident. This is my experience. Think of this as a personal essay. Everyone’s experience is different. For me, confidence has been the result of doing some work on myself. I broke this work down into three categories: Internal, External, and Everyday Work.
The Internal Work
Face the facts. The first thing I needed to do internally was to be honest with myself. I mean, brutally honest with myself. I needed to figure out what were my hang ups. What were the barriers that were getting in the way of accepting myself as I am. Additionally, whatever those barrier were, I had to consider what could I change about myself. At the same time, I needed to accept that my body had changed after having kids and that was just fine! I needed to make some changes that went beyond fixating on weight loss. I needed focus on what is great about my body as is and all the wonderful things it can do.
In 10 years… Try something with me for a moment. Do you ever look at a picture of yourself from ten years ago? Usually, the first thing we focus on is how much younger (thinner, whatever, etc,) we look. Instead, I thought, what if we considered how it will be when your future self looks at a picture of you in ten years. A picture of you right now. What do you think your future self would think? Your future self will probably think you look dynamite, right? And, your future self would be like, “why weren’t you accepting yourself then”. Am I right? That got me thinking that I should start accepting myself now while I strive to continue to improve. I am good as is while I continue to grow. The truth is that my body is fantastic as it is. Also, it struck me that my ability to move and my health can be taken away at any time. Therefore, I might as well enjoy it!
The External Work
Movement (almost) everyday. The external work was giving myself time to work on myself. This started with getting in physical activity everyday at the gym or outside. Well, almost everyday. It could be any movement and for any amount of time I can fit in my day. I had to start at my own pace to and let go of lofty expectations. I talked about how I started liking the gym in a post here. The goal was just to give back to my body so that I could show up as my best self. The end goal was wellness and more energy. The idea was to have more control over my day and ultimately my life.
Editing sources of influence. The other external work for me was just editing my social circle. Thinking about those who contributed to negative messaging. This meant looking at all aspects of my social circle including social media. I needed to protect my energy and sources of influence. If someone isn’t bringing positive energy, they needed to go!
The Everyday Work
Clean up my habits and messaging. I consider the everyday work to be monitoring my habits and the messages I tell myself. I have gotten into the habit of Anthony De Mello what refers to in his book, Awareness The Perils of Opportunity of Reality, as “self-observation”. Being aware of what you are doing, thinking, acting, and your intentions. Basically be a positive coach for myself and calling myself out when needed. Through self-observation I am able to stop poor habits and negative self-messaging from taking over. Although engaging in these activities can be taxing, it is empowering and contribute to my self-confidence.
“Wherever possible, it’s important to quiet those negative thoughts that are providing reasons why you can’t do something.”Source: Entrepreneur
Clothes are important too. Also, what I put on my body is part of the everyday work to be confident. It may seem superficial but it is not. Here is why: when I wear clothes that fit me, look good on my frame, and feel fantastic, I feel feel empowered. I exude confidence as I feel aligned.
To wrap up, this is how I have developed my confidence. It is the continual internal, external, and everyday work that fuels my confidence. These are the activities that make me feel empowered and they might do the same for you. So, when someone says “wow, you are so confident” you will be able to say, “why wouldn’t I be confident?” because you are doing the work for it!