I’ve seen a lot of people in their underwear. (Usually in their closet, trying on clothes to see what to toss and what to keep.)
The surprising thing?
People that I would judge as having a perfect or nearly perfect body were the hardest on themselves and the furthest from body acceptance. These were the people who were serious about fitness. The sad fact that struck me was that they weren’t even enjoying all the hard work they had invested to look good.
For me, fitness to look good is great but fitness to feel good is better.
In 10 years as an image stylist, let me tell you the secret I learned in closets with naked people.
Feeling Good has nothing to do with Looking Good.
I’ve seen rubenesque women joyfully and proudly bounce around nude in a locker room full of self-critical women and chubby dudes charm the pants off beautiful ladies. It really is all about confidence and loving yourself. It’s about expressing your soul and a soul is something we all love to witness. When we watch you express yourself with zest and flair, we fall in love with you, too.
How do we acquire more of this juicy (body) confidence?
Any way we can.
First and foremost, fire your critics. Stop comparing yourself with unreal photoshopped images of bodies. Turn off the TV, unsubscribe from magazines and go have fun in your body. Stop looking in the mirror and judging the parts of you that aren’t ‘perfect’. Be NICE! Make amends with the parts of you that you judge. Stop replaying the unkind words you have heard in your life. Hit delete on memories that do not serve you. Remember and replay the compliments. Give yourself a little pom pom team in your head that cheer you on as you do anything nice for yourself and your body.
Start buying clothes that make you look and feel good. (I love helping people finally see how gorgeous they are!) Sometimes you need an outside perspective to finally ditch a negative body story.
For me (the whitest, most cellulite-prone, short, curvy girl on any beach) it starts with self-tanner, builds with a swimsuit in the right color and shape and gets knocked out of the park with workouts that firm my curves. My body confidence has been 20 years in coming and hard won.
I rock it on the dance floor. I rock it in my favorite dresses and shoes. I use all my forces of design and feminine skill and mental intentionality and I think the best thoughts about myself to bring the most fabulous woman that I know myself to be into any situation.
Recently, that situation was backing myself down a ladder off a boat in front of about 50 men and women I’d never met on a famous Southern Sandbar. (Are you feeling me here?) If you have any story about the size or lumpiness of your butt, I know you’re feeling me here. All I was thinking about was how quickly and quietly I could get in that water.
Unbeknownst to me, a friend had been ogling me backing down that ladder and mentioned that more than a few of these observers were quite pleased with the new white, short, curvy person.
My point is that people see us differently than we see ourselves. Happy people will immediately see what they love about you. (Miserable people hate themselves, so ignore them.) Happy people might love your curves, your eyes or your laugh. You just don’t know what part of you is that magic that will capture hearts and make them swoon.
My smile and my energy and my joy of life captivate. That’s the magic pill that they won’t tell you in the magazines. The opposite sex isn’t looking for your nearly perfect body as much as they are looking for a vibrantly alive being that’s having fun in the moment, with them…… not when everything is “perfect.” (Because nothing is or ever will be.)
You have great and beautiful parts of your physicality. Celebrate those shoulders. Circle those hips. Flex those biceps. Take those abs and legs out dancing! Work what you’ve got. My request is that you do so with a flirty smile and make others feel good about themselves while you’re feeling good about you. Decide that FEELING GOOD in your body is your goal.
It’s time to celebrate how much you love yourself and appreciate your meat suit. This life is the party you’ve come here for. Show up as your best, most happy, vibrantly joyful you and you’ll feel good no matter what you’re wearing, even if it’s just your undies.