As you can probably imagine, there were all kinds of conversations going on this past weekend. With most of us never having met before, we were excited to get to know each other. It was pretty awesome because there was a high level of comfort present from the beginning.
With that being said, there was one topic that surprisingly came up quite a few times – body confidence.
The conversation initially started because we were so complimentary with each other – clothes, shoes, hair, makeup, you name it. I didn’t think too much of this, and it was actually nice to laugh and share hair and makeup tricks and tips. However, the compliments were then directed to each girls’ physical appearance. At first, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this. However, I started sensing that the follow-up to each of the compliments was a silent, “I’d love to have your _____.” This made me stop and think because even I engaged in that kind of thinking.
As we were walking around the city, one of the girls and I started talking about our past (and sometimes present) body confidence issues. She shared her story, and I shared mine. I told her that as we were getting ready earlier, I noticed her long, lean arms and was a little jealous. With a surprised look on her face, she told me that she was thinking the same thing about me and one of the other girls. It was almost like what we saw in the mirror was not the same as what others saw when they looked at us. For example, when I heard my new friend tell me that she was envious of my petite frame, I couldn’t believe my ears. In fact, I kept saying things like “no way” and “you just don’t know.”
Part two of the body confidence conversation occurred with a larger group of us the next morning. As I was getting dressed, a couple of girls commented on my small, petite frame and how lucky I was. To most, their comments would’ve been extremely flattering. I, however, stopped what I was doing, turned around to look at them (two tall, beautiful women by the way), and told them to stop it. Instead of being happy about what was being said, I was frustrated because by lifting one another up, we were putting ourselves down, and I was guilty of this as well. My conversation from the previous day kept coming back to me, and I realized how destructive both behaviors actually were. Complimenting others shouldn’t run parallel to not loving yourself, and accepting compliments shouldn’t run parallel to disbelief and self-doubt.
If I recall correctly, my exact statement to the group of girls was, “We are all beautiful – tall, short, curvy, flat, thin, thick. We have to love and accept ourselves. True beauty is a part of who you are, what you exude.”
Luckily, another girl agreed with me. She said that she thinks she’s sexy, therefore she is sexy. She doesn’t need anyone else to reaffirm her thoughts, although compliments are always nice!. She mentioned that negative thoughts and comparisons cross her mind from time to time, but she knows she’s an intelligent, competent, beautiful woman. She acknowledges that everyone’s bodies are different, and this fact should be celebrated. Her mindset is all about what she has, not what others have that she doesn’t.
Needless to say, her statements made us all stop and think. We asked her where her strong self-confidence and appreciation for her body comes from. We wanted her to divulge her secrets.
Well, it just so happens that this one isn’t a secret at all. Positive body confidence comes from within. YOU have to appreciate what you have. YOU have to make an effort not to engage in negative self-talk. YOU have to elevate others while not putting yourself down. YOU have to stop purposely looking for your so called flaws. YOU have to believe in yourself. YOU have to exude that confidence, baby, because it’s there, you just have to find it!
So while I can’t personally say that I am now 100% confident with my body, I can say that these conversations remind me to not be so hard on myself, to love myself, and to appreciate and be kind to the body I’ve been give.
Oh and they also remind me that I love girl talk!
When you hang out with your girlfriends, do you ever talk about body image and confidence?