As a boudoir photographer, the number one excuse I receive from hesitant potential clients is, “I would love to have sexy photos taken, but I’m just not confident enough in my body right now. Maybe after I lose a few pounds.”
I definitely understand feeling this way, I’m currently on a health-focused weight loss journey, myself. Losing weight can be empowering and, yes, it can help you feel more confident. However, letting your size be an excuse to not do something is about the worst decision you can make. Trust me. I know.
I have no photos from my high school graduation because I felt too fat to have my photos taken. Actually, there are no good photos of me from the time I turned about sixteen to when I had my engagement photos taken in 2015. Why? I felt too large to be pretty. I thought I wouldn’t look good in those photos, so I wouldn’t let anyone take them.
Now, an entire 7-year chunk of my life is a memory-less black hole because I was too focused on the traits I considered my flaws. I thought it would be painful to look back at those times because of my size. And you know what? It is painful, but not because I was “fat”… It’s painful because I want those memories, and they’re gone.
Now, I let people take my photo whenever they want, and I get photos taken professionally every chance I get. Even when I’m not feeling my prettiest. How did I get to this point?
In the moments when I’m not feelin’ myself, I actively work through a few of the following 10 things. I put this list together over the last week or so, whenever I found myself engaging in one of the activities that help me feel better about myself.
So, without further ado:
1. Allow Yourself to Occupy Space
This is important. Too many people try to shrink themselves to fit into the space they think they deserve. They do this both physically and by hiding key parts of their personalities. It’s a defense mechanism seen everywhere in prey animals. They make themselves small, cowering and showing their bellies in order to not make a fuss or draw the attention of predators. Never shrink yourself for the comfort of others. Think big, and TAKE UP SPACE.
2. Walk Tall
Walking tall is more than just good posture. Slouching is an unconscious form of shrinking yourself. Even just carrying yourself upright, with your chest out and your chin up, can help you feel more confident. Treat life like a runway and work it. Strut your stuff and all that jazz. Bonus points for actually doing the catwalk stomp and letting your hips sway with sass.
Right now. Even if you just pace around the house or take a stroll around the block. Get up and move your body in some way, and you’ll feel this little spark of pride for having done something good for you. While you move, think about how amazing it is that your body allows you to go anywhere and do anything, just with a few electrical pulses from the wrinkly ball of smart-mush inside your skull. You are an incredible creature!
4. Tell Your Body What You Love
This one was my least favorite at first, because it felt so fake and insincere. But, did you ever hear the phrase, “Fake it till you make it”? This is that phrase in action. It could be your gorgeous eyes, wavy hair, or that booty. Just make an effort to find and consciously point out the things you like about you! Even small things, when remembered during those dark moments of self-loathing, can help remind you that it isn’t all bad.
5. Take A Shower
The simple act of caring for your body can elevate your mood greatly. Let all the negative juju float away with the hot steam and focus on feeling clean and refreshed. Wash yourself with care and take your time. For me, this is particularly helpful when I’m going through one of my depressive episodes and haven’t bathed in days. Show your body some TLC, and you will feel better, little by little.
6. Treat Yourself Like Your Bestie
As I suggested in this post, treat yourself with the same care, patience, and kindness that you would give to your closest friends and family when they’re feeling low. What would you say to your bestie, or your sister or brother, if they came to you with words of self-hatred? Give yourself that same pep-talk, and remember, you deserve the same treatment as you give to the ones you love. Be gentle with yourself.
7. Have a Healthy Snack
Don’t worry about calories or sugar content for a minute and eat something that will fuel your body in all the right ways. My personal favorite is a sandwich of hard-boiled eggs and cucumbers, with mustard, on whole grain bread. Nom. The conscious choice to eat something healthy, for me, is always enough for a little confidence boost. Every little choice affects us, and this decision to eat, maybe, ONE vegetable today is a choice that affects you in the best way. Nourish yourself, and don’t be ashamed of feeling proud of that one vegetable!
8. Humbug to Humble
Being humble is overrated AF. Be proud of your best traits and accomplishments, it isn’t narcissistic, it’s healthy, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Brag about yourself! Anyone who tries to beat your pride down is someone you don’t need in your life.
Story time. My grandfather has repeatedly said something to me throughout my life that has stuck with me through everything:
“Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn… No one else is going to do it for you.”
Only the worst type of person tries to muffle or silence someone else’s horn. So, for the love of whatever you believe or don’t believe in, don’t do it to yourself!
9. Modest is NOT Hottest
I’m from Utah, where “Modest is Hottest” and “Porn Shoulders” are two unfortunate traits of our little corner of the Rockies. Here’s the thing though. There is nothing good or positive about shaming people into hiding the parts of their bodies that make you either uncomfortable or a little too comfortable.
You are not responsible for anyone else’s reaction to you. So, you love your booty? Wear the short shorts that make it look ah-mazing. To hell with the opinions of others. NEVER hide yourself for fear of what other people will think of you if you didn’t. You don’t even have to leave the house, if you’re not quite at that level of no-fucks-given, yet. But, you know that one outfit that makes you a little horny for yourself? Throw that baby on and Work. It.
Work it, even if you’re just doing house chores. Trust me, when you find yourself catching your own eye every time you walk past your reflection and thinking, “Hot damn.” It’s so worth it.
10. Get Physical
No, this is not a second exercise entry. I want you to literally love your body (or invite someone else to love your body with you) by exploring it!
Yes, guys, I’m telling you to masturbate, because even if it’s just for one moment, you will feel sexy. Plus, you get a bonus rush of happy chemicals in the process, and what’s better than that? Not much.
I don’t do ALL 10 of these things every day, but even just taking the time to focus on performing ONE act of self love from this list will massively help your confidence, and if you make a daily ritual of it, who knows? You may even truly love yourself one day.