The Power of Self-Love: How to Build Body Confidence from Within
I felt somewhat unsettled when I typed body confidence into Google Scholar this morning, and every publication on the first page was about body confidence in children. The bulk of my work is with adults, so I learn when the problems start through historical stories. Technological development has changed normal behaviour, such as multiple selfies and public posting of photographs. This increases the focus on body image in younger children, and therefore the need for more research on how to help younger people with body confidence.
After children, the articles focus on body confidence in women. When searching for body confidence alone, I get only research into women and children. Even a search for body confidence in men came up with very little. The research suggests that body confidence is a problem for females, adolescents, and children. I’ve worked with men who need help with low body confidence. I’m yet to learn whether few men suffer with body confidence issues or like crying, men feel they shouldn’t or can’t talk about low body confidence.
What is body confidence?
If you have low body confidence, you’re likely to feel unhappy with the way you look and attach this to your self-worth. You’ll place great importance on current beauty ideals and spend a lot of time trying to reach these ideals. You’ll expend energy into feeling self-conscious, and invest in your appearance.
Body confidence describes someone who holds positive regard for their body, with a strong sense of self and knowledge that their value is not attributable to their physical appearance. Someone with a strong sense of self can describe their personality traits, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, personal morals, and the things that motivate them. The knowledge that these things contribute to self-image more than physical appearance strengthens body positivity.
The beauty myth and advertising cause and perpetuate low body confidence, primarily in women. Low body confidence increases the risk of depression, substance abuse, self-harm, and promiscuous behaviour. The only better time than today to find techniques to increase your body confidence was yesterday, or last week!
How to Build Body Confidence
Frustratingly, you can’t help your friend with their body confidence by telling them how great they look. Neither will standing in front of the mirror desperately trying to like your reflection, improve your body confidence. Body confidence isn’t something that comes from forcing yourself to accept the way you look. You can increase the confidence you have in your body by doing the following three things.
Exercise: Research shows exercise improves body confidence. Some people with low body confidence shudder at the thought of exercise. If this is you, consider why. There are many ways to bring exercise into your life. With the help of a therapist, you’ll find one that feels comfortable to you. A hypnotherapist will help you explore the options, work out a realistic plan, and use hypnosis to help you with discipline to make the lifestyle change.
Sense of Self: Therapy will give you the opportunity to explore your sense of self with someone who has experience asking relevant questions and reflecting your own words back to you in clear statements. However, you can spend time alone working through this yourself to form a strong sense of self.
Consider these questions, What… are my strengths? Am I passionate about? Interests me? Brings me joy? Are my values and does my lifestyle align with these? Do I make choices based on my interests or the interests of someone else?
When you have a strong sense of self, it’s easier to appreciate who you are. You’ll hopefully end up with a clear list. Some things you’ll like and others you won’t. Focusing on the things you like about yourself increases confidence. If you find things you don’t like, you can create the opportunity to change them by making a plan and goals. A therapist will help you with this.
Kindness: when you love your body, you’re more likely to treat it kindly. Kindness to your body improves it, so you’re more likely to love it! To trigger this positive cycle, you’ll need to fake the love. Treat your body like you do love it, nourish yourself with nutritious food and water. Practice self-care as routine and exercise regularly. The more love you show your body, the more you’ll naturally love it.
Low body confidence sometimes stems from childhood trauma. The above ideas will build body confidence, but some people will benefit from therapy to deal with deep rooted issues. If you’d like to come for a free initial consultation to discuss this further, please click on the button below.