Whether your name is Beyonce or Scarlett, lets face it, we all have our down days where we just feel a bit rubbish. We’ve all been there, we’re all human.
We look in the mirror and can see all of our teeny flaws staring back. Our hang-ups are more prominent at that moment for whatever reason and it can leave us feeling a bit flat.
We see pictures of ourselves on social media from less flattering angles and start spiralling into ‘Do I really look like that?’.
We scroll through Instagram to reveal picture perfect bodies, bouncy hair and gleaming smiles.
I don’t think social media helps – because it’s essentially one big feed of everyone’s ‘body confident’ moments and the other side of the coin is rarely documented (though, there are a fabulous bunch of girls on Instagram showing both!) and so often, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of feeling less than body confident. It’s a bit of a catch 22, because when you’re in the cycle of feeling rubbish about yourself – it projects onto your mood and deflates your self-worth. It can have such a detrimental affect and I do worry that this issue is only going to get worse as generations grow up absorbing more of the world around them via Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
So whether you’re feeling a bit crappy, or just need a pick me up – here are ten super simple ways to improve your body confidence, without any need for changing yourself one teeny bit.
Because you’re fab, as you are.
Photography by Kaye Ford
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Eat to make your body happy
While some body confidence articles might encourage you to increase your exercise levels or lower your calorie intake, I truly believe in the mantra that you should eat to make your body happy.
Not to be confused with ‘your mind happy‘ or ‘your cravings happy‘.
I don’t think fad diets EVER really work, unless you have the willpower of Arnold Schwarzenegger and regardless, it’s only a short term solution.
Plus when you tell yourself you are controlling what you eat for aesthetic purposes, you start to get into this cycle of guilt if you eat something that ‘isn’t allowed’.
It does absolutely nothing for your body confidence.
I’ve done every bloody diet plan going and none of them work.
The only way I truly started to feel good in my own skin was when I started eating and exercising to make my mind and body happy.
I banished any associated guilt and allowed myself to eat everything and anything, in whatever quantity I wanted, as long as it made me feel good, truly good, afterwards.
This can be a bit of trial and error, because at first I devoured chocolate cakes and ice-cream to my hearts content with no guilt attached – however the key was listening to my body afterwards. Did I feel light, free and energised?
After an initially rather brief period of satisfaction, I felt sluggish, tired, moody, even hungrier and my tummy started growling at me in despair.
I also sat on the toilet for about half an hour later that evening (I soon realised I was severely dairy intolerant).
Similarly, nibbling lettuce leaves like a rabbit wasn’t making me happy either.
I felt hungry, I didn’t like the taste, I felt like I was depriving my body and I didn’t enjoy my meal.
So it’s about finding a balance between the two.
Things that DO make my body happy include tofu, chicken and vegetable fajitas, guacamole, thai red curry, falafels, hummus.
When you eat to make your body happy, you feel far more confident and contented. I know it sounds a bit odd at first, but it’s the best advice I could ever offer because it’s changed my life.
“The only way I truly started to feel good in my own skin was when I started eating and exercising to make my mind and body happy.”
Banish body hair
Obviously this isn’t much of a quick, overnight fix either however as weird as it sounds, laser hair removal gave me body confidence I wasn’t expecting to gain.
Having unwanted hair and fuzz can be such a pain – and it was often the key to not wanting to jump straight into a bikini or wear something that showed off my legs and made me feel good.
I’ll let you into a little secret here, my ‘body hair‘ grows quicker than grass in the summertime.
For while I’ve always wanted long, flowing, thick Rapunzel hair on my head, the only hair that actually seems to grow – is everywhere but. Nowadays, being ‘ready’ at all times and not having to worry about unwanted hair is so freeing and I can’t explain the feeling of not needing to shave my armpits EVERY single bloody day.
I started a course of laser hair removal with Pulse Light Clinic back in April, who have a number of locations across London and are specialists in their field. I’ve had three treatments so far and I’ve been mega impressed with the results.
Each one takes about five minutes per session (so you can literally get it done in your lunch break), there’s no down-time and all you have to do is make sure you don’t give the area any sun exposure.
Which is absolutely easy peasy for my underarm area because when I do sunbathe, I tend not to do it with my arms over my head.
In the weeks following your zapping (which by the way, is completely painless and I’m a wimp) you’ll notice the hair in that area getting thinner and thinner before falling out completely. Then you’ll have a few weeks where you won’t need to shave and then slowly, as the next hair cycle grows in – the prickly bits will start to show again. Then, it’s time for your next appointment.
They usually say that a course of 5-6 treatments every six weeks will do the trick because that covers every hair growth cycle, but Pulse Light are so super friendly (and you see them so frequently, they feel like friends) that you can discuss your plan as you go through the process.
For a quick, easy and painless waxing experience, I’d recommend Strip – not only do they have tonnes of branches all over London, but they make what is usually quite a traumatic experience, surprisingly enjoyable. Jazz things up with a scented wax – where the treatment room is themed to suit your choice of scent, chocolate, olive or orange!
Be totally yourself
I think as we grow up and go through our school years, our minds are slowly warped into thinking that we have to ‘fit in’ and conform in order to be liked.
I know it was certainly the case for me anyway.
And while my mum was always my biggest cheerleader and encouraged me to be totally and unapologetically myself, I still had this niggling feeling that I had to ‘be’ somebody else to be liked. That I had to like the things that other people liked, wear the things other people wear and act in a certain way to obtain approval from my peers.
I still kept parts of me but I wasn’t totally myself. I didn’t let everything that made me unique shine, because I wasn’t sure I wanted them to. I always held something back – and I think it’s why I’ve struggled making and keeping friends.
And while I’m definitely not 100% confident in all situations (there are still certain people and situations that make me hide parts of me and shy away from who I am), I’ve definitely learned to be totally myself and not worry about what others think.
I’m contented in the fact that not everyone is going to like me, not because I’m a bad person or because I don’t conform, but because we’re different people. Hopefully they respect that I’m different and they are different, but if not – that’s okay too.
Life is far too short not to be you. There’s only one of you after all, don’t let you go to waste!
Comparison is the thief of joy
Now this is a BIG one, because how often do we compare ourselves – especially online. A lot.
Even without realising that we’re doing it. I think it’s very easy to assume that everyone has their life sussed just because they know how to put a fabulous filter on their swanky picture and come up with a witty caption. But as we all know, life just doesn’t work that way.
We ALL have battles that we’re fighting on a daily basis. Inner battles, exterior battles, public battles and health battles.
No-one is perfect, regardless of how much it might look that way.
And so when we compare two opposing projections – how we see ourselves – which is always going to be more critical – and how another person projects themselves to the world or to you – we are putting two totally different things side by side. They are incomparable. And so when we say comparison is the thief of joy, it really is.
Your story and your path is so different, so unique, it’s not worth comparing it to someone else. You shouldn’t compare the behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.
Life isn’t a catwalk, you don’t have to be perfectly polished.
Your beauty and confidence resides in your own humility and self belief.
Shop the outfit:
One of my all-time favourite quotes is ‘Blowing out someone’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter‘. You can admire someone else’s successes, beauty and talents without questioning your own.
I’ll be totally honest here, I have ALWAYS celebrated the talents and beauty of others without feeling insecure about my own.
When I feel a slight pang of any kind of jealously or envy, I make sure it’s projected into admiration – because let’s face it, that’s what it really is.
To feel ‘jealous’ in any form, we are admiring that someone else has done well or looks fantastic.
And so rather than let it eat me up or turn me into a monster, I make sure I let the other person know just how fabulous I think they are or look.
If I see a beautiful well-dressed lady, I don’t feel less fabulous myself. But I’ll sure as hell make sure I tell her, pay her a compliment – and hey, I’ll be honest – I’d rather strike up a conversation and be her friend. Because we can never have enough sassy friends who are in-the-know about Zara’s new in pieces and can give you tips about mastering that bouncy blow-dry.
Surround yourself with the people you admire, make sure they know you admire and celebrate them – and this will only make YOU feel more confident.
Admiration is a beautiful quality projected by confident people, jealously can make us bitter, feel rubbish and lower our own self-worth. It’s not worth taking any notice of!
Sprinkle kindness like confetti
Okay, so admittedly the above is a bit of a cringeworthy statement, but I love the ethos behind it.
Kindness is such an underrated quality because it makes others feel good and YOU feel good about yourself too.
Whenever I am responding to anything – positive or negative – I try my very best to be kind. Or the kindest version of myself.
Not only because you don’t know the battles others are facing (see above) but also because you cannot be criticised or berated for kindness.
Kindness kills any further negativity.
Or if it does continue, then it helps you to decode whether someone is a nice person, or someone to make sure you’re not investing any of your precious time in.
For example, whenever I get a negative comment on my YouTube channel – however cruel – I’ll respond with ‘I am sorry you’re having a bad day, but I really hope the rest of your week is lovely’.
For someone to be nasty, they can’t be in a very happy, positive place in their life.
And so the only really productive, helpful way to deal with it, is to not engage and instead, sprinkle kindness.
I do genuinely hope that whatever place they are in that they felt it was okay to say something horrible about me, that they do come out the other side and feel content in themselves and their own ability to be kind.
Plus of course, offering kindness to friends, family and individuals is another way to feel fantastic about yourself and bring others up too.
Perhaps someone is feeling not so body confident themselves and then you swing in with a genuine compliment and it brightens their day and takes the edge off the negative feelings they are experiencing.
We rise, by lifting others.
Update your go-to outfits
You know the ones I mean. We all have those go-to outfits that we can’t help but feel confident in.
Maybe it’s a pair of slinky high waisted jeans that fit just right, maybe it’s a dress that hugs you in all the right places.
When we’re having an unconfident day, it’s the things you can throw on and still feel fabulous in. Well while I think we have some pieces that carry us through a lifetime, I do think it’s worth spending that little bit extra time or money on searching for some go-to pieces or outfits that suit the season.
Updating them seasonally can mean that you always have an outfit to turn to, even if you’re having one of those tearful ‘I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR’ days, which involves dramatically throwing most of your clothes into a heap and then flinging yourself on top for a loud sob.
I know I’m a tad biased, but honestly, Jody Bell’s designs – especially my halter-neck playsuits – are my go-to pieces, so much so that I have one in every colour (well, black, blue, pink and nude). It nips me in at the waist, shows off my shoulders (which oddly, are one of my favourite parts of myself) and skims past all the niggly bits that I don’t really like.
“Your beauty and confidence resides in your own humility and self belief.”
And I don’t just mean to a new dress or pair of shoes (see above, for my justifiable excuse for new materialistic items), nope I mean treat yourself to something that’s really going to make you feel good and challenge your body hang-ups.
Whether you’re a blogger or not, I think a confidence shoot can do wonders for how you see yourself and how you project yourself both online and in real life. There’s nothing more satisfying that a snazzy new profile picture that makes you feel good – so it’s even better when you have some swanky new PRO-fesh shots!
I would highly recommend Alex Cameron for any kind of confidence shoot or simply some new headshots. There’s something so classically beautiful about your work that you almost feel a privilege to be the focal point. She offers specific confidence shoots, which many friends have done and I know it does absolute wonders for self-confidence but it also pushes you out of your comfort zone and allows you to really get in-tune with yourself and appreciate your own beauty, which is something we don’t do enough of!
I also HIGHLY recommend the fabulous Kaye Ford, who actually shot the snazzy images in this post. She makes you feel super comfortable in front of the camera and puts you at complete ease (even if you’re a tad awkward – like I am) and she makes the whole experience really fun! Her images are breathtakingly stunning and she’s a firm favourite among the blogosphere world! I love that you can instantly tell when an image has been shot by Kaye!
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Don’t base your self-worth or confidence on the opinions of others.
It’s taken me a LONG time to come to terms with the fact that not everyone is a nice person and not everyone is going to like you.
Not everyone is going to be kind in the way that you are – and sometimes, they feel the need to make negative comments about you that don’t make you feel so good.
I remember an occasion when I was younger where I’d found myself a sassy new skirt while on a school trip (it was bright orange, I might add – for extra sassiness, obvs) and did a little mini haul for my friends on the walk home.
The next day, a so-called friend went back to the shop, bought the same skirt – only two sizes smaller, because she had a fabulous figure and worked out a lot. She then made a point of saying she’d look better in it than me because hers was an extra small and mine a medium.
It got to the point I almost took the bloody skirt back because she’d expressed an opinion that quite frankly, was very bitchy and catty but nevertheless, her opinion. However I decided to ignore her and wore the skirt all the same, teaming it with a bright pink crop top. 100 points for styling, Scarlett!
As far as I recall, she never wore hers. But regardless, it’s not about the skirt. It’s about not letting the opinions of others plague your own confidence or your own opinions. Opinions aren’t facts, we don’t need to worry about what others think – even if they’re close friends.
Obviously if they have your best interests at heart and it’s a constructive opinion, it’s often worth listening and juxtaposing it against your own but there is a difference.
People have their right to an opinion and you have a right to ignore it.
“People have their right to an opinion and you have a right to ignore it.”
Replace negative with positive
And finally, regardless of who we are and however hard we try to banish negativity about our own body and our own self-worth, as I said – we’re all human.
We’re all going to feel a bit crap from time to time. It’s not about banishing it and punishing yourself when you feel this way. It’s about altering your thought patterns to replace cruel self-criticism with affirmations about ourselves. It’s about loving, cherishing and respecting ourselves.
Because what YOU think about yourself is far more important than what others think of you.
Whenever that little niggling devil jumps on your shoulder to offer a negative comment, bat him away and replace it with an affirming thought about yourself.
Replace ‘my skin looks bad and my eyes look tired’ with ‘I’ve worked really hard these past few weeks and should be proud of myself’.
Replace ‘I’ve eaten too much and now I feel flabby’ with ‘I deserved to indulge but now I’m going to look after myself‘. I know it sounds a bit picky, but how you frame things can change how you set and see yourself.
I know this also sounds super weird but being gentle with yourself also really helps to affirm this tip.
For example, when I’m feeling a bit bleurgh, I’ll twist my hair or pull my tummy flab and I’ll screw up my face.
Try and be more gentle, physically, with yourself and take care of it. When you’re rubbing in your moisturiser, massage it rather than dolloping it on.
When washing your hair with shampoo, massage it in (like they do in the hairdressers) and when you’re taking off your make-up, gently wash it in circles, before steaming your face with a warm flannel.
These little things, do make a real difference!
Do you have any tips to improving confidence? Or have you tried any of the above and they’ve worked?