I was a chubby kid who morphed into an overweight adolescent, and still to this day, I remember the messages that I received about my body from those around me. Yes, there was teasing from other kids; sadly, that was to be expected. But there were also messages from the adult world that were equally painful. One that sticks out most to me even now is a family member who would ask “How’s your diet going?” when we went to visit. And no, I hadn’t told him I was on a diet, nor was this comment in any way prompted. It was simply his way of making small talk as he’d greet me when we visited...starting when I was in elementary school. Needless to say, I began developing insecurities around my weight and body early on. Sadly, these continued into my adult years, only growing stronger with time.
As a woman in her 40s living in a “larger body,” I now have a VERY different view of my body and bodies in general. First, I realize that my physicality is not what defines me. But even if it did, there is NOTHING wrong with me. I am in no way inferior because I am not as thin or athletic as someone else. I can celebrate my body for all that it allows me to do. And most importantly? I can love how my body looks…even if it doesn’t fit conventional ideas of what it “should” look like! So why am I telling you this? Because I think it’s important to remember that no matter how ingrained a belief is…no matter how lacking you are in confidence in one area or another…you CAN learn to not only accept yourself but to show up proudly and with confidence.
The problem is, this is very rarely a skill that we are taught! So if you’re unsure where to start, here are a few tips:
Identify the thought that is causing your lack of confidence.
Our experiences ALWAYS start with our thoughts, so the key to creating change is to focus on your thinking. If you are feeling insecurity, self-doubt, or lack of confidence, there is always a thought that is feeding that feeling. What is it?
Identify the outcome you want and some thoughts that might help you get there.
Maybe you want to feel more confident so you stop avoiding certain social situations. Maybe you believe increased confidence will allow you to speak up more at work and get noticed. Maybe you just want to stop doubting your talents. In any case, determining the result you want can help you to brainstorm the thoughts that might support it.
Try on some new thoughts and see how they “fit.”
Not every thought you come up with is going to resonate. Test them out. Practice and see how they feel. Are they believable, even if just a little bit? Do they bring up the feelings you want to have, feelings that will help you create the results you want? Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Practice your new thoughts and watch where they take you.
Make these new thoughts an intentional part of your day. Practice saying them to yourself regularly. Write them down. Record and listen to them. Try different ways to internalize them until you discover what works best for you, then commit to doing it regularly. Notice how your perspective starts to shift as you continue to practice.
Need some help working through this process? Let’s set up a call and see how I might help!