Dating and Relationship Advice

What Is Confidence?

When we think confident, we may think of a person who is always front and center. We imagine a person who is our ideal, the person we want to look like. For many of us, we don’t even consider that we are that person, or could ever be them!

Confidence is not only “firm trust” in ourselves and our abilities, but extends to the physical—to body confidence. What does it mean to be body confident, and why is it so difficult to feel confident within our bodies?

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) breaks down body image into 3 parts: beliefs about our appearance, feelings about our shape, and how we sense and control our bodies in motion. All these things impact the trust we have in our own bodies.

Feeling Less Than Perfect

Low confidence takes on many forms. Often it means feeling like we aren’t the right weight or the right height. It could also mean hating our skin, or thinking everyday is a bad hair day. The overarching theme is that we focus on our flaws and think exclusively in the negative.

When we fail to live up to a standard, it makes dating an even more daunting task. If we don’t feel confident, if we don’t feel happy with our physical selves, how will we expect others to? How are we going to be attractive to a future partner if we are not attractive to ourselves?

The conversation around body confidence is changing. Each era has its preferred standard of beauty, but all around us people are smashing the definitions of what bodies are beautiful and what bodies are desirable—and they’re bringing forth the very qualities people used to hide. They give us permission to allow us to fully celebrate ourselves—as we are.

Breaking Beauty Definitions

Music sensation Lizzo struggled with her own body dysmorphia. Instead of seeing her body as something to be disappointed in, she learned to love and accept her body for its unique shape and power, a journey she is frank about both in her music and interviews.

Look to Viktoria Modesto, who has no qualms about putting her prosthetic leg to work, showcasing it as a part of her artistic expression instead of hiding it. Or Dita von Teese, who got a beauty mark tattooed on her cheek, even though these run counter to the beauty standard of having flawless skin.

These body-positive role models show us that embracing who you are can give you new found appreciation for your body. Body confidence can be less about perfection, and more about turning a piece of vulnerability into a point of pride.

Embrace Imperfections

Unlike Lizzo, Viktoria, or Dita, we don’t have to be on a stage to achieve this quality. Instead, we can focus on surrounding ourselves with voices that support us. We can learn to stop seeing negative qualities in our bodies and know how sexy it is to be confident in our own skin. It’s as simple as loving the scar on our abdomen, making time to hug our round bellies, and appreciating the folds of our skin, even if they’re not in the “right” place.

For optimum body confidence, do not change the things that already make you beautiful. Learn to recognize beauty as missing the most important element: your happiness and satisfaction.