I take a few steps. I can feel my thighs wobble. And my waistband feels too tight. I keep walking. I still haven’t lost those 6 kilos I remind myself. I keep walking. I see a stunning female pass me by. I sink inside. I stare at my feet. How is it possible anyone can look that effortlessly glamorous? I feel like such a frump.
As I walk, it’s as if with each thought and each step the little confidence I do have drops lower and lower. I feel scruffy, I want to cover up, have a makeover, something! It’s not fair, why do I always feel that I don’t look right? I am thinner than I was when I was younger but I am still too fat for me… my hair always needs something doing, my nails always need a tidy up, always trying to fix and improve, never enough.
We can often feel ‘OK’ when we look in the mirror, we feel fine getting ready to go out. It’s only when we start connecting with others on TV, in person, on social media etc that we can’t help but compare our bodies, clothes and our self-esteem does our confidence seem to crumble oh so quickly.
The saddest realisation I made is that often the only person who brings our confidence down in the present moment is… US! We may have been called names or criticised before but in the past by people we likely haven’t seen for years, yet their words haunt our life now. It’s rare that we have someone right there in the moment of getting ready, going out, walking to the shops, catching up with friends who is telling us we don’t look good enough, we are overweight, we are not enough! Normally we are told how nice we look, how great we are but we ignore those words and believe our own. Our inferiority seems to be in our own minds and it’s showing up as real, and we believe it to be so. So many women say ‘I wish I had more confidence’ but we miss that we create our own within our own minds and we also swiftly bring ourselves down almost as if we are softening the blow in case someone else does criticise our appearance. Of course we can wait for validation from others but we may not get it, which may also lead to a sudden drop in our self-esteem. The reality is not many people are worrying about what we look like but us, they are often worrying about things in their own minds (mostly about them).
I was beyond fed up of always feeling insecure. It was such a regular pattern in me to bring myself down, call myself names and I know it was to avoid possible rejection because the pain of previous criticism haunted me still. The only rejection I was getting was my own. Every day.
So I decided one day, during a walk in town, to test if it really was ME doing all the criticising or not… If we can bring ourselves down, then surely we can also pick ourselves up?
1. Summoning energy
I stopped walking and stood out of sight for a moment and closed my eyes. I imagined an immense buzz of power coming up from the ground and filling my body with a great energy. I stood for a few more minutes feeling and willing my body to lift and energise. I was after the kind of energy that would put a real spring in my step, like when I used to skip along the street as a child. Full of ‘beans’ adults call it. I started to feel a bit full of beans just by imagining myself to be lighter! I almost wanted to skip like a 6 year old.
2. Get out of your head
Thoughts buzzing in circles means we are stuck in our heads so I needed to come back to my body again. I pulled out my phone and headphones and put on one of my favourite girl band, girl power (sans the spice girls) music, and let the beans really start jumping in me.
It was working, I almost wanted to break into song.
3. Move with intention
Out of nowhere I started to wiggle my bottom to the music as I walked, feeling my curves, wiggle (not wobble) and feeling almost sexy in the way I was walking, the music, my energy, my wiggling it was altering my mood. I imagined I was a curvy model walking my catwalk, owning the pavement.
I felt so much better.
4. Shine your light
I lifted my head and felt the beans of energy fill me up, lift me up and I decided to smile. At people, at life, at my secret knowing I had just filled myself with beans and nobody new any different. I felt powerful knowing that I just gave myself a confidence boost all by myself. No makeover, no change, just as I was. I started to think of all the things I felt grateful for. I looked around, with eyes that saw only wonder. Just like a child would. I was seeing what was there, not focusing on what was missing.
My little voice inside jumped in with a little fear… So it is really ME who brings me down each and everyday? Me who berates myself? Causes the sadness in me? The thought smacked me hard. I tried not to burst into tears at that because it felt so extremely sad. However I much prefer the feeling of wiggling and beans jumping so I carried on focusing on that feeling… and didn’t let this realisation kill my buzz, after all I didn’t want to be the reason I was flat again!
5. Highlight your assets
I reached into my bag and popped on a bit of lip gloss…and that was all I needed. I felt like a ‘new woman’… (this is just something personal to me that makes me feel good. It might be something different for you of course). I had music, energy, gratitude, bottom wiggling and lip gloss. All were easily accessible. All were things I know pick me up.
I had to laugh as I strutted along the street, who would believe it but 10 minutes ago I felt flattened by my average, ugly, fat, boring appearance (words I used on myself) … and now… I felt confident, maybe not a glamour model, but just fine as I was.
Why is it that we don’t feel we can take up our rightful place in the world? That we feel we need to hide away. Cover up, hang our heads down? Shouldn’t we all get to feel good about ourselves as we are? What are we afraid of? Is it still the haunting of the other girls at school that said mean things to us? Old boyfriends/partners? Where are they now? Let’s hope they are shaking their bums to Beyoncé too. We all deserve it. This isn’t a practice life remember, we mustn’t wait for happiness and confidence, we must find a way to feel it today.
When it comes to confidence we can give it to ourselves, wait for it or take it away… we can also let something someone said to us years ago do the same. We get to DECIDE how we want to feel. We just need to believe that we have that much power over our minds, more on that in posts to come!
1. Think about what makes you feel good, fill yourself with energy. You can do it, it is that simple!
2. Make a playlist of feel good music or find a song on Youtube and crank it up!
3. Get outside, go for a walk and look around with wonder just like you did when you were small.
4. Shake it, move it, own it – find a way to just pick up your sexiness and really ‘work it’.
5. Be empowered, are you happy to just stay in this headspace? … You really can get yourself out, with ease! I believe in you. If a manicure or lip-gloss or mascara make you feel good, do those things instead of things that keep you trapped in insecurity.
Leanne Ball – Eating & Mindset Mentor, Author and Founder of Loving Yourself to Health.