Sonia Styling is one of my favourite blogs. Honestly, this gorgeous chick is so much wiser and more together than I was when I was 30. And of course, she is super stylish. Every week she puts herself out there on her blog, wearing all manner of gorgeous outfits, and this summer she even shared photos of herself in swimwear. Brave, right? So I asked her to share with us what she knows about body confidence…
When the fabulous Champagne Cartel girls asked me to share 10 things I know about body confidence, I responded with a rather enthusiastic “SURE!”…
…and then promptly began to doubt myself.
Because that’s what we do as women, don’t we?
Well, that’s definitely what I do. All. The. Time. And when it comes to body confidence, I do not consider myself an expert nor am I 100% in love with my body. I’m very much smack in the middle of a path to self-love, which seems to have as many bumps and curves in it as my body does. Funny that!
But, because I made a promise to my gorgeous gal pals, I’ve gotten over myself and am sharing with you what I’ve learned (so far) about body confidence…
1. Bodies change.
At the age of 18, I can remember being mortified when I cracked the ceiling of 50kg. I used to think I was fat. Ridiculous, right?! I want to slap some sense into Teenage Sonia, because even though I was curvy I was by no means fat. Not even close. Now, at the age of 30 I have no idea how much I weigh but my body looks totally different to what it did 12 years ago. And you know what? That’s OK.
As women, our bodies are evolving and changing at every stage of life. We need to just sit back and roll with it because – to a certain degree – we simply can’t control it. Acceptance is the key to a happy disposition.
2. Everyone is beautiful. Including you.
This is such an overused phrase, but for good reason: it’s true. There’s no such thing as “real women” because all women are real and all women are beautiful. Including you.
Personally, I think there’s something to admire in everyone. That athletic girl can wear a shift dress and look fantastic in it. That bootylicious babe can cinch in her waist and work those curves like nobody’s business. That blonde haired, blue eyed cutie can really play up those sparkly peepers. That curly haired gal can rock those locks with power and volume. And me? I’ve got lovely brown eyes, nice hair, plenty of curves and a happy smile. How about you?
3. Celebrate your favourite parts.
You know that old saying, ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’? Live it!
Got great pins? Get ‘em out. Fabulous rack? Pump those girls up. Arms to rival Madonna? Show them off.
Whenever you put an outfit together, place extra emphasis on making sure the favourite bits of your body are on show and portrayed in a flattering light. This will ensure other people’s eyes are drawn to these parts and you can rock out with your… confidence out.
4. It’s OK to camouflage your not-so-favourite bits.
On the flip side, we all have parts of our body we don’t adore. So don’t make yourself feel uncomfortable by wearing things that don’t suit your shape just because it’s in fashion. Pick and choose the trends that suit you and work for you. Stick to the colours and cuts that make you feel fabulous.
Camouflage your least favourite bits with darker colours, clever tailoring, flattering prints and complimentary fabrics.
And if you happen to be one of those ladies who couldn’t give a shit? Good on you, girlfriend! Work it, own it, rock it.
5. Confidence can start from the outside.
Never underestimate the power of a good hair day! When my hair is styled well, I feel ready for anything. Same goes for a great outfit. I can walk around with my head held high, knowing I look my best and therefore feel at my best.
This doesn’t make us vain; it’s just that sometimes there’s an internal battle going on that no one else can see. So if we put a little extra effort into the way we look before stepping out of the house and into the world, knowing that we look good can be the armour we need to help us feel good too.
6. Battle scars prove you’re a survivor.
This one’s for those of us who have had surgery or other personal battles in our life.
I wore a back brace for five years during adolescence and had spinal surgery at the age of 15. I have a huge scar that runs down most of the length of my back and for years I was embarrassed by it and would hide it. Eventually I realised that it wasn’t a mark of imperfection, it was a symbol of survival.
Embrace those character building physical characteristics. They’ve helped make you who you are today. Remember, what doesn’t kill you does indeed make you stronger. And sexier (because if scars are sexy on guys, then why the hell not on girls too).
7. Silence the inner bitch.
You know the voice? The one that says you’re too fat/old/insert-self-critical-word-here. What a f**king jerk! Would you ever talk to your best friend that way? Of course not. So why do we tolerate such mean girl words to ourselves… from ourselves?
Kill that inner bitch with kindness when she tries to pipe up with a critical thought. Counteract the negative, toxic self-talk with a positive, self-esteem-building one. With practice, you’ll get better and faster at cutting through the bullshit chatter and replacing it with stuff that’s actually true.
8. Pay genuine compliments, accept them in return.
All too often we’ll think a lovely thought about someone, but will be too shy to say it and let the moment pass. Spit it out! Maybe she’s having a bad day or isn’t feeling her best, and your kind words will flip that script for her and put a smile on her face. And what a lovely thing to do for someone, don’t you think?
Same goes when someone returns the favour. Please don’t shut them down. They’ve put themselves out there to say something nice to you, so the least you can do is say ‘thank you’. And leave it at that. Actually, smile too. Because your smile is super pretty.
9. Aim to feel healthy. Not skinny.
If I wasn’t a person of such sunny disposition, I would have slapped the shit out of Kate Moss when she said, ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’. F**k that! It’s clearly been a number of years since Ms Moss last had a chocolate self-saucing pudding or combined popcorn with Maltesers at the movies.
Skinny means very different things to different people. Healthy means exactly the same thing to everyone. Having an ‘8’ written on the tags of your clothes isn’t going to guarantee you an illness-free life with no added bonus of wrinkles or cellulite.
Instead, let your lifetime goal be that of a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy everything in moderation. Exercise often. Celebrate. Dance. Laugh. And love the absolute bejeebus out of your one wonderful life (and body).
10. Be kind to yourself.
At the end of the day, you only have one body and it’s going to carry you through life. You’ve got to go to sleep with yourself and wake up with yourself. You’ve got to live with yourself every single day.
So why not make it a happy cohabitation?
Pay yourself a compliment daily. Cut yourself some slack. Don’t berate yourself if you skip a workout or have an extra glass of wine. Praise yourself when you do a great job. Reward yourself when you achieve your goal.
Treat yourself how you treat others.
BAM! I did it!
Ten things I know about body confidence.
Seems I can walk my talk after all…
How do you feel about your body?
Sonia is an Adelaide-based life and style blogger who adores fashion, writing, connecting on social media and if you pour her a glass of wine, she’ll love you forever. Her blog – Sonia Styling – is a cocktail of fashion, life, beauty and homewares, all served with a dash of sass, a sprinkling of humour and a generous pour of honesty.