Sexy Summer Confidence
A guest post by Luna Matatas
Summertime welcomes warmer temperatures, patio life, beach hangs and also waves of ‘bikini bod’ pressure. This is the idea that there is a certain type of body and appearance that would make you acceptable, sexy and ready for summertime. Many of us deal with insecurities wondering if everyone is noticing our hairy toes, excessive sweating, stretchmarks, skin discoloration, body hair and odours, acne, jiggles and juicy parts and a billion other things that are not up to society’s beauty standards. It can be tough to feel vibrant, sexy and confident with all of these external expectations...but it is possible!
We All Went To Shame School
No matter how deeply rooted body shame is in your way of seeing yourself, remember that it was planted there by external conditioning. You likely didn’t place such great importance on equating your appearance to your worthiness until you were taught to.
We learned from advertising and media what bodies are good and what bodies are bad. We learned through generational shame being passed down onto us telling us what is appropriate for our bodies, what will make them palatable to the world. We’ve learned from cat-calling, criticism from intimate partners, the fashion industry not serving clothing in our sizes, and so much more. The shame we learn shapes how we look at ourselves, who we measure our appearance standards against and what we determine is ‘appropriate’ for the bodies that we are living in. The beauty is that you can un-learn this shame.
Confidence is a Feeling
Shame steals us out of the pleasures of the present moment. It tells us there is a more beautiful moment happening that we aren’t a part of because of how we look. Notice moments where what you think of your appearance steals energy and joy from you. Tapping into the tornado of thoughts that body shame gives us is a great way to disempower it.
Here are some of the times that my body shame has stolen pleasure from me:
- Didn’t buy the outfit in red because I thought black was more slimming
- Didn’t finish the food on my plate because I thought I should look like I was trying to eat less
- Didn’t wear the bikini I bought because I thought people would be horrified by my belly
- Didn’t go to the picnic because I thought I’d sweat profusely
- Didn’t post the selfie of me in a cute summer dress I thought was sexy because I didn’t think anyone else would agree
Confidence encourages us to feel what is happening right now. It begs us to tap into our sensual experience and feel, see, touch, taste and smell without self-judgement. It asks us to be unapologetic in taking up the space we desire. Confidence reminds us we aren’t in competition with anyone and that empathy feels better than envy.
Self-Adoration is Radical
Self-adoration inspires us to celebrate ourselves right now. It inspires us to feel special, capable and beautiful as-is. It tells us we are worthy of pleasure. You don’t have to love your stretch marks or double chin, but you can learn to navigate the ways in which how you feel about your appearance blocks connection to ways of feeling good.
Here are some ideas to get you started with shoving shame over and making more space for pleasure:
- Take care of the body you’re in - focus on staying hydrated, getting rest and managing sun exposure so you can do all the fun things you want to.
- Find moments where you can give yourself pleasure; for example spending a little bit longer massaging shampoo into your scalp in during your shower or intentionally admiring your skin as you apply moisturizer/sunscreen or buying yourself flowers.
- Feast your food - enjoy the look, smell and taste of your food, prepare a meal for yourself like you would if you were making dinner for a date.
- Curate your social media; follow body positive influencers who don’t look conventionally beautiful.
- Flirting with yourself in the mirror - give yourself a wink or a smile during your grooming routines.
- Improve your posture even minutes at a time - push your shoulders back, stop sucking your tummy in, and let go of any tension clenching in your body.
- Wear your favourite colour on your nails, lips, underwear, clothing.
- Notice what feels good without thinking what looks good; for example put on your favourite song and dance with your eyes closed.
If you’re surrounded by diet talk or bikini body talk, find a way to feel empathetic for the struggle your peers are in, send love to their bodies and yours at the same time for all of us struggling under the same oppressive system that distracts us all from our joy.
Self-Confidence Doesn’t Have To Be Seasonal
Self-confidence doesn’t have to be seasonal. The external, scripted standards of beauty serve someone else’s gaze and while the systemic violence of this is real, you don’t have to miss opportunities to give it the finger. You can reclaim it through little moments of taking up space by finding ways to feel good. It’s tough work, so be gentle with yourself when you struggle to believe in yourself. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a bestie who wasn’t feeling themselves. Every moment you do this, you’re inspiring someone else to live, breathe and play in their own power.
This post was written by Luna Matatas.
This is the second blog post for our 2019 Summer of Self-Love! Every week for 12 weeks, we're sharing questions, activities or ideas that we hope will help you fall more in love with yourself this summer. You can find our first post here, or sign up for our Summer of Self-Love Newsletter here.