Having body confidence really boosts your self-perspective. Your self-image, self-love, and self-esteem are all derived from having a positive body image.
Bodily autonomy is based on the principle of confidence and informed consent. This is important because it allows you to set boundaries around how others interact with your body and sometimes how your body is perceived.
When you feel confident in yourself you are able to accomplish your goals, whether they are physical, mental, or emotional. Bodily autonomy comes with the confidence of feeling empowered to make choices in how your body looks, feels, smells, experiences pleasure, and even tastes.
What is Body Confidence and Why is it Important?
Body confidence is feeling good about how you look. It can also impact your physical, emotional, and potentially sexual feelings of attractiveness about your body. The way that you feel about your body is often shaped by how you grow up as well as the media you consume.
Oftentimes you are subjected to the things you consume around you and put yourself in comparison. Body confidence is important because if you don’t have a healthy perspective about yourself, you may be more sensitive to how partners and others judge you, which may influence how you treat yourself or how you allow others to treat you.
The good news is that confidence can be created through affirmation actions and practice. Using art to can help you get there. Art allows you to let go of implicit bias or restrictions you may put on yourself because art is subjective and ever changing. The beauty of it is that art, no matter how often you do it, can ensue a new feeling, emotion, and experience every time.
Let’s look at five artistic ways you can build body confidence.
Body Art Murals
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Become your own Picasso and create a mural of your favorite body part. You can choose to be the physical art piece yourself, by adorning your genitals, torso, chin, or shoulder blades with brush strokes of color, splatter, or even the use of abstract materials. Or you can create your artwork on canvas. As you create your mural, allow your mind to curate visual representations of your personal perception of yourself. Take note of the thoughts and emotions that come up for you during the process. Think about why you may have chosen a specific color. Was it based on how you view that part of your body or your mood at that moment and what that color represents for you? The challenge is to be able to start with the body part you admire the least and create an attitude about it that brings you closer to it. If you feel that you lack confidence, then this exercise can be a representation of where you want to get to in terms of building yourself up.
Once you have completed your piece, walk away from it for a few hours or days. If you’ve chosen to paint yourself, be sure to take pictures of what you have created. Come back to review your piece, either the canvas or the pictures, and journal about what you see. What emotions are coming up for you? How would you describe your body in the image? Why did you choose the medium? Taking it a step further, recreate this same process for the same body parts until you have built a new impression of it for yourself. Then move on to other body parts and do the same thing.
Love Letter to Your Body
Words have meanings! That’s the sentence. Putting words together to affirm and hold space for your emotions and thoughts is powerful. Writing a love letter to your body can be a way to praise yourself when your confidence is low. The words can act as a reminder of just how precious and special you are. In your love letter, you can commit to keeping a promise to yourself. Maybe you will focus on prioritizing your pleasure, wearing clothes that make your body feel good, or stretch more frequently. Your love letter could be an expression of your feelings about your body, whether it is shame or praise. Tell your body how proud you are of it and how it surprises you by the wonderful things it can do. Tell your body that you care about it and your commitments to show it more frequently. Be mindful and intentional about the words you choose because when writing to your body, you internalize those words. In your letters, challenge yourself to also push through the ideologies that have been placed on you and that you want to release. Remember, you are the one in control. You create the narrative. When you share your feelings with yourself, be sure to hold space for the not so glorious moments. Dare yourself to think about how you can turn the negative things into a positive.
When you complete your love letter, allow it to breathe. Step away and then come back for reflection. During reflection write down all the positive things you wrote and place them in a jar or shoebox. This will be your “wisdom jar.” When you need a quick reminder of how amazing your body has been to you or just a boost of good energy to hype yourself up, go to your jar and read one of your affirmations from yourself. For the negative thoughts and concerns you have, I invite you to also write them down but instead of keeping them, read them aloud and then write 2-3 statements that contest those thoughts and add those to your jar instead. How you talk and speak to your body is a direct reflection of the confidence you have.
Move Your Body
Movement helps you connect with yourself like no other. When you move, you body releases endorphins that help you feel pleasure. Letting your body move freely helps to release tension that you hold subconsciously. It also allows you to capture the beauty of your body and its nuances. Challenge yourself to do a 20 minute daily stretch, attend a dance class, or simply just move as you please. Movement acts as a vessel to build self esteem and cognitive function. Through movement, you can explore how the movement connects you to your body by finding new realizations of how your body moves.
Another fun component to this activity is recording yourself and replaying it. Simply view the video and take note of how your movement is coming across in the video. Are you moving with grace, or are you moving like you are carrying a weight? How do you feel, what emotions are coming up for you. By reflecting on your observations, you can start to recognize how you are perceived by others around you. The challenge is to not criticize yourself and to think of how confident and content you look.
Oftentimes you do not think about how the music you listen to is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself in different areas in your life. Think about when you are fed up with a situation, you may listen to music that reflects your current emotions, or when you are happy you may do the same.
Create a playlist that speaks to your body confidence. One that makes you feel beautiful, powerful, and in charge of your attitude toward your body. Play this when you are feeling down, or just as a daily reminder of your worthiness.
Compassion When the Negative Thoughts Occur
Not everyday will be a walk in the park. There will be days when your body just does not agree with you and you can’t get rid of the negative thoughts. On days like that, admitting that you are having a hard time seeing the good can help quite the internal conflict. You can’t live in denial and forcing yourself to be positive doesn’t automatically lead to a positive outcome. Once you do that, remind yourself that even though you feel bad, you will still treat yourself well. You deserve to treat yourself, and your body, with love regardless of how you or anyone else makes you feel that day.
Your growth in how you perceive yourself will change and each time you complete one of the activities, you may notice something different in how you viewed it from the last time. When done, evaluate your moments of clarity and check in with your emotions and feelings. Record what you notice and when you complete the activities again, notice what changed from the last time.
Building body confidence is a commitment. There are so many sources that aim to make you critique and betray yourself but as you become aware of that, it begins to lose its power.
Not sure how to get started or want space to process as you create? Schedule a FREE discovery call with Mystkue Woods, your sexuality arts educator and coach! I will help you identify where you feel the most challenged when it comes to your relationship with your body and offer creative approaches to feeling more confident.
Learn more about coaching here.