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No matter the relationships in your life, you always have the ability to show yourself (and of course, others!) love and kindness.
I know it’s not always easy. I’m in this with you! Our inner critics can run wild. We can get sucked down the social media rabbit hole, scrolling through other people’s seemingly picture perfect lives and bodies and wardrobes and feeling like we’ll never measure up. It’s easy to put unrealistic expectations on our physical beauty as well.
So today, we’re going to tackle some of the biggest lies we tell ourselves and discuss how to love, celebrate, and dress for the body you’re in.
Remember, the grass is always greener.
We celebrate other people’s beauty, but we quickly deflect or discredit people’s compliments toward us. Before you defend yourself, I’m not talking about humility! I’m saying we often can’t see what other people see in us. So the first thing you can do is start to remove those blinders.
It might be as simple as saying “thank you”, closing your mouth, and actually receiving a compliment. Maybe that’s all you can start with for now. That’s a pretty great start. Let those compliments sink in and just take it in. Even if you don’t believe it yourself, yet.
If you’re ready to take the next step, here’s the second tip you can try out.
Start highlighting your favorite features.
When you’re getting dressed, start looking for ways to highlight your favorite features. If you love your hair, opt for minimal makeup and let your hair take all the focus. Repeat the texture of your hair in the texture of your clothing. Wear a hair-related neutral on your lower half, like your pants or shoes, to draw the eye back up to your hair. (I promise, this works!)
If you want to show off your shoulders, opt for off-the-shoulder, halter, or sleeveless tops.
I’m just giving you a couple of quick examples. Take this and run! Do your research. Look up ways to play up all the physical attributes you appreciate most. When you draw attention to these areas, you’ll naturally draw attention away from where you feel more self-conscious.
Because, let’s be realistic here, if there are areas of your body that you have hang ups about, I can just tell you to get over that. I’m sure you can, in time, and I encourage you to challenge those critical thoughts. But for now, focus on what you do like. You’ll have a much better time getting dressed!
Talk to yourself like a friend. Or talk to a friend.
We need to start showing ourselves the same kindness we do to others.
I notice that many of the things I say to myself I would never say to someone else. If you catch yourself getting critical about your body or anything for that matter, stop and be honest… Would you say that to your best friend? If you did, you probably wouldn’t be friends for much longer.
So put on your friend hat. If you were looking at your bestie in the mirror and she shared your features, what would you say to help her celebrate her uniqueness and beauty? Build yourself up the same way.
If you’re really stuck, then go ahead and talk to a real life friend. If you have a close relationship, this is a great opportunity to be vulnerable and let her know you’ve been struggling with your self-esteem lately –she might be able to empathize and join you on this quest! – or keep it light and tell her you’ve been wanting to up your style game. Ask which of your features she’d love to see you embrace and highlight more often? Make a joke and tell her you’re literally fishing for compliments!
You might want to return –not deflect– some compliments and give her a boost, too, while you’re at it!
Choose to invest in clothes that make you feel your best today.
I know firsthand, when you aren’t exactly where you want to be with your weight, it can feel wasteful to invest in pieces you hope you won’t fit into by the end of the year. And if you’re on an active weight gain or loss journey right now, meaning you are in action on that goal –you’re eating mindfully, moving your body, getting the support you need to make it happen now– then it makes sense to focus on that goal before you tackle the subject of your closet in an extreme wardrobe makeover kind of way.
I also know that often, we’re not actively pursuing our goals. We’re sitting around wishing, hoping, and praying that they’ll happen for us. One day, I’ll do what I need to do to look and feel the way I want. One day, I’ll feel good enough to invest in the type of clothes I’d love to wear. And only then, will I spend money to buy new pieces I love.
So then, we sit around waiting for ONE DAY instead of getting out there and feeling our best right now! The only amount of time we’re actually guaranteed, by the way, today. And the cycle continues.
I’m not saying this to make you feel badly if you’ve been stuck in this rut of wishful thinking. I have every confidence that you are capable of reaching your goals. I also have every confidence that showing up and feeling your best today will help you go about your life more confidently and productively. And I have a feeling that as a result, you’ll be more motivated to go after those juicy dreams and goals you’ve been sitting on.
Look, I’m not saying you need to go spend thousands of dollars to overhaul your wardrobe. You can invest in a very small, low-budget capsule to get you through this adjustment period. You can try a clothing rental service. Some clothing brands, like Able and Universal Standard even let you swap clothing sizes for free on select styles no matter how long you’ve owned them! You can shop secondhand or have your clothes taken in by a tailor.
My point is there are a lot of ways to invest reasonably and comfortably in fewer, but better pieces that will look amazing on you right now.
Now, the final tip today is more of a question to ask yourself.
Are you squeezing into or drowning in the wrong size?
I’ve talked about this before. So it should come as no surprise. To dress well today, you need to fully embrace what is.
Again, not suggesting you be complacent. I’m saying don’t be in denial.
Desperately trying to hold onto a dress size from college or hiding your figure in oversized clothes isn’t serving you. It’s only feeding your beliefs that there’s a problem. And as we just uncovered, there’s so much to celebrate about your beautiful, perfect body!
Are you seeing lumps and bumps in your garments? Again, no shame! We all have them! But forcing yourself into clothing a size (or two) too small won’t do your self-esteem any favors, my friend. You’re the only one who knows the number and has to suffer the discomfort. You’re going to feel your most confident and look your best in outfits that look like they were made for your body. So strive to create a nice, clean, smooth silhouette.
You can also opt for fabrics that work with your body’s natural design. If you have more curves and softness to your body, look for materials that glide over figure and have fluidity, like silk, lightweight cotton, and fine knits. If you have a more muscular or angular body, choose more rigid fabrics like linen, flannel, and leather. Embrace and work with your features rather than fighting against them!
And remember, thinking you can “cover up” your body with baggy clothes does the opposite. It only adds more visual weight and doesn’t do anything to flatter the figure you’ve got going on under there.
So instead, please dress the body you have. Pay attention to what feels good. Check all of your angles in the mirror. Invest in tailoring when you know it’ll make a difference. Take the time you need to feel confident before you go about your day.
Don’t strive for perfection. That is an uphill battle and a standard you will never reach.
Instead, simply commit to showing up at your best and giving yourself grace even at your worst.
I hope this episode has empowered you to start loving, celebrating, and dressing for the body you have. You are so beautiful, my friend, and I want to see you living fully just as you are.
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