As a plus size blogger and body positive advocate, I get asked for tips fairly often on how to start feeling confident and how to feel empowered at every size. When I started my journey unexpectedly three years ago, it snuck up in an unsuspecting place; my Pinterest wall. I was happily scrolling and pinning to my hearts content when I came across an article (well a photo that linked to an article) by the fabulously sassy and outspoken Jes Baker. It ended up being an article that would shake up my world and rewire my brain all in one fell swoop.
I fell down a rabbit hole of body positivity that was covering everything from approachable subjects like fashion all the way to slightly more taboo topics, like having sex and feeling confident with your partner. During this tumble, I developed my own need to feel confident, sexy and empowered at every size. And I mean every! The size you are, the size you were, the size you will be one day, even whether you are plus size or straight size and how you can inspire those around you to start feeling better about themselves as well.
To get your started on a similar journey, here are eight tips to help you feel confident and empowered, no matter what size you are.
1. Change Your Media
Once you start to surround yourself with a variety of body shapes and sizes the easier it is to see the beauty in each and every one of them, yourself included. One way to get this all going to to search the internet for blogs and communities that speak to you, specifically tumblr and instagram. Check out empowering body positive hashtags, like #honormycurves, #effyourbeautystandards and #alternativecurves. You can also start following body positive blogs, like Curves Become Her, The Militant Baker or Fat Girl Flow. Although these ladies are all plus size, they are advocates for every body.
2. Start Treating Yourself Like Your Best Friend
Stop beating yourself up. If you ever spoke to your friends how you speak about yourself, you probably wouldn't have very many friends left. Think of what your favourite things are about your friends, I bet it has nothing to do with how they look. Start thinking of yourself as a friend and keep a tally of what makes you awesome as opposed to what you dislike.
Same goes for your friends, if they start picking themselves apart, build them up with all the ways you love them. There are plenty of ways to bring body positivity and confidence to yourself and your friends.
3. Take Fashion Risks
I know, this one can be scary. But I live in camp "fake it til you make it" and nothing helps you fake it better than wearing something you love, but feel a little nervous in. For me, it was crop tops, but there are so many fashion rules that need to be thrown out the window when it comes to you, your fashion, and finding your own confidence.
You might think people are staring, and maybe they are. But instead of assuming what they are thinking is negative, think that perhaps they are admiring you instead.
4. Give Compliments Freely
Seeing someones face after an unexpected compliment is one of life's pure joys. You never know what struggles people are going through, so bringing some light into their day can mean multitudes.
Be that light and compliment others on a daily basis. It can be about how cute their outfit is, or how fantastic their smile is, or even how they are always so perfectly organized. Spreading kindness is a mutually beneficial act, not only are you making someones day you feel a warmth that is hard to match when you share positivity with others.
5. Accept Compliments
It's all too easy to brush off a nice word and spiral downwards into self deprecation. But I challenge you to start saying something simple instead, "Thank you". You may not believe what your complimentor is saying, but don't discard their words and discourage them from trying to spread love and joy by denying what is a truth to them.
Of course, if it's a catcall feel free to throw them the middle finger.
6. Look At Yourself In The Mirror
Do this often, do this alone and even sometimes naked. Get comfortable with what you see. Instead of looking in the mirror and picking out the things you hate, start listing off the things you like or having going for you. And come to terms with those things you don't like and maybe eventually you will start to find beauty in your flaws and see that the were never really flaws to begin with.
Share your outfit of the day and selfies on Instagram and compliment people you follow. Bring your existing friends on board with you and participate in Instagram self love challenges, like the #rebelliousselflove challenge, for moral support.
Yes, it will seem foreign at first, like you are bragging or full of yourself. But that is just a a fleeting feeling, and an ugly lie society has told us. There is nothing wrong with seeing yourself as a kind, beautiful person, worthy of a little praise.
Because you are.