Recently a mom on one of our boards posted:
I feel frustrated by a theme that keeps coming up: Love yourself first and foremost and then love will be drawn into your life. HOW EXACTLY does one, who has highly developed neuropathways of “not good enough” transition to the “I love myself” place? I feel like I’ve tried everything, and it just doesn’t seem to stick. I still look in the mirror and see the cellulite and the “not good enough” features of my body.
Worse, I’m still dealing with the deep childhood imprinting of not being wanted or unconditionally love. I’d like some actual technical advice on this matter! It’s getting old just hearing “love yourself” “have confidence,” etc. without any tangible how-tos that follow.
Such a common challenge and I appreciate how frustrating it is when all you’re offered are vague platitudes about self-love.
No one’s life has ever been turned around by an inspirational Facebook meme!
If you’re struggling with how you feel, here are things you can do to feel sexy and confident:
1. Use positive affirmations for confidence
It is normal for negative thoughts to slip into your head — this is a way to protect yourself from disappointment, hurt and failure. After all, if you already expect yourself to fail, failure is not a painful surprise, right? If you talk yourself out of taking a risk, then you can't face rejection or a setback.
Here are some positive affirmations for confidence from powerful women and men that to borrow as your own:
“One of the ways we can change the way we react to fear is to affirm the way we want to be,” says bestselling author and OWN TV host Iyanla Vanzant. Watch Iyanla's four affirmations:
Marie Forleo: “Clarity comes from action, not thought.”
Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Ava DuVernay: “I'm not going to continue knocking that old door that doesn't open for me. I'm going to create my own door and walk through that.”
Audre Lord: “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.”
Lisa Nichols: “The truth is that no matter where you started out in life, you have a choice between scarcity and abundance.”
Oprah: “I can become what I choose to be.”
Lao Tzu: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
Martha Beck: “No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.”
Maya Angelou: “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”
Muhammad Ali: “‘I am the greatest.' I said that even before I knew I was.”
Sharon Stone: “It's my experience that you really can't lose when you try the truth.”
Coco Chanel: “Success is most often achieved by those who do not know that failure is inevitable.”
Steve Jobs: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something; your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
2. Give yourself a compliment on your appearance
Every. Single. Day. Every morning when you’re getting ready, note one thing that is awesome about your appearance: Your pretty teeth. Long eyelashes. Shiny hair. Round booty. Lovely toes. Great style. Perfectly arched eyebrows.
3. Give yourself a compliment on YOURSELF every single day
That you’re a fun mom. You killed the presentation. A good listener. A friendly neighbor. A thoughtful friend. A funny lunch companion. Make a mean roast chicken. Have an eye for color in home decor.
4. Think of times you adored another person’s body, in all its human splendor, because you adored him
His flabby tummy. Bald head. Love handles. Limp dick. Pock-marked skin. You and your human body are just as lovable, too.
5. Dress up and look your best every single day
This should not take you less than 20 minutes, but will include pretty hair, makeup, and clothes you feel great in. If it takes more than 20 minutes, get a new hairstyle and check out some videos on quick makeup.
How to dress sexier and look super-attractive when overweight, from my gorgeous friend Marlena Stell, of Makeup Geek:
6. Get a makeover
Sure, get your hair, makeup and wardrobe overhauled (if you can afford it), but cleanse your home and closet first! Rid your space of old things that remind you of old ways of thinking.
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7. Fake it till you make it
Literally, pretend that you feel sexy and confident until you actually do.
Make eye contact with an attractive man, even if inside you are absolutely going to die a thousand painful deaths.
Strut into a meeting in which you are intimidated with your shoulders back and head held high.
Call a meeting with someone who scares the crap out of you.
Ask for the promotion as if you know you’ll get it.
Reach out to a guy on the dating site ignoring any nasty murmurs in your mind that suggest he is out of your league or will reject you.
Just go about your life as if you are the confident, sexy woman you want to be.
8. Note someone in your life who walks about as if they are confident and sexy all the time
Fact: They are faking it at least some of the time, too.
When I was in college and finding my own sexuality, I read a book in the cafe/bookstore where I worked about ‘How to Make Man Crazy In Bed' or somesuch. In the forward, the author recounted how when her circle of girlfriends went out, one woman always got all the attention from men when.
The other women couldn’t figure it out — after all, their friend was heavy and not particularly pretty. So they asked her secret. “I know I’m not a natural beauty,” the woman said. “But before I walk into a bar or club, I tell myself: ‘You are the hottest woman in there.’ I believe it, and men then do, too.”
9. Consider therapy
Serious self-images are usually rooted in old trauma. Never be ashamed to get the help you need.
Therapy can help you get to the root of your lack of confidence — and turn it around. I’m a huge fan of online therapy, which is affordable, anonymous, and convenient since you connect with the counselor via text, phone or video. BetterHelp has an A+ BBB rating. Prices start at $65/week for unlimited messaging and weekly live sessions. Financial assistance available. Read about my experience with BetterHelp.
10. Just get out there already
Thinking about dating after divorce and babies can be beyond daunting.
After I stopped nursing (a blissful period during which my round hips narrowed, my small tits swelled, and my acne-prone skin cleared and glowed), it has been all downhill for this bod.
A newly poofy stomach, C-section scar and boobs that would not stop lactating — all while my thighs grew increasingly gooey.
But once out on the dating scene, I got over it quickly.
That I don’t look like Heidi Klum or Kim Kardashian (that butt, I mean, really) has zero to do with my ability to find really amazing sex (keep reading) and love.
Your body has absolutely nothing to do with your ability find a man to adore you and enjoy mind-blowing sex.
No matter what said body may look like.
11. Start self-care Sunday
While this may not always be the case, Sunday is often a day when people don’t have a lot going on. Even if you choose a different day to dote on yourself, try to make it a weekly habit. Why? It helps you recharge and take on the rest of the week.
People define self-care differently, depending on what they need. In general, self-care is centered around taking a break from the demands of life and focusing on things that make you feel good.
That could mean spending a few hours at a spa, cooking a healthy meal, taking a walk, meditating, listening to a podcast, or even just going to bed on time — find activities that help you look, feel, and live better.
Setting aside time for weekly care can improve your mental and physical health, productivity and overall well-being. It’s important to find what works best for you.
And even though making time for self care might be difficult at first, it’s a worthwhile pursuit — when you feel whole, you are at your best.
12. Make new friends
Need a new (or bigger) circle? It’s good to surround yourself with people who share common interests, but it’s even better to find people who challenge you to become the best version of yourself.
And it doesn’t mean you have to abandon your current friends. It just means you are willing to be open to new relationships.
Maybe you want to start jogging, riding a bike, or cooking gourmet meals. You can connect with others who want to do the same.
If you don’t know here to start, here are a few tips:
- Try a friendship app like Patook or We3
- Go to networking events
- Find a club for a new hobby
- Participate in girl’s night out events
- Join single mom groups on Facebook
- Invite a coworker out to lunch
Look for opportunities to be around new people. It’ll give you an opportunity to talk and learn more about people in your community.