The words we speak have power.
The path to self-love was fraught with second guessing.
If you keep telling people you’re not good enough, they’ll eventually believe you.
You can be your own worst enemy.
I am a reality television junkie – and it hurts to admit that. It’s pretty shameful to say that I love watching TV shows in which either a) celebrities go about their daily lives, b) normal people get into a competition for something, or c) outrageous people are actually paid to party and do stupid things. I like to justify it by saying that it comes from my own stressful lifestyle where watching trashy TV shows is like time out for my brain.
However, it’s impossible to turn my brain off completely and that’s why when watching The Bachelor the other night, I thought about how completely immoral and stupid it is to pit women against each other for a man they don’t even know. But of course, this is obvious, and often why the show is opposed by feminists and anyone with a brain.
It’s the fact that strong women still put themselves in this situation, where they are quite literally competing against other women for the affections of a man that they barely know. While watching the show from the comfort of your own home, you actually feel uncomfortable in the way that these women are portrayed as petty and jealous, with every move and look scrutinised purely for the entertainment of the audience.
For the women on the show, being in The Bachelor mansion could be having a detrimental effect on their self esteem. Putting all their energy into trying to win the affections of a man and whether they are successful or not in gaining his attention and affection is almost a cry for help regarding self-worth and self-esteem.
However, it could go both ways. On one hand, these women could be so sure of themselves that whether or not they win a competition to get a boyfriend will not affect them or the way they see themselves. On the other hand, they could be taking to heart the producer’s choices and/or Sam’s choices and making mental notes of all the things that they deem not good enough to land them a man on a television show.
In that respect, we do have to praise the women who leave the show and tell their last piece to camera in a way that empowers them to get back out there and be themselves to find the right man for them.
It’s a bitter world out there and while I do love a good Bachie romance and am looking forward to Sam Frost killing it on The Bachelorette, we do need to ask ourselves whether someone’s self esteem should be worth our entertainment.
Images via popsugar.com and yahoo.com
In need of a some new books to help change your perception on life? Who doesn’t! Sometimes we all require a little extra guidance, and the best way to get some is to sit back and relax with a self-help book.
Choosing just one book to start can feel a little daunting at first, but we have hand-picked some of our favourites for you below.
The Kindness Pact, Domonique Bertolucci
8 promises to make you feel good about who you are and the life you live. A great book if you’re unsure of where to start and need to reflect on your own actions.
Six Pillars of Self Esteem, Nathaniel Branden
If your self esteem needs a reality check, then this straightforward book is the best one for you. It clearly explains how anyone can master great self confidence at any age.
10% Happier, Dan Harris
Who else is a victim of their thoughts, even at the best of times? Take control of your life and make your thoughts work with you, rather than against you. A delightful little read on how to make the most of your life.
Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done, Adrian Tannock
As women, we often have more than we bargained for on our daily schedule. If you’re always leaving everything to the eleventh hour, this will will change your views on almost everything.
The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook, Martha Davis
Finding it hard to practice what you preach? This interactive workbook will help to realise your goals and make the most of what you read, without making it feel like a waste of time.
What are some of your best self-help books?
Image via Womens Health Mag, Buzzfeed
There are many ways to exude confidence in your everyday life – and here are just a few of them.
Close your eyes and think of a person you love and trust and who you know loves you. It could be your best friend, your sister or your lover. Think about all the things you adore and appreciate about this person, and notice how wonderful that love makes you feel.
Now turn it around the other way. Imagine you are your friend, sister or lover feeling that same fee love for you. Believe in this love and really feel it. Try to see yourself the way this other person sees you. Even if you can only do it for a moment you will experience a warm flow of confidence.
Be good to others
React to others are you would like them to react to you. If you wait for others to behave in a particular way before you do so yourself you may well be waiting forever. For example, if you want someone to be affectionate toward you, make a point of being as affectionate as you can to them. You don’t have to have a reason and don’t expect any payback. Similarly, react to co-works in the way you would like them to react to you. If they are rude or unfriendly don’t automatically take your cue from them. It’s up to you to set the tone yourself.
Saying ‘no’ to someone who wants you to do something can be very powerful, but it does not have to be unhelpful. You can always suggest a friend or co-worker who might be able to help out, or ask if they have considered such and such as an alternative.
You could also put forward a compromise such as ‘I could do it for you next week when I am not likely to be so busy’.
TIP: Snack Sensibly. Snack on dried fruit and nuts rather than chocolate or junk food for a long-lasting confidence boost. You may crave sweet things, but all you will get is a quick sugar fix that won’t last long.
What is your favourite tip for instant confidence?
Life gets us down sometimes. We can have a bad week at work, a period of weight gain or a break up – and sometimes those things can happen all at once. Then there are the times in life when we have “why me” moments; the tears well up and you have a mini break down. This kind of negativity can stay with you for days or even weeks, making it easy to slip into a constant bad mood when you’re not having the best time at work, or when you have to catch public transport because you’ve crashed your car!
However, no matter how bad things get, you should always try to keep a more positive outlook on life and a great attitude. Those who are happier and more positive actually live longer than those who are angry and negative. For your mental, emotional and physical health, it’s best to look on the bright side of life by employing a few little techniques to up that positivity.
Gratitude is important – and even when you’re having a bad day, you should still be thinking of the things that you are grateful for. By separating the positive from the negative and being thankful for the positives, you will be able to lift your mood and learn not to dwell on the things that have gone wrong that day, but instead focus on the things that have gone right.
Have faith in something
Whether it’s religion, meditation or even yoga, put your faith into something that you know you can turn to when things aren’t going your way. Whether it’s your dog, God, or a passion like painting, put your faith into what you believe is going to help you when you’re at your worst.
Exercise puts us in a better mood. It releases endorphins that make us happy and it also makes us feel better about ourselves. When you love yourself, you’re more positive than when you hate yourself – exercise is great way to close that gap of self-hate.
Believe in yourself
Self-belief is so important as it can often dictate whether you follow your dreams or settle for good enough. Believing that you can do anything and having that emotional self-push can help you to be more positive and achieve the outcomes that you desire.
Surround yourself with positive people
Surrounding yourself with positive people is almost crucial to having a more positive outlook on life. Stress and negativity is contagious, but so is happiness. By surrounding yourself with happy and positive people, you’re more likely to have a better outlook on life.
Image the via thewayofmeditation.com.au
Let’s face it… there’s no quick fix which will automatically give you good confidence overnight. There are a few different factors which contribute to having a great self-esteem and even better confidence, one of which is age. If you’re looking to boost your confidence in the long-term, then the following tips might be of good use to you and your friends!
How many men and women are actually happy about their body? It’s probably hard to find someone who likes everything about themselves… and if you do, that’s great! Keep fit and healthy by nourishing your body from the inside out – we’re not suggesting you #cleaneat and exercise every single day. Try and incorporate a few different super-foods into your diet, and see what works.
For many of us, good confidence comes from sucking it up and pretending that we already have it. This is just a fact of life! Make more eye contact, contribute to a conversation and let your voice be heard.
Take up a hobby
Hobbies are a great way to meet new friends, stay healthy, and interact on a weekly basis. This might be a little tough if you’re a new mum, but search for activities which will work around you and your newborn. Then you will have something consistent to look forward to, and build a new network of friends along the way!
This might be a little difficult for all the pessimists out there (don’t hate, I’m also one!), but positive thoughts go a long way. Rather than dwelling on all the negative, think and partake in activities which will actually make the most of your time. Sitting around on Facebook complaining about others isn’t exactly an attractive trait… right?
Education is always important, long-after you’ve finished university, Tafe or even a vocational course. I certainly didn’t enjoy university (the first, or second time), but maybe a short course is exactly what you need. If you’re scared to go it alone – bring a friend! You will learn so much more about yourself, and have some fun doing it.
Look the part
Sometimes a big part of feeling good on the inside, is looking good on the outside. Re-vamp your wardrobe, sell a few of those clothes you never wear, donate the rest, give yourself a face mask, take a bubble bath… these are all great ways to pamper yourself during a rough patch.
What are some of your tips to boost self-confidence?
Image via Softpedia
“You can do anything if you put your mind to it.” How many times have you heard that in your life? It’s usually from older relatives, who you don’t want to admit have life experience and may actually be onto something, but if you’re looking to motivate yourself to achieve a particular goal, you should listen to their wise words.
Whether it’s getting back into the gym, renovating your house or changing your career, motivation can often be hard to gather, especially when you’re tired, busy or comfortable. But we should always be challenging ourselves to go above and beyond, so here are our top tips to get motivated!
Write it down
Write down what it is you want to achieve so that you have a clear goal in mind. Once you’ve written that down, add in smaller steps that can build up to your goal, for example, if you’re looking to lose five kilograms, your steps would start with things like easing yourself off naughty food and going doing some form of exercise three times per week for one month. When you break down a bigger task into smaller ones, it makes it more manageable and you’re more likely to try and complete the steps.
Write down why you want to achieve your goal as well. You could accompany this with pictures that you find inspiring. This may help you when you’re a bit lost and feel like giving up. Knowing why you want to do something and having this written down reminds you of the end result and how you’ll feel, which is the most important part.
Get a planner
Planning your day is a key part of achieving your goal. Putting a small amount of time, even ten minutes into working towards your goal makes you focus on it more and can make you want to work harder. Planning your day also gives you better time management which will give you more free time to work towards what you’re after and also have some me-time.
Leave some time to enjoy yourself. What you are motivating yourself for should be your passion, but you still need time to relax and recuperate. Letting go and having fun will help you to unwind, which will make you available to work harder to achieve your goals.
Make healthy decisions
No matter what your goal is, you should always be treating your body with respect and fuelling it efficiently for you to function. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly will make you feel great, improve your energy and get you in the great mood that you need to get working.
Invest in the right tools
Make your environment supportive of your goal. By investing in the right tools, such as a computer or a gym membership, you are empowering yourself to go ahead. A great environment will have you itching to use your great tools, which will in turn, achieve great results. Not having efficient tools can kill your motivational drive.
Image via motivateplay.com
Social media went into a frenzy over the weekend as ‘unretouched’ images of Cindy Crawford surfaced from a three-year-old shoot the model did for Marie Claire magazine in the US.
The photographs of the 49-year-old mother-of-two went viral after being leaked on Twitter and showed the ’90s supermodel to have the lumps and bumps that the majority of middle-aged mums have on their bodies.
SHOCK HORROR! Cindy Crawford is human! The fact that the internet went with images only goes to show how desensitised we are to heavily photoshopped images bombarding us at every turn.
The fact that a relatively normal, yet still quite stunning, human being has some cellulite and a little padding is shocking to us is reveals an interesting swing.
It is the honest depiction of women that is shocking to us. We are no longer up in arms about heavily retouched images and the portrayal of ‘perfect’ female forms. But the exact opposite.
In a world where teenage girls can photoshop or ‘facetune’ their own selfies, it seems nobody wants to expose or see ‘real’ images – where does that leave the unreal expectations that all women and girls are now subject to?
Where do you see this unreal perception of women heading? Tell us your thoughts.
Nicole Kidman announced in an interview she has finally embraced her curls. Frankly, Nicole didn’t need to tell us she didn’t like her natural hair – we can see the way she flat irons it so much, her hairline is receding. She has cosmetically altered her lips, her cheeks and her breasts. It is alarming to us when women, who have made millions of dollars out of their beauty, hope to look more beautiful. We assume they have infinite confidence. Self-esteem starts to look like the Yowie – everybody knows it exists but nobody has ever seen it. So how do we get self-esteem? And, more importantly, how do we lose it?
In times of doubt, people often reach for self-help books in search of encouragement and the use of self-affirmations. These books sell the idea you can raise your self-esteem by repeating a certain phrase, like a mantra. “I am loveable. I am attractive. I am healthy.” According to a recent study in Psychological Science, these statements actually have the opposite effect. People with low self-esteem feel worse after repeating them.
The problem is, if we don’t believe it, our brains work twice as hard rejecting the statement. You may say, “I am loveable” but if you don’t believe you are, the brain replies, “No, you’re not. If you’re so loveable, why are you lying in bed repeating this lame mantra. If you were loveable, you wouldn’t be alone in bed!” For every positive statement we don’t believe, the brain launches a counter-attack.
You can’t trick the brain into believing the opposite, but you can reason with it and come to a happy compromise. When these statements of positivity are tailored to the individual and the quality is something the individual values, the phrases can be repeated to good effect. For example, if I were to compliment myself on my wonderful driving, I wouldn’t feel any better about myself, because I don’t care about driving well. I just want to arrive somewhere uninjured. If I compliment myself on how wonderful I am at writing, I will feel the warm fuzz of an ego boost because I care about writing well and my mind will entertain the possibility that it is true.
Another important discovery about self-esteem is that most of it is based on what the culture values. We see fluctuations in young women’s self-esteem when they look at women in magazines. Overweight women’s self-esteem plummets when they view photographic models of any size and underweight women’s esteem increases, regardless of the models’ size. A slender body type is what the culture values at the moment and so overweight women will never feel good about themselves no matter what size the woman. Thin women just walk around feeling smug, regardless of the magazines. Researchers discovered that what is culturally valued overrides our own personal values.
So the brain is judging those qualities we are actually good at and if that quality is actually valued in society, you find the sweet spot of an affirmation that will actually work. “I am loveable” just isn’t going to cut it. “I am really kind to my family.” “I am a great communicator.” “I have a great sense of style.” Find something you do well and pay attention to it. Appreciate that it is both true for you and objectively true. Then put that phrase on high-rotation but try to keep it on the inside.
Try it, it’s science.
By Vivienne Walshe
How much time do you spend thinking about yourself during sex? And I don’t mean in the positive way. Do you have sex in certain positions because it’s more flattering, or sometimes find yourself seeing how your body looks through the eyes of your partner? Ever worried about how your belly looks while you’re getting busy? You might be engaging in habitual body monitoring.
Confidence is like oxygen, it affects us without us even knowing, and when we’re running low on it, our brains don’t work too well. Frankly, it’s a fact of life that we will be judged upon our appearance, but when we start judging ourselves about how we look it can have dire consequences. Excessive self-monitoring not only attacks your confidence, but affects your ability to think critically and can devastate your sex drive.
A way you can tell if you’re body monitoring, is to be aware of your thoughts: do you often see yourself through the eyes of someone else, or change your posture/clothes etc. in case you’re being looked at? Do you spend a lot of time concerned about a specific area of your body such as your thighs, belly or breasts – thinking how they could be better and ways to improve them?
These thoughts can significantly inhibit your ability to become sexually aroused and enjoy physical pleasure; after all, confidence and good sex are inextricably linked, so if you want to have better sex, you need to work on your state of mind first.
Body monitoring has serious consequences beyond the bedroom, with links to depression, anxiety and eating disorders. If you feel it’s affecting your life, look into it and talk to someone. There are some habits you can develop to help you ditch the criticism:
- Recognise when you’re seeing yourself as someone else would see you or focusing on your body in parts to be critiqued
- Re-evaluate your perception, consider your positive attributes and achievements rather than your appearance
- Resist the urge to critically evaluate others from their appearance (this reinforces self-monitoring)
Studies have shown anxiety about your physical appearance influences your ability to become aroused both physically and mentally. Which is understandable: it’s hard to have fun doing the horizontal hula if you’re too busy worrying about your wobbly bits. Our sexual desire is hugely impacted by our perception of ourselves and how we think others see us. So if we’re spending all our time worrying about how we look, we’re never going to get the perks of satisfying hanky-panky.
Sex reduces stress, it builds intimacy, bombards you with feel-good chemicals and it’s meant to be fun! It can cure headaches, reduce depression, lower blood pressure and improve sleep. It’s a good thing, and it’s made to be enjoyed, and you deserve to enjoy it. Not because you spent a fortune on lacy lingerie that pushes you up and holds you in at right places, but because it’s a lovely thing and you’re a physical being and you deserve to feel awesome. So if you want better sex, it’s starts with your brain.
Kate Jones blogs about writing and pop culture at Calvicle Capitalism.
Women pay 200 dollars to wear a beige body suit under their clothing. Basically it sucks the fat in or as women tell themselves, ‘smoothes out the skin’. If you put your arm around a woman wearing one, it feels like there is a thick bandage under her dress. That’s when her head spins round, because she knows the jig is up and she blurts out, “I’m wearing Spanx!”
I don’t care what women do to their bodies if it makes them happy. But Spanx denies us the pleasure of seeing what real bodies look like and that is too bad. Have you ever had a man tell you he thinks the fat around your belly is delicious? He wasn’t lying to you. I remember the first time I saw a woman with a little pot belly on screen was in the French film, Betty Blue. I was a teenager who thought only perfect beauty makes sex ‘sex’. A man had his head between her knees and as she gripped his hair, I thought ‘she’s got fat on her stomach and he hasn’t thrown her off the bed in disgust and walked out. How can that be…?’
I once had a boyfriend suggest I do something about the little mound of wobbly flesh on my stomach. He wasn’t lying, either. That’s the thing I’ve noticed about men, if you asked ten of them if your bum looks big in those jeans, you’ll get the same response, ‘of course not’, but they are having ten private thoughts. Based on the various things I have heard men and lesbians say over the years, I can only conclude people’s preferences are based on a kaleidoscope of memory/mummy/media-images…and how they feel about the words coming out of your mouth.
‘I like a woman with fat on her arms…I am not a boob man…I like it when they are so ripe, they’re bursting out of their clothes…Large breasts intimidate me…She has to be skinny, because I’m fat…She has the most beautiful breasts I’ve ever seen and I’m not a boob man…She has great glutes and over-developed trapezium…’ Okay, this last comment was said to me as I walked in front of a perfect stranger. I said thank-you, because the attention to detail seemed flattering. Then I went home and looked up ‘over-developed trapezium’. Not really a compliment.
If you’ve ever been to a Korean baths, then you have seen the moving tableaux of what women really look like. Hips and breasts and cellulite and flesh everywhere, dipping in and out of the pool. I remember seeing a woman with so much hair – it looked like a black Pomeranian had bitten her pubic bone and stayed there. We don’t get to see these shapes in magazines or on television because actresses wear Spanx. Every single one of them. Yes, even her. And her. They are moving product and they understand the job description. They can also be found at charity events liberating women from the oppressive Hijab, whilst shallow breathing in their Spanx.
My concern is – could Spanx bring the animal kingdom to its knees as people take home a skinny and find out she’s a boom-boom? The banging and wrestling sounds from the bathroom, as she tugs the body suit off and stuffs it into her purse might be the give-away. The problem here is the guy who went out looking for a big-bottomed beauty walked home empty-handed and now boom-boom is in the double-bind of having to pretend she’s a skinny, without any clothing on. I believe you can ‘think yourself thin’ but not five self-hating minutes in a dude’s bathroom. She fudged the details a little and hoped he wouldn’t mind. But in that fudge, denied herself the chance to find someone who loves her body as it is.
Instead of thinking the entire sexual mating game is getting played out on your torso – I hope women realize the pre-occupation with perfection is a much bigger turn off. It might be the moment he put his hands on your hips and discovers the surgical bandage. What we really respond to in other people is their self-esteem. We see them as they see themselves, for the most part. And self-esteem is one of those things that is hard to get and easy to lose. Personally, I have found the very best way to develop self-esteem is to reduce those moments in the day where you hate yourself. I’m going to go ahead and suggest flailing around on a bed, squeezing loose flesh into a body-length corset, isn’t a self-loving moment.
When I look at a woman’s body, I look at how she gets in and out of a chair; her core strength. You’re noticing it, too. If a person heaves forward and grasps the table to get up, either they are nursing a back injury or have zero core-strength. Unconsciously, I think I’ll have to let this one die by the side of the road, she won’t make it.
I don’t really think that, but my issue with Spanx is it does nothing for muscle tone and injury prevention. It’s like the guys at a gym wearing weight-lifting belts. These belts reduce their intra-abdominal muscles and unless they are representing their country in the Olympics, make them look like a numbnut. I guess they look in the mirror and see Mike Tyson winning the heavy-weight division but if you need a belt to squat the weight – it’s too heavy for you. It’s also impossible to flirt with a man wearing one and I have tried.
I heard a story about a woman at a wedding who drank too much, went to the bathroom and as she wrestled out of her Spanx, fell over and knocked herself out. Her sister had to escort her through the wedding reception, blood pouring down her face. That kind of walk of shame can echo through the next decade. The other problem I have with Spanx is they now come with a pee-hole, which seems worse.
Vivienne Walshe is an Australian playwright and screenwriter. Her plays have been highly awarded and published by Currency Press. As an actress she appeared on The Secret Life of Us and many other television shows and performed in plays at the Melbourne Theatre company, Sydney Theatre company and Queensland Theatre company.
What do you think about Spanx – friend or foe?