When you feel kind of crappy about your body, it’s can be like a double-edged sword. On the one side, you know that exercise and eating in a more healthy manner will probably help you to change your body to your liking. But on the flip-side, to get that body in better shape may mean putting yourself on display (you know, at the gym, on the side of the road, or with a trainer) as well as require you to navigate the learning curve that can come with making a big life change. These two things don’t always make for a feel-good scenario. And anything less than feel-good can be a real blow to your confidence level.
Exercise Can Lead to Confidence
The good news is that exercise really can help you to feel more confident. It…
- Gives you a boost feel-good endorphins that come with working out.
- Challenges you in ways that may not exist in your everyday life. For example, if you’re a pro at your job and really earned the mug that says “World’s Greatest Mom,” your life may be on cruise control. Fitness helps to throw you a curveball, and when you unexpectedly knock it out of the park, your confidence will soar.
- Provides you with strength and stamina so that you rarely feel sluggish and lazy.
- Improves your health and decreases your stress.
- Results in a body that you’re happy to put on display for all to see.
With so many opportunities for boosting confidence, it’s a surprise people aren’t exercising all the time (albeit, not recommended). The problem is that when self-esteem is low, giving someone a road map to make it better isn’t a simple fix. Poor self-image comes with baggage. While your body size might not be something you’re happy with it, it’s rarely at the core of your issues.
A gym membership or rowing laps around a lake might help, but the exercises to really get your confidence in shape require a lot less sweat in the beginning. That’s because confidence comes from within. The mental and emotional weight you’re heaving around is not making you stronger the way free weights do. It’s time to let that all go. Here’s how:
Ditch the Haters: As the saying goes, “haters gonna hate”. If you know someone makes you feel less than the awesome that you are, they aren’t needed in your life. And if they’re family–which can make you sort of stuck with some of them–remind yourself that another person’s words, thoughts, and actions are their own. You can’t control that person (as much as you may try), but you can control how you react to their thoughts, words, or actions.
When You’re the Hater: Sometimes the biggest bully in your life is you. If your self-worth comes up less than the coins in your couch cushions, it’s possible that you’re too hard on yourself. To be your best, you may believe that you need to be perfect. However, perfection is not a goal for any human for two reasons: One, perfect doesn’t exist. And, two, one person’s version of perfect is different from another’s. Just when you think you’ve reached perfection, you find something new about which to judge yourself, thus knocking down your confidence again.
Don’t Judge: Accepting who you are, what you look like, and your ability levels won’t happen overnight but can come with practice. It starts with letting go of judgement. Instead of labeling everything as good or bad, just work on taking it for what it is. For example, if you were born with abnormally large feet for your stature, don’t refer to them in a negative way. While there may be positives and negatives to them, your feet are neither good nor bad. They just are what they are…feet. Try to go for an hour each day without making any judgement or complaint about anything–you, your body, the people around you, the traffic, a business’ service, and so on. When it starts to become easier, go for longer time periods…a day, a weekend, a week…forever.
Spread the Love: You know how great it feels when someone give you a compliment. Well, you can feel that way every day by simply giving yourself an occasional pat on the back. When you conquer a particularly tough task at work, are there for a friend in need, or do something nice for a stranger, congratulate yourself for a job well done. All of the “little” things you do each day–holding the door for someone, cooking dinner for your family, donating clothing to a local charity–all count. And don’t forget to show some gratitude for your body. Maybe it’s not exactly the way it you’d like it to look, but it’s the vessel that takes you through life and should be appreciated. Honor the things you love about your body–your eyes, the curve of your hips, your height–and notice them daily. Last, if compliments are something you like, be sure to pass them onto those around you. A few small kind words can change a person’s day–and make you feel better at the same time.
Build a Support Circle: If you find that you’re harder on yourself when you’re alone, look for opportunities to surround yourself with positive people. Their energy will likely rub off on you, while at the same time get you out of the dark place in your head. Positive people often tend to be more gracious to themselves and the people around them, which can be a boost for your ego. If you tend to find yourself in circles of gossip and negativity, look for ways to take breaks from it. Otherwise, it can be like poison to your brain. One minute you’re spreading the word about a friend’s cheating spouse. Before you know it, you’re over-analyzing your life, feeling bad about your own relationships. Ditch the toxic energy, and when you can’t, go back to observing instead of judging.
Again, confidence comes from within. Exercise will help, but do the daily work to ditch the emotional and mental drama that’s really dragging you down. Whether fat is being burned or not, you’ll feel a lot lighter as well as better about your body.
What things do you do to help you boost self-confidence? Share in the comments!