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Saturday
Aug292009

Self-esteem and a naked woman

Have you ever stood naked in front of a mirror and reacted badly? How do you feel about seeing yourself in the flesh? Does it increase or decrease your self-esteem?

When we spend all day dressed up in smart or pretty clothes, and wearing make-up and jewellery, it's easy to forget what we really look like. So much so, it's possible to feel good about ourselves in everyday life until we start taking our clothes off. Do you realise that how you feel about your naked body can lower your self-esteem considerably?

For example, if you wear a pair of nice black trousers you can't see the cellulite you may have in your thighs. But it is there in the mirror when you take your trousers off. How do you react?

If you've squeezed into a lovely pair of tight jeans, you can feel trim and terrific, until you take them off and notice the flab that appears from under them. How does flab affect your self-esteem?

If you've been well covered all day and wearing a great bra, but then stand bare to the world with your breasts dangling, how do you feel about yourself?

I'll always remember the day a gorgeous daughter of one of my close friends lifted up her top and showed her mum and me her beautiful breasts. Only she suddenly exclaimed, "... but mum, one breast is larger than the other and that's awful, I'm so embarrassed, look". Sure enough, one breast was larger than the other. However, it was certainly not awful. She was beautiful and so were both breasts. Sadly, she didn't think so.

Do you allow such a close examination of your raw body to affect how you feel about yourself too?

As for myself, these days I've noticed my nipples don't point in the same direction. One, with the effects of aging, definitely points down more than the other. Gravity rules. They used not to be like that, they both used to be pert and point straight ahead!

Does this make me feel bad about myself? No! But I know for some women it bothers them deeply, as if there is something significantly wrong with them. There isn't. It doesn't matter. Don't let something trivial like this affect your self-esteem.

Imagine for a moment, if instead of nipples you had eyes at the end of your breasts! It would be quite useful if one could see down and the other straight ahead, wouldn't it? You'd have all areas covered. It's a fun thought, but in such silliness lies something quite serious. If, instead of looking at ourselves naked and seeing blemishes and defects we could see goodness and value then our self-esteem could stay high, whether we are clothed or not.

When you rubbish your body and think fat, wrinkles, moles, large noses, short legs, big bums, and the like are defects, you run the risk of severely undermining your own goodness.

After all, your inner life and your ability to be kind, generous and loving are far more important than any aspect of your physical body, aren't they?

How do you feel about yourself naked? Does your self-esteem rise or lower, or do you not let your body affect how you feel about yourself, and accept it simply for what it is?

 

Reader Comments (16)

Standing in front of the mirror definitely lowers my self-esteem because I feel fat and flabby. My boobs are starting to defy gravity because I am getting older. I know it doesn't really matter but it does knock my self-esteem even though I am 62.
Mon 5 Oct, 09 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJackie Gunner
I have to wear my glasses in order to work out which way round to put my undies on! I am only just 50.
Sat 10 Oct, 09 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterClaire Snedden, WA
Keep your self-confidence.

Who says we can't have flab? or stretch marks? or curves over our bones? Or bits pointing down? Why does it matter so much?

I read an article written by a man that said men prefer women to have curves and carry some weight - it's only us women that have hang ups about it. Why do we diminish our own self-esteem?

Have you seen the semi-nude photo of Lizzi Miller, in Glamour magazine, complete with flab on her stomach? Link here: http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/blogs/vitamin-g/2009/08/on-the-cl-the-picture-you-cant.html

What do you think?
Tue 13 Oct, 09 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Green, Confident Woman
Low self-esteem is caused by what goes on inside of you, by how you feel about and react to what is happening.

Therefore, to overcome self-esteem issues focus on what is happening inside you, not what you see happening outside.

If you feel bad about your body, it is not the fault of your body, it is the fault of your mind and what you say to yourself about your body.

What do you say to yourself, about yourself?
Rachel.
Mon 2 Nov, 09 at 9:19 PM | Registered CommenterRachel Green
What a wonderful photo!!!
Tue 3 Nov, 09 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterFleur
I'm not afraid to look at myself naked in the mirror.
I study my right breast each day to see how its scar is healing - very well.
I'm to have a followup mammogram in the next coupla weeks to make sure the lump removed six months ago hasn't come back - I'm sure it hasn't, but the surgeon wants to be certain.
Body changes are mostly part of the ageing process, as is acquiring wisdom.
Thu 5 Nov, 09 at 7:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterLynn Mackrill
I have been corresponding with a large database of women of all ages who have come in for breast imaging over the years. A lot of women have quite low self-esteem, which is sometimes expressed in what they think of their breasts. Shame, cos most look pretty good in technicolour with the infrared!

You can watch the breast imaging procedure here: http://www.vmbiz.com.au/safebreast.html

I have set up my national model, to image women in their community - at their doctor, naturopath or workplace.
http://www.safebreastimaging.com.au

Jo Firth.
Sat 7 Nov, 09 at 7:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJo Firth
We are taught, through magazine adverts that droopy breasts are not acceptable, they are supposed to be pert! When did you see a magazine such as Playboy, or the women's magazines show women with droopy breasts? It is ridiculous of course, droopy breasts are okay, aren't they? I have droopy breasts.

Beth
Sun 27 Dec, 09 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeth
We undersell ourselves when we judge ourselves by our bodies. Our self-esteem can be too easily knocked by such superficial judgments.

What of our ability to love, to show compassion, to be able to connect with others, to be vulnerable, to be able to forgive, to be able to help others, to be kind, surely these are more important that the size and shape of our breasts?

If you want to build self-esteem do something kind, or generous or lovely for someone else and you'll probably feel fat better than standing in front of a mirror.
Tue 11 Jan, 11 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Green
I hate looking. I avoid it lately as I've gained weight this year. I avoid the mirror in the bathroom and don't dress up now
Tue 11 Jan, 11 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJanice Mills
Keep dressing up, make yourself feel gorgeous, no matter what your weight, you are more so much more than your body size & shape Janice. Keep your self-esteem up.
Tue 11 Jan, 11 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Green
That's hard. I've gained weight - HRT pills now not taking. But can't seem to drop it. I hate what I see in the mirror.
Mon 15 Aug, 11 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJanice Welker
So often women around the menopause put on weight - it seems quite natural. I am even told it is healthy as it seems it can be good for our bones and the fat stores our oestrogen - which we still need.

Please don't believe the distorted images portrayed in the media of what we are "meant" to look like, they are false. Keep your self-confidence and self-esteem intact.

Your inner beauty is still there - see that when you look in the mirror.
Tue 16 Aug, 11 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Green
Im in my mid-20s and I hate my body! I know that images in the media are touched up but I also know, have been involved with men that believe this and are truly superficial. Maybe one day, when I meet some that are not, I might start to feel better about myself!
Tue 3 Apr, 12 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulia
Hi Julia, I am so sorry you hate your body. What is wrong specifically with it? It is a great friend really.

Don't let those ignorant unkind men knock your confidence... there are lots of men out there who don't follow the glossy magazines. Look down any street and you will see women of all shapes and sizes walking along with a man on their arm.

You might be interested in a technique called a "Gratitude journal" where you can write down each day ten things you are grateful for, and that can include your body, then over time you may feel better about it. It will have lots of good things about it and this can help your confidence. Details here: http://www.confident-woman.com.au/confidence-techniques/2011/10/4/confidence-techniques-keeping-a-gratitude-journal.html

The men aren't the perfect stereotype shown in the media either.

If you let your body dictate your confidence you are missing all the other really good parts of yourself.

Did you get our free ebook? How to look good without cosmetic surgery? It may help your confidence too: http://www.confident-woman.com.au/free-ebook

Let yourself shine no matter what body you have
Rachel.
Thu 5 Apr, 12 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Green
I hate my body. I can't pick one thing that I admire or like about my body. I hate getting out of the shower and even glancing at the mirror as I walk by it. I find it gross and completely disgusting. I have stretch marks from having children (and that does NOT constitute accepting it) and I find it absolutely vile and repulsive. I clothe myself in sweatshirts and sweats, tennis shoes and try to stay out of public as much as possible. Dressing up does NOTHING for me. I hate that, too. I threw all my lingerie out because it's DISGUSTING and makes me feel even more disgusting. I don't like my husband touching or even looking at me, I'm disgusted by my own self.
Tue 1 May, 12 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDeana

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