What does it mean to be naked? Most people think of it as being without clothes and exposing our self-described lumpy thighs, knobby knees, or out-of-proportion breasts to the world. However, being naked is really about being vulnerable—about putting yourself out there without any protection. Vulnerability is hard! Although the mere thought of being vulnerable can be terrifying, it doesn’t have to be.
Do you believe that you will not be able to feel comfortable with your body, with or without clothes, until you have attained a “perfect” body type or until you have reached your “goal” weight? Although far too many people feel this way, this just isn’t true. Love and acceptance of your naked self has way more to do with what is inside your head than what is outside your body.
If even just thinking about being naked, emotionally or physically, increases your heart rate or makes your palms start to sweat, you are not alone. As a medical intuitive, I meet with individuals who live all over the world. Vulnerability and negative body image are two of the most common issues that come up in my work.
In order to feel your best naked and to truly connect to your body, changing your attitude will be much more influential than changing what you see in the mirror. Luckily, you can start this healing journey today. Here are some tried and true tips:
• Evaluate your standards. Do you expect more from yourself than you do from other people? Do you speak to your body the same way that you would speak to your best friend, or even a stranger? Know that most people have similar insecurities. They are likely to be thinking more about your opinion of them, afraid of you seeing their flaws than vice versa.
• Step in front of a mirror and allow your feelings to flow as freely as possible without judgment. Write them down and examine both the positive and the negative. Negative feelings are often pushed down and ignored, which can make them even stronger. Challenge and consider the origin of the feelings. Are they valid, or can they be sourced from a past experience, such as bullying or an abusive relationship? Do they reflect how you feel now, or are you remembering the hurt you felt when someone criticized your appearance before? Just acknowledging your feelings and where they are coming from can be the start of lasting healing.
• Listen to the compliments you receive and really take them in. What you personally consider to be attractive isn’t necessarily what others find beautiful. Magazines feature bodies of all shapes and sizes for a reason. Everyone has a different definition of what they consider sexy. If someone says you are beautiful, they are probably telling you the truth.
• Do something that makes you feel sexy and helps you connect you to your body. It might be belly dancing, pole fitness, or aerial arts. It might be yoga or interpretive dance. These are not just activities for people with “perfect” bodies. Taking up pole fitness and aerial arts is one of the best things I ever did for my overall health and body image. I’m in class with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Due to the nature of the sport, we are often wearing just sports bras and extremely short shorts. In order to stick to the pole, you must have skin exposed, as fabric is too slippery. I have found that when you are in that supportive, hardworking environment, the way your body looks will start to matter less and less.
• A surefire way to find lasting confidence and self-esteem is to connect to your intuition, which is our wise inner source of unconditional love, self-acceptance, and guidance. Most people think of it as just a way to receive warnings or premonitions, but it is much more than that. Through connection to intuition, we can find our supportive, non-judgmental voice that sees beyond our imperfections and helps us embrace our individuality and uniqueness. Examples of ways you can connect are journaling, meditation, and being in nature.
You can start feeling your best naked by sending you and your body love right now. Don’t wait until you are a certain number on a scale or until you look a certain way. Criticizing yourself or hating your appearance just reinforces insecurity and negativity. Start today by catching yourself creating positive and negative thoughts, embracing the positive and releasing the negative. Being vulnerable can take work and the courage to change, but the lifetime of rewards are definitely worth the effort.