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Body Confidence – And Why I’m Going To Stop Talking About It (or lack of it…)

Raise your hand if you’re bored of hearing the term body confidence? And keep them raised if you’re also kind of bored of seeing bloggers and journalists write about it? Yep – my hand is still in the air too. But I’m going to roll with it and pray that this is the last time I ever feel the need to address this issue…

I rarely post bikini photos, I find I put too much pressure on myself to look perfect and my total bitch of a self-critic just slates whatever the result is because it’s never how I would LOVE to look. Even if I look good there’s usually something I’d still like to change. But I had a rare moment of feeling like I looked banging a few weeks back and popped an Insta Story up in a couple of new bikinis. I was feeling myself! My body looked good, I felt happy and for once I didn’t look in the mirror and think “ugh vile” or “I look okay but I’d look better if I had ab lines/ lost an inch here…” – because let’s face it, it’s sad but true: who doesn’t occasionally have these crappy niggling thoughts when we look in the mirror? But I received a few messages which left me in a totally weird head space over it.

They went a little like this:

“I hate my body. We have the same shape and seeing that you’re able to be so accepting of yours makes me feel as though maybe I can accept mine too” – hmmm, I was not aware I was a dodecahedron trying to fit into a world of hexagonal and square holes y’know…

“we literally have the same body and I see that you’re so confident but I just can’t love myself this way. I wish I had your confidence” – wait what?! what’s unloveable about the way our bodies look?!

“You look amazing! How are you so confident with your body? My friend said we’ve got the same body but I just don’t get how you can be so happy with it. It’s not fair! “ – I mean, I was a lot happier about it before you sent me this message hun. Now THAT’S not fair.

“thick thighs thick thighs!!! It’s so refreshing to see a girl with a bit of chunk her!!” – erm….

I get it. These were all intended as compliments – or at least, disguised with the intent (perhaps I’m naive in thinking that these people genuinely wanted to compliment rather than neg me? But I really think they meant no harm) It is nice to know that I have helped others feel better about themselves in a world where many of us go online and leave feeling worse off. But when I had those messages, all I felt was wrong. As per usual with the internet, it was the negative things that stuck to me more than the positive.

Phrases like “hate my body” in a sentence comparing it to mine instantly triggered me to think, should I hate my body? Ugh, yeah, come to think of it, I do hate my body…  Since then, I’ve had other people message me saying they greatly admire the fact I am so body confident – like it’s a weird thing to see somebody like me be body confident – and hearing things such as me accepting my body made me feel like that’s unusual. Why is it weird and unusual for me to accept my body? To only ACCEPT my body? What is wrong with my body? Is it unacceptable to others? 

Helen Anderson did a YouTube video on this recently, as well as a blog post, discussing people making judgements on her body. I think she dealt with it and put it into words far better than I could. And the truth is, I do get offended when people say they admire me for my confidence and being “happy in your own skin” – I understand they’re trying to be nice, but it’s almost saying that there’s something not quite right with my body, and that my ability to be happy with it is weird and misplaced. In saying it, it’s as though they’re questioning how I could be happy with my body. And it does offend me, because then it makes me question what’s wrong with me that makes it so hard to love and accept? Then I start to see my flaws – the things that people like to remind me aren’t “normal” (by Instagram standards…) – and start to fixate on them, and think of ways I can change them.

In Helen’s video, she mentioned how that anything outside of a slim size 6-8 is often seen as erring more to being plus size. Is it because we’re so used to seeing this typical image of a “popular” body on Instagram – slim in a very leggy, long-limbed way, and predominantly white – that we think anything outside of that is abnormal and worth commenting on? Which, in reality, is such a skewed vision because if we take a look at the women around us on the streets every day, everyone is different. In fact, there is no real normal.

Hell, I know I’m not stick thin. I get a daily reminder of it when I do the putting-on-my-jeans-dance. You know? Where you grab your belt loops, jump around like a bunny, lunge left, lunge right, and shimmy your bum a bit? I have curves, but I still fluctuate between buying an 8, then sometimes 10s or 6s – and I know I’ll probably have some of you reading this thing wtf you’re not big at all? And I don’t think that I am. Honestly, every day I wake up in the morning, and I look in the mirror like the vain sod that I am, and I can happily say that I like my body. Sometimes it looks good. Sometimes it doesn’t. But in general, I like my body. It’s only when I go on to social media, or I receive certain comments that make me feel like I’m not normal, that the insecurities start to eat away at me and it turns my body into a vanity project rather than something functional. No, I’m not skinny, and yes I do feel weighed down with that being the ideal beauty standard in society, but it takes me from liking my body to questioning it and putting a magnifier up to every tiny flaw.

I feel so conflicted writing this post, as I know that my issues don’t lie with peoples comments on my body, but the hangups and deeper-rooted issues that these DM’s trigger. It’s the same ingrained way of thinking, and messages across traditional and social media, that constantly reminds us skinny is the only real way to be beautiful – a bullshit message that I totally detest and disagree with, especially when I look at the beauty in diversity of shapes, sizes, and colours of the women I see every day.

You can hardly blame anyone that works in an industry where your value is often based on your appearance in getting caught up with these emotions. But I know that my value and worth as a person has to come from elsewhere. I came into this career as a blogger/ influencer because I love to write, but as I’ve spent less time writing and more time growing my Instagram over the past months, I’ve started to value myself less as a person and become less confident in myself.

We all grew up on a diet of skinny girl culture, and we’re still living in it – just rather on the tv and in the magazines, it’s on our phones and notifications. But right now, we’re also in this movement where as women, we’re trying to work on redefining our relationship with our bodies. Embracing them for our strength, their ability, the fact that they work and house a skeleton and a bunch of gooey organs, and allow us to experience and truly live our lives, rather than punishing ourselves for not looking the way society has always dictated we should look. We are making progress. We’ve spent so long trying to reclaim this, that every time I let a comment like this upset me, I feel like I’m undoing any good work other people in this whole self-love, body-confidence movement has been doing.

It’s going to take time retraining my thought process on this. And more importantly – I’m going to stop talking about it. My body, body confidence, or lack of it. Or at least I’m going to try not to. When you give your time and energy discussing these things, it just legitimises the issues. If we all keep talking about body confidence – for good and for bad, really – it’s still another way of overanalysing and dissecting our bodies on so many levels and it’s unhealthy. It’s wasted energy! And I encourage you to perhaps not comment on others bodies. What you see as a compliment may be a negative to them. It may highlight a perceived flaw they’ve been trying hard to get over. I’ve had to go back and think about what I’ve said to people in the past – but the truth is you just don’t always know how it will affect somebody.

Tbc guys, I guess.

 

Photography by Allie from Rush and Teal // Robe is by Intimissimi

20 comments so far.

20 responses to “Body Confidence – And Why I’m Going To Stop Talking About It (or lack of it…)”

  1. Noreena says:

    Omg I love this post and what you said about accepting and loving your body. I face the same issues myself with how I feel about my body. My problem is with my belly and trying to get a flat stomach. As much as I love to go on instagram seeing women with healthy fit bodies does make me feel like how did they get and what do they do to stay so fit. But on the other hand I see all these women who talk about body confidence and are happy and I’m like why can’t I just be happy like that about myself. I love reading your post and find it relatable even tho I love in yorkshire lol lots of love xx

  2. Emmy Hull says:

    Love this post. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I genuinely feel the same as you. I want to stop living in the skinny girl generation and but it’s so hard when you still see it every day. And like you, I like my body. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. I’m always a size 8-10 (more 10 than 8 at the minute) and when I get into a negative head space where I think I look worse than I did a few days ago I have to reset. I have to tell myself that I fit into the exact same clothes I weigh the same so I can’t be that different! Prob just bloated from all the food 🙌🏼 It’s taken me 22 years to accept my body and another year to start to like it. Maybe soon it’ll love the way it most days instead of a rare occasion. Big love girl this is a great post. And btw the photos are STUNNING x

    • sophie milner says:

      Emmy my babe thank you for your beautiful comment and I can’t wish enough for you to be totally at peace with yourself! It’s fucking hard I know. So hard. I hate myself sometimes but whenever I’m looking at something in the mirror or a photo and saying cruel things I stop myself and replace it with a positive thing – even if it feels forced. It just forces the negativity out! Xxx

  3. Maritza says:

    I started following you on instagram because I love the way you dress and how you combine different accessories with all the outfits you wear. You look classy, effortless and fabulous! Your body is great so don’t be getting upset at those tards who believe they have the right to judge everyone who has the balls to go on instagram and nail it! Lots of love from a Chilean fan who lives in Hong Kong 🙂 x x

  4. Lou Lou says:

    I can’t help but feel like the internet and social media is causing so much pain and unrealistic expectations particularly to young girls and young women. These girls probably didn’t realise that they were insulting you, and were so caught up with putting themselves down that they couldn’t see past their own sadness and unexeptance of themselves to realise that you would be upset reading them. Even at 38 (you’d think I knew myself by now) I look in the mirror sometimes and think oh no look my lips are shrinking or my pores have got huge! Then I realise they prob havent changed its just that your brain gets so used to seeing airbrushed faces with no pores and altered photos that when you catch a glimpse of yourself you are shocked by normal human anatomy! I mean, airbrushing knees and ankles, ppl, really?!!! Don’t get me started on love island, can we just have a bit more cellulite or summin?my 10 yr old niece has more dimples on her bum cheeks! Fortunately I’m old enough to realise this but I feel so much for younger ppl, not just females. It’s all so sad. And by the way I know that there is more to life then outer beauty but I have to say that you ARE beautiful, you are tiny and not at all overweight, believe me you don’t have big legs, you have toned, and very slim legs! You’re just gorgeous and I hope you realise that! Xx

    • sophie milner says:

      Thank you so much for this comment. You’ve honestly hit the nail on the head so much! I honestly feel trapped between wanting to embrace myself and my flaws and chang/ fix things. It’s problematic for sure and I just hope things get better in the future! Xxx

  5. I loved reading this! Which, btw, you look absolutely stunning! I get those half compliments as well or sometimes a “Have you lost weight? You look amazing!” as if I didn’t before dropping a couple pounds? I think a lot of women (and men) have such insecurities about their body that these backhanded compliments somehow make them feel a tad better about whatever is going on in their head.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    You are fucking fabulous, beautiful inside and out. I am flabbergasted that you have received these comments. You need to know these people are projecting their own insecurities and I do not believe these comments are all well intentioned. I hope the next time you see a comment like this you will pity that person and not give it power. I hesitate to make any comment about your body, but I will just say you look freaking amazing and you should be proud of yourself from head to toe. xxx

  7. Lenora Jane says:

    Ugh I hate people commenting on other people’s bodies 🙄 so I def support you not giving people the opportunity to do that by just not talking about it in the first place. I like having bloggers in my feed who aren’t ultra-thin but aren’t plus size either. There’s not enough representation of more mid-size women, so I think by just continuing to do your fab thing, you’re helping body positivity. Other women’s insecurities aren’t your problem, and thanks for being you.

  8. Lisa Autumn says:

    So inspiring Soph! I always love your lifestyle posts!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  9. Firstly, beautiful photos and exceptionally well articulated. It’s really hard to talk emotionally and remain grounded and articulate, but your writing style does just that. Secondly, I loved reading your thoughts and feelings, I nodded along to ALL of it, and felt I could relate entirely. Someone guessing my size, offering me an assumtpive size in store, a bad picture, the use of the word curvey and god knows what else can trigger me to fall right back into the depths of body hate!! I was used to being a lot smaller than I am now and even then I felt fat, now I’m a lot bigger (but happier and more mentally balanced I guess) but I still struggle daily and the instagram perfection is almost worse than the Hilton / Lohan / Richie size zero era, because now the size zero model look almost looks normal and has become a benchmark almost! I’ve gone off on a tangent, but I loved this post x

    • sophie milner says:

      Ahhhh mel thank you so so much. you are so amazing and beautiful and you’ve always been such an inspiration to me with your wonderful blog and content – so thank you for taking the time to comment and i’m glad you feel in a more mentally balanced place! xxxxx

  10. Alice says:

    It sucks how social media has given us this ideal image of the ‘perfect’ body when in reality all body types are perfect and don’t need to be compared

  11. I loved reading this post, I feel like you have written this so perfectly!

    Danielle xx
    https://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

  12. Chantelle says:

    Hello! I’m a new follower of your blog and absolutely love it. Your like a breath of fresh air when it comes to bloggers (no offense 🤦🏻‍♀️)! But it’s for the exact same reasons everyone is commenting on here. I work in the film industry and I once applied for a job as a bloggers full time videographer, the only reason I didn’t get the job is because I’m no longer a perfect size 8!
    I started following you also for your amazing style and have come to see your bubbly personality which makes your articles/insta stories a lot more relatable to the average percent of what I like to call real women. I found my happy body when I was in my early 20’s and then got hit with hypothyroidism🤦🏻‍♀️ What a bummer. In Matter of months I went from a size 6/8uk to 16uk which was such a struggle to say the least haha! It’s been a mental battle but I’m getting past it day by day loving myself again and almost enjoying my new bouncy body haha!

    Probably almost all of my girlfriends apart from one badass has been affected by what society thinks of their body and how it should be to be perfect. Which is horrible that’s 1 out of 6 girls is naturally confident in today’s society.

    Things are changing And there’s more aweaness but we just need to focous on living and being happy. Because really that’s when we’re all our most beautiful right.

    I think it’s great the way you project yourself out to us all and it’s a great reminder that we’re not alone in mental parade.

    I’m a Brit currently in La!

    All the love,

    Chantelle

    • sophie milner says:

      CHANTELLEEEEEE I LOVE THIS COMMENT! you are so amazing and such an inspiration. thank you so much girl xxxxxxxxxx

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