Walking along the beach and I feel the flow of inner confidence…summery, barefoot, in a light singlet dress (that I’ve owned for too many years to even confess to), Millie following beside me and the evening light leaving the sand glowing a creamy pink. I feel good. My hair is tousled from days of sea swimming and it touches my back, just. I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin.
I get back to the ute, put my bikini on and run down to the water. I’m the only one swimming and I have the warm(ish) clear ocean to myself. After body surfing a few small waves, dodging some wayward crabs, floating around on my back watching my toes poke out through the water, in the flow mindfulness and sensuality, I go back up and put a towel around me, ready to drive home.
I look in the rear-view mirror. My inner confidence drops.
My hair’s wet and plastered onto my head, I don’t feel the flow anymore and I definitely don’t feel sexy. I run my fingers through my hair to get it a little less flat but by this time I’ve noticed all the freckles that summer has blessed me with and I’m feeling down on my skin now too. In such a swift moment of basking in the glory of the evening I suddenly feel uncomfortable in that same skin that a few minutes earlier I felt fantastically confident in.
Because I looked in the mirror?
Because of the immediate cascade of thoughts that follow. The comparison. Comparing what I see to what I wish I saw. Comparing what I see to how I felt a few minutes ago when I wasn’t in front of a mirror. Comparing myself to pictures, magazines, movies and other women.
I ponder this thought as I drive back home, noticing that suddenly I’m not watching the light on the trees as closely or how my wet hair feels so refreshing on my neck. I observe myself, wondering how it is that as women we are so quick to judge. So quick to criticise and so quick to wish for something different than what we have.
In my search for deeper self confidence I’ve been practicing shifting this self-deprecating tendency for the last few years.
In the bathroom at home, ready to rinse off I stand and look at myself in the mirror. I look at my freckles, I look at the marks and fine lines and even though criticism is lurking in my mind, I smile. This is my trick these days. When I start getting a bit heavy on myself I smile at the face in the mirror and then I say something nice like, “You’re awesome” or “Look how much fun you’ve been having”, or I just wink at myself.
After all I am my steadiest companion, I am my oldest, most loyal friend, so to keep that relationship healthy I need to focus on the good and feed it with goodness.
Mindfulness, sensuality, being in the moment, not comparing and having tricks to snap you out of that quickly spiralling self-deprecating voice that surfaces = growing inner confidence, contentment and a good relationship with number one – yourself!
Here’s to the journey!