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Category Archives for "Confidence"

How Body Confidence Affects Your Sex Life

Today I'm talking about how body confidence can affect your sex life.



Right, this week, lets talk about sex,  or specifically body confidence and sex. How we feel about our bodies can have a really serious
impact on our sex lives and it isn't like there isn't an absolute tonne of other stuff having an effect as well.  So really, for a lot of women, our sexual relationships do not need yet another thing to ruin them.

Every week I meet women who won't undress in front of their partners, their partners have never seen them in underwear, never seen them naked or if they have it's in the past, it's a dim and distant memory from long ago.  And it's really easy to kid yourself that that isn't an issue - lights off, clothes off, what's the problem? And it might not be a problem, it could be completely fine and if it's not a problem and every thing's working well, that's great. But since I have absolutely loads of conversations with women about this, it's clear to me that for some women it genuinely is a big issue.

If you had a partner who says horrible things to you about your body, and I know that this is scarily common, somebody who puts you down, who makes you feel that there's something wrong with you. Then I don't personally think that it's you that needs to change because it's the other person who needs to sort themselves out.  There's nothing that I can do to resolve that because it's them who needs a stern talking to. You are the one who's awesome and amazing and they are the ones with the problem.

If on the other hand you have a supportive partner who loves you, who compliments you, who makes you feel great then what we do a lot of the time, we put a lot of our body insecurities onto them, because we assume that because we don't like our bodies they can't possibly like them either and effectively we don't trust them enough to share who we are. But we're about to have sex with them and part of good sex is giving ourselves over to someone else, it's a release, we let go.

How much can we honestly let go if we're thinking "is it definitely dark enough in here that you can't possible see my C-section scar"?

So getting ourselves to the point where we will do someone else the honour of letting them see us naked and letting them enjoy and revel in our bodies is a massive favour to us and to our relationships.

So lets assume that our partners aren't as shallow as a puddle and assume that we don't need a perfect body because they probably haven't got a perfect body either. The perfect body doesn't really exist. In fact they're probably going to be perfectly happy with our body and just actually quite excited that we will let them see it. Because bodies are squishy and saggy and they have marks on them but they are unique to us and that's something that we should be sharing with our partners because it's true it's natural.

Now that might feel like that is a big exercise in trust but actually we should trust our partners in a big way so it's completely fine to let go to that degree and to share who we are with somebody else.

One Big Myth About Confidence

Today I'm talking about one big myth about having confidence.



So today I want to talk about one of the big myths about confidence, and that is that confidence is either something that you have, or don't have, and if you don't have it, well, that's that.

It's like learning to drive

Confidence is not something that, if you don't feel like you have it, you never can. It's a skill, and like any skill, it can be learned. Now, you already have loads of skills – although a lot of them you don't really think of as skills, you just take them for granted as 'the things you can do'.  But if you've learned to drive a car – you can learn to have more confidence If you've learned to cook a meal, you can learn to have more confidence. If you've ever passed an exam, learned a language, or managed to navigate your way from A to B - you're using skills that you've learned either through conscious effort, or organically, from watching other people.

I did not, aged 17, suddenly know how to drive. I had to to decide it was a skill I wanted to learn. And then I had to practice and learn. I just want you to understand that having or not having confidence is much more of a choice than we think it is.

If your self confidence is low, then you don't have to accept that as a fact – you can make a choice to build it up and improve your confidence. If you want some help getting started – if you're thinking, "well, that's a lovely theory but it's not very useful" - throughout February I'm going to be putting together some videos that are focused on exactly HOW to start building your confidence, with practical steps that are easy to take – just small changes and challenges – that will help you start to develop the skill of confidence. So if you want to make the choice to be more confident, then look out for them.

Much love,

Anna

xx

How we fall out of love with ourselves

Before we can fall IN love with ourselves, we need to look at how we fall out of love in the first place - where does our confidence go and why?


First off, I have a question - do you remember the TV adverts from the 90s that reassured you that you were going to be feeling so amazing during your period that you would be going roller skating with dogs pulling you along?

Now whilst we may not have actually believed quite those dizzying heights of unreality there is such a gap between the fantasy and the reality it is no wonder that we end up feeling vaguely disappointed with ourselves. Not because we believed that the neighbour's golden retrievers were going to be towing us along on our roller-blades, but because there weren't actually any images showing the reality of what actually happens with our bodies, and really things haven't improved very much over time.

So, before I start talking about how to fall in love with yourself, I need to acknowledge why we fall out of it in the first place.

Firstly our bodies do change A LOT, not even over long periods of time just within any  given month, from one day to the next we can be  unsure of what our body is going to be doing, so when we look in the mirror we're almost surprised and often disappointed in what we see. Add in things like childbirth, weight loss, weight gain, things that can happen like breast cancer. Our bodies are constantly changing in ways that we have no control over whatsoever, and we can really easily get a disconnect between how our bodies actually look and how we think they should look. These can be two completely different things, and also a lot of the time we tend to think that it's just us that has this scar or this stomach pouch or sagging skin, because these things aren't talked about very much - people don't share them - so we end up feeling like we're hiding some kind of shameful secret underneath our clothes. 

So firstly I need to tell you, your body is completely normal. There's nothing going on that is so uncommon that it's just you.

The thing that you're conscious of? Everybody else has got their own thing that they are conscious of. So you have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of your body.

Secondly, when we're younger in our teens, through our twenties, we get to be quite self-centred. Not necessarily in an obnoxious way, but we don't have other priorities. We can prioritise ourselves and at that point in our lives we tend to know really well our likes and dislikes, how we want to spend our time, because we only have to consider our own thoughts, our own feelings, and then we get older and our priorities shift massively.

I'm sure that everybody with children will agree that you don't prioritise yourself, but also what we are really good at putting our partners and jobs our extended family first a lot of the time, and we go to the bottom of the pile.

The movie that is our life

In the movie of our life, where we used to be the central character, we've now become supporting actors in the movies of other people's lives.

We don't think of ourselves, we get lost as individuals in all of the different roles that we play, and we tend to forget who we are as women, as individuals, and often in particular we forget who we are as sexual women, because that becomes so at odds with the roles that we're playing the rest of the time - being a mum, in our jobs, all of that kind of stuff. So we lose track of who we are and what we want. So the keys to starting to fall in love with yourself are, firstly, being a lot more accepting of the changes that your body goes through and, loving it despite its faults and then also we need to reconnect with ourselves as individuals, and listen to what we want to do, how we want to do it, and not just be thinking of ourselves in terms of supporting other people all the time.

We need to start listening to ourselves a hell of a lot more and prioritise ourselves. Which having said it, I know it's not that easy to do, but if we can start to understand what the problems are in the first place, we're putting ourselves in a really good position to solve the problems going forward, and to actually start to feel a whole lot better about ourselves.

new year new you

New year, new you? No thanks!

January is traditionally a time when we get bombarded with messages about how the new year is a perfect time for a new you. We can go on diets and join gyms and apparently improve ourselves in lots of different ways.

I don't want to talk about any of that! I don't want to put out a message that there's something about you that you need to physically change or that you should feel under pressure to change.

So if you're after information on the latest diets or the best way to exercise, that's not something that you're going to find here. My focus is going to be on helping you to love who you are, right now. I'm not going to pretend that nobody has flaws, in fact the exact opposite. We all have flaws and we kind of know that, we don't tend to consider that all of the people that we love in our lives are absolutely perfect. Actually we don't expect perfection in other people and we love them anyway. So all we've got to do is learn to do the same as we do for everyone else, for ourselves.

So this year I want to focus on what we can do to improve our confidence, especially body confidence. So across the year I'm going to be talking about lots of different topics. So things like different areas of our bodies, because we all have our own specific hangups but there are some really common issues that a lot of us get caught up on. But I also want to talk about things that happen in our lives that affect not just how we look but how we feel about ourselves too, so things like menopause - which can have a huge impact on confidence - obviously there's a lot to cover so I'm not going to try and do all of this in one go and as I get feed back and as we go along that's going to kind of guide me and inform me on what to talk about next.

But overall there's going to be a journey to follow here and hopefully it's going to end with us all feeling just that little bit better about ourselves.

Much love,
Anna
xx



Why Bras Sometimes Don’t Fit And It’s Not Your Fault

Bras are not designed well, they are designed to vaguely fit a large amount of women. They have been designed, not to fit perfectly, but to be 'good enough'. So really most women are stuck with a bra that doesn't fit quite right but it's the best that they can get. The fact that your bra doesn't fit you properly is not your fault, you are a completely normal shape, it is the designer and manufacturer that needs to sort it out.


I would like to share with you something that happened to me when I went bra shopping.

So the last time I went bra shopping, I didn't have the best time. After the woman had measured me, by which I mean stared at my chest in a slightly unnerving manner, she went off to find my size in the bras that I chose, and she came back with about three or four in my size. While I was trying them on, there was a problem with the fit of the first one, and then there was a problem with the fit of the second one... and then there was a problem with the fit of the third one. So, I decided to ask her about it, whether I needed a different cup size or something, and she said, no, as you get older (great way to start) the fat in your breast sinks, and your breasts change shape.

Great, so not great news, but we'd identified the problem, so she could bring me the bras that were that shape... yes? No, because that's not the shape that bras are, so I'm either the wrong shape for bras, or what I tend to believe slightly more, bras are the wrong shape for me. It wasn't the best shopping experience I've ever had, but after a lot of trying on I found bras that didn't feel like they were going to flap at the top in a strong breeze. 

Now, there are a lot of women whose breasts aren't the rounded shape of a bra cup, they're far more tear drop shaped. So, I can imagine that this
is a bit of a nightmare for bra manufacturers. Bras already have to come in so many different sizes, so adding different shapes to that would be difficult, but surely, they can do something. Surely one company could specialise in 'mature' shaped bras? 

So, I've come up with two solutions. One would be to add a piece of ribbon or something like that across the top of the cup that could be tightened, like a pouch that changes the shape of the cup and pulls it flat. There would be ruching. You could add that into the design of a bra, I'm sure, make it look pretty, I don't know. My second idea, and I will be honest, I prefer this idea, it's my favourite one. Since it's empty space, and since women's clothes often don't come with functioning pockets, pop a pocket in there. Loads of women tuck things into their bras anyway, hankies, an emergency tenner. Having an actual pocket there that you can use solves two problems in one go, that you can use solves two problems in one go, Breast pockets, so what else should a breast pocket be but a pocket across your breast.