Summer is coming. And if you’re anything like I was (and still am sometimes!), the thought of wearing shorts and tank tops sends you into a panic. (Or you avoid it altogether and refuse to bare any skin at all…)
Are you constantly trying to hide your body? Do you always look for ways you can disguise, camouflage or cover those parts of yourself that you hate?
Then read on, my dear, because this article is for you 🙂
I’ve been in a relationship with my significant other for about 4 years and realized the other day that for the past few months, I’d been trying to “hide” my stomach.
It was something I hadn’t realized I was doing and it sort of crept up on me.
It dawned on me that even though I’m relatively comfortable in my skin, I still find ways to look “perfect” and attempt to hide any part of my body that I don’t think is ideal.
My significant other, on the other hand, has no body shame. He walks around naked, not giving a crap about any parts of his body that aren’t “perfect”. He sleeps naked and is in the nude as much as he possibly can be (within social norms, of course 🙂 )
And then there’s me.
I’m always covered up. When I’m drying my hair, I wear at least a shirt. I sleep clothed. I get out of the shower and walk around in my towel. I rarely just strip down to my birthday suit and confidently walk around in front of him.
I’ve realized lately that even when we’re intimate, I’m always (consciously or unconsciously) trying to avoid those instances where he could potentially see the parts of me that don’t look like I think they’re “supposed to”.
When I realized what I had been doing, I told him about it. I promised to myself I’d work on letting go of this idea of perfection and show all of myself to him. Not just the parts I think are “acceptable”.
Now this is not easy. Especially when you don’t think you are where you want to be weight-wise.
So, what does it mean to show up without hiding yourself?
It takes a lot of courage to show up as you are, without hiding the parts of yourself you don’t think are good enough.
But hiding perpetuates the feeling that you aren’t enough. It only reinforces the shame and embarrassment we have around our body, because we never actually reveal our insecurities to the world. So they become even bigger and more unacceptable in our minds.
It’s like carrying a secret. The weight of holding on to a deep secret feels like a heavy burden on our souls. But once we reveal it to someone, and it’s met with compassion and love, we feel like ten pounds has been lifted from our shoulders.
Our deepest desire is that we want to be seen and loved as we are.
We all just want to be seen and loved. But really seen-not seen for the facade that we put forth, but seen as our messy, imperfect, don’t-have-it-altogether-selves.
And yet, we’re terrified to show that to the world when we find so many things we need to fix about ourselves.
My question to you is this:
Can you risk showing up and being seen as your imperfect self?
This is risky, yes. What if you get rejected? What if someone makes a comment?
But risking rejection is what paves the way for freedom. Vulnerability is what connects each of us to others.
It’s incredibly satisfying to risk showing the world your 100% true self, rather than hiding, and being accepted for only part of yourself.
So, how do you let go of hiding your body?
Perhaps you wear a dress that shows off your arms even if you think they’re too flabby.
Maybe you put on shorts to work out, even if you’re terrified people judge your thick legs.
You risk showing your imperfections, whether that’s your stomach you think is too muffin-top-y, your thighs that jiggle or your butt that has too much cellulite.
This is what creates more freedom around your body. These small steps of refusing to hide yourself and having the courage of showing up as who you are.
We all have aspects of ourselves that we want to hide. Whether it’s physical parts of our body, a situation we’ve dealt with in the past, or a personality quirk we try to keep under wraps, each of us has something that we feel less than stellar about.
The key is to let go of hiding it.
Show up in this world as you. Your complete, real, raw self.
Because when you can put yourself out there in the world and realize that no one cares as much about your flaws as you do, it’s incredibly liberating.
Years ago, when I was traveling in South America, my friend and I went to this nude beach in Brazil. I was TERRIFIED to bare it all. The gal I was with had a runner’s body-long, lean, and toned. And I wasn’t at my ideal weight, weighed probably 25 pounds more than I did now, and wasn’t exactly in love with my body.
But I had to do it. I wanted to prove to myself that I could walk naked down to the water with confidence.
And so…I did it. I acted like I had confidence. I acted like I didn’t care. I took off my bathing suit and walked down to the water. It was equal parts terrifying and liberating.
The world didn’t end. No one said anything. No one even paid any attention.
And so it goes as you begin to let go of hiding. You realize people aren’t really paying attention to every flaw that you see. People are so concerned with their own insecurities that they’re not even looking at you!