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Are You Constantly Trying to Hide Your Body?

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…)

trying to hide your body

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!

So, take a risk this week. When you find yourself wanting to hide, cover yourself up, and conceal your “imperfections”, be brave enough to show yourself anyway 🙂

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10 comments

  • I think this message was just for me. My mother has always told me that my arms are too big to wear sleeveless anything and that my legs look like tree trunks. Therefore I never wear sleeveless and I never wear dresses. My husband always tells me how gorgeous I look in tank tops and dresses but I have it so ingrained in my head that my body is ugly that I don’t believe him. After reading this article I am going to try to wear some tank tops this summer and maybe a dress or two. It is going to be very hard for me to go in public so I might try it at home a few times first. Thank you so much for this post though! Very encouraging! I can’t believe you were able to go naked on a beach! Wow! That is impressive!

  • This might be the first time I ever disagree with you (EVER!), but I don’t really understand why I would do this. Wearing flattering clothes makes me feel better about myself, and can really perk up my mood. I don’t see what I would achieve by showing off the bits that I don’t like as much.

  • Lol, I can’t believe I went naked on a beach either. My only consolation was that it was in Brazil and I would never see any of these people again… 🙂 Yes! Wear tank tops and a dress! Try it out as an experiment and see how it goes 🙂 It requires some courage, but it’s so worth it!

  • Ally, I’m not condoning wearing clothes that flatter you 🙂 I definitely agree that we all need clothes we feel really comfortable in. My point is not to squeeze your body into a size 6 if a size 12 is your normal size. Nor am I saying wear super short shorts and a tank top just to show off your body. What I am saying is that the more we “hide” ourselves and feel ashamed about our bodies, the bigger of an issue it becomes for us. It sort of makes it more “true” in our minds…well, no one is seeing my flaws and accepting me, so if I do show up with my imperfections, they may criticize me (or however it goes in our heads).

    For example…do I always wear a bikini on the beach? No, because sometimes I don’t feel comfortable with my stomach. But that doesn’t mean I need to hide my stomach in clothes, just because I dont’ think it’s good enough. It’s speaking to the point that we are our own worst enemies…and sometimes we think we don’t look good in ANYTHING and have to hide so much of ourselves. Hope that helps! And if not, you can disagree 😉 that’s what makes for a healthy conversation! XO

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to reply Jenn, I think I know what you mean. Perhaps I need to separate why I’m ‘hiding’ – is it because it makes ME feel more comfortable, it is because I’m scared of what other people would think??
    I’m guilty of enduring summer covered in black from head to toe, and not feeling able to wear the cool, floaty dresses that everyone else wears so effortlessly, because of the shape of my arms and the scars on my legs. And I’ve never worn a bikini in my life!

    Ok, I need to do some soul searching on this one! You’ve really given me something to think about – thanks again 🙂

  • Hi Jenn and all. I read all your posts and blogs with great interest even if I don’t post. I joined this group in the winter.. The latest post about hiding oneself is so true. I have only recently decided to stop comparing myself to everyone else in the world and have decided that I am truly unique. I will never be a size 10 ( I was close once, I think it was a Thursday), and I have only very recently decided that I look good, and will wear what I am comfortable in and what fits properly. I am 74 years old, and have battled weight since childhood. We have to remember we are all unique. I eat sensibly, avoid processed food, and I try very hard to not let emotions dictate what and where I eat. No food is forbidden. I am as good as everyone else. I will not feel shame because I am eating ice cream or cake. I am as good as everyone else. And I look as good as everyone else, better than some. Jenn, You have been an inspiration for me.

  • Of course! And yes…pondering the separation between hiding to feel comfortable vs what others think is a great reflection…I’ve done it many times 🙂 It can definitely be scary to let go of hiding, but so much of this process is just taking a baby step forward. that gives you momentum and courage to then take another step! XO

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