This is the first of a 3 part series where I’ll be talking about the 3 aspects of confidence that I’ve identified as the categories into which the broad definition of confidence can be divided. The way I see it, confidence can be categorized into Body Confidence, Mind Confidence and Soul Confidence.
Confidence can be categorized into Body Confidence, Mind Confidence and Soul Confidence.
In this first post we’ll look at Body confidence because it’s the most obvious and easy to understand category of confidence. It relates to a person’s confidence in their physical presence which is influenced by many external, visible and measureable factors.
Our physical appearance is always the primary characteristic on which we’re being judged by others, especially on first encounters.
Height, weight, shape, skin colour, gender, proportions, facial features, hair colour/texture/length, self expression choices like makeup, clothing and adornments like jewelry or tattoos, are all characteristics upon which we are being appraised by others in the first instance. Some of these attributes we’re born with and have no control over or don’t have the ability to change, while other’s we’ll modify over time as we choose to express ourselves or as we feel the need to conform to certain external standards. Some changes are more dramatic and permanent than others and depend on the degree to which a person feels they need to conform to social prescription.
As we’re being judged outwardly by others we filter that judgement, or perceived judgement, into our own psyche which leads to the formation of our own conclusions about ourselves as it relates to our evidentiary features. This then informs us as to whether we are conforming to social and cultural norms with regard to our physical appearance which will either elevate or deflate our confidence, depending on the degree to which we have an internal or external locus of evaluation – that is whether we trust and value our own judgements or whether we trust, depend upon and value the judgements of others.
Another factor that contributes to and determines our body confidence is our physical ability. The degree to which we are able to perform optimally in a physical challenge or environment impacts the confidence we have in our body. Just think of a time when you’ve surpassed your own personal best in a running race or in a rep count. Having tackled and overcome a physical limitation in the face of substantial pain and effort invariably elevates a persons belief in their capacity and sets them up for even better results the next time they attempt the same challenge. Not only because they proved that they already have the capability but because their body has grown in strength and stamina too.
Closely related to physical ability is the impact of our overall health on our body confidence. When we’re in pique health, our general attitude and confidence in ourselves and our bodies is generally high, or at least as high as our default setting. But find yourself sick in bed with the flu or worse, and you can be assured that you won’t be feeling your most confident. It’s obvious that ill health will have a direct detrimental effect on how we feel, but the indirect impact of ill health like lack of productivity, lack of sleep, lethargy and lack of interest in self-care, among others, can cause your confidence to take a dive.
The final factor related to body confidence, or physical confidence is body language.
Our gestures, our posture, eye contact and micro expressions can tell a lot about a person’s confidence and by the same token, can be used to change a person’s confidence. If our confidence is low our posture will be hunched over and small, our head will be lowered, gestures will be slight and we don’t make as much eye contact. If you find yourself demonstrating this kind of body language and your confidence is low, the way to elevate your confidence is to do the opposite, even if it feels silly and ineffective. By changing your posture – standing tall, pushing shoulders back, lifting your chin, putting hands on your hips, making direct eye contact and bigger arm gestures, your brain will receive messages that signal it to change that feeling of low confidence to higher confidence. Try it and see.
Body Confidence Is…
Body Confidence is therefore the degree to which a person explores, understands, accepts and appreciates their appearance, ability, health and body language. High body confidence gives someone the aptitude to identify if and where changes are required so that through thoughtful consideration they can return to a state of acknowledgment and gratitude for their physical form as it currently exists.