How Does Social Nudity and Nudism Improve Self-Esteem?
Nudism Improves Self-Esteem by Felicity Jones:
Being Naked and Nudism Improves Self-Esteem – I was in the locker room at the Travasuns naked pool party, getting dressed to leave when another woman doing the same started openly lamenting her weight and figure. “I need to lose weight,” she said, “I wish I looked like you.” My response was, “Now that is the wrong mentality!”
Have you ever had somebody else envy your body, complain about certain parts of their bodies, or judge themselves out loud? They say things like, “I’m so fat,” “I wanna get really skinny / I need to lose weight,” “I need to have a flat stomach.” I have definitely spent too much time trying to convince friends with low self-esteem that they were not “fat,” that their body and size were “normal,” and that they didn’t need to lose weight.
But it’s not that easy to change how other people feel about their bodies. Some people, when they look in the mirror, start judging and criticizing themselves about every little bit of flab and flaw. They don’t see what you see when they look in the mirror.
You might think that since I grew up as a nudist that I’d have great self-esteem and effortlessly feel good about my body. I did spend many of my summers in social nudism, but the rest of the year I was living in the textile world. I read fashion and beauty magazines and still felt pressure to look good, wear trendy clothing and make-up in school. I was very shy and insecure (admittedly still a little shy sometimes). I was and still am thin, but that didn’t keep me from judging my own body and living with a fear of getting fat.
I had this terrible mental habit of comparing my own body to those of other girls, from the ones I saw in real life to the models in the magazines, to figure out what I should look like. Am I as skinny as she is? Do I have cellulite? Are my thighs too fat? I wish I had straighter lines in my figure like her. My friend, who also grew up as a nudist, developed an eating disorder in college, in spite of her deep involvement in nudism. It just goes to show how invasive the skinny=beautiful notion is. Also, did anyone enter college in fear of gaining the “Freshman 15”? It doesn’t even exist.
The reality is that it doesn’t matter what your size is or what you look like if your mind has been infected with a sense of inadequacy. People of any shape and size can feel ugly, inadequate and overweight, and so many young women (and men, but less so) are obsessed with getting thin.
That’s what today’s beauty and fashion magazines are counting on to make money, from women especially. Thank you, Ashley Judd, for recently standing up against the ridiculous puffy-face accusations and using it for discussion about the objectification of women. Read her letter here. She brings up a good point: women judge each other and participate in patriarchy, too!
But wait! You don’t have to listen to all those messages telling you you’re not good enough, need to diet, or need plastic surgery! I want to share this awesome video from Laci Green, sex-positive blogger and sex-ed teacher, about having better self-esteem. Her advice can make a difference. Give up beauty, fashion, and gossip magazines. Most women’s magazines are totally focused on beauty / weight-loss advice (based on the premise that you’re never good enough), along with selling the products to help you with that.
Don’t even be fooled by the ones that print a little body-positive material because the rest of the magazine will contradict it. There are a few good magazines out there, though. I recommend Bust magazine and Bitch magazine. No matter what magazine you’re reading, it’s good to remind yourself that all images on its pages have been airbrushed, edited and photoshopped (unless they explicitly state that they don’t engage in this practice). You’re not looking at reality.
Also be mindful of what you watch on TV. Notice which TV shows make you feel more self-conscious and / or induce negative thoughts about your body. Mute the TV when commercials come on. You don’t know what messages you are subconsciously picking up from commercials while you’re sleeping or otherwise occupied.
Try to stop judging your own body and others’ bodies. Cutting out the negative self-talk I mention above can make a big difference. Notice next time you find yourself engaging in “fat talk” with your friends. Just decide not to do that anymore. Tell your friends it only makes you and them feel bad. Change the subject. Start noticing your inner mind chatter, too, because you can learn to control your thoughts.
If you find yourself criticizing someone else’s body, cancel that thought and notice a beautiful part instead. You wouldn’t want someone criticizing you like that, would you? By judging others, you are dis-empowering them and yourself. Whenever a negative thought comes up, change it to a positive one. Tell yourself that you don’t want to think these thoughts anymore. Come up with a few positive statements (aka affirmations) that you can say to yourself every day, such as: My body is a good body. I am proud of what my body can do. I love and respect myself. The best way to do this is to start with statements that you don’t have a hard time believing.
For example, “I love my body” might be too much to start with. Your mind chatter might say, “No, I really hate it!” So you could start with something else like, My body deserves love, or, It’s okay to love myself now as I continue to evolve. You can also use statements that you don’t believe just yet, and as they say, “fake it til you make it.” Be gentle with yourself. It takes a bit of time to eliminate negative thinking, especially when you’ve been repeating certain thoughts for a long time.
You can search online and easily find more affirmation ideas. Use whichever ones resonate with you!
And my favorite piece of advice from Laci Green: Get Naked! If you’re not a naturist, you can start going nude at home. Then, I think one of the BEST ways to feel good about yourself is to see the beautiful, uncensored bodies of people in real life who are confident and comfortable just as they are. This is one reason I love naturism.
This article about how Nudism Improves Self-Esteem was published by – Young Naturists And Nudists America YNA