When you look up gumption, you get common sense, resourcefulness, initiative, courage, spunk. One definition I came across is “shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness”. I like the sound of that. Somebody who combines intelligence, common sense, and the courage and initiative to act on that amazing combination. SIGN ME UP.
There’s a lot of “body confidence” stuff going around the internet, but I feel like intelligence, spunk, and (especially) common sense could really be useful in thinking about it. Let’s bring some gumption to this situation.
Let’s lay a couple of base rules about body confidence:
1) Pinterest isn’t real life. It’s a collection of pictures that you can click through and sort into categories. Don’t let it ruin any of your happiness with thoughts like “I don’t have nice enough things.” / “I have too many things. And they aren’t nice enough.” / “I should enjoy running – everybody else seems to love running.” / “Why doesn’t my hair do that?” / “Why doesn’t my hair do ANYTHING?” / “Why am I so much fatter than that woman?” / “Well, of course it looks good on HER.” / “HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN ON HERE?” Just to clarify – I don’t have a problem with sorting pictures into categories. I just get concerned when it shapes the way I automatically sort things in my mind. So take any Pinterest advice on body confidence with caution. Same goes for Instagram and Facebook and whatever the kids are up to nowadays.
2) It’s okay to not be completely confident in your body. Bodies break down – we get sick, our bones break, our organs don’t work how they are supposed to, plus hormones mess with us (stop it now, hormones). We don’t have perfect bodies. So have common sense – get to know your strengths and your weaknesses. So often, body confidence refers to embracing how you look, when there is so much more to a person than how their body looks. The human body is such a complicated apparatus, it’s amazing we work at all. So give thanks for everything that works (from the cellular level up) and then figure out how to deal with the parts that don’t work.
3) Most women I know want to lose five pounds (at least), so we have to learn to deal with that feeling. Common sense says there are two options: live with it or do something about it. Either way, talking about wanting to lose weight doesn’t help. You can consciously decide to stay the weight you are and be happy about it, or you can exercise and/or eat less until you change shape. Whichever you decide, dress for the weight you are now, not what you want to be in the future. Opting out until after you change size creates extra pressure and can foster unhappiness. Have gumption! Have common sense and initiative – know what you can do and do it. Then rest easy knowing that you are doing something, not just worrying about something.
4) Dressing well can make you feel more confident. Pick clothes that make you look great and stop thinking about how those jeans would look on somebody else, or how they would look if you lost five pounds. Or ten pounds. Find the kind of clothes that make you happy. Mine would have to be a well-structured dress that highlights my curves. When I put on one of my favorite dresses, I feel like one of those powerhouse actresses from the 1930s – one of those beautiful, witty, fast-talking women whose presence commanded attention.
5) Having a great personality is a good thing. “She has a great personality” sounds like an insult, but it absolutely is not. Being smart, being funny, being kind, being quirky, being enthusiastic, being caring, being honest – these all translate to how people perceive you. Don’t let lack of body confidence get in the way of anything else you should have confidence in. It is just one part of you. Don’t hide at home because your body isn’t perfect. Get out there and do things! Have initiative and go for it! Love life and don’t let imperfections get you down. Life isn’t perfect and we aren’t perfect.