The on-going conversation you have with yourself is the single most important one in your life. The tone you adopt on any given day – generous and kind or, more likely, self-flagellating and berating – can define the state of your mood, resilience and compassion towards others.
So... sort of a big deal. It's why WH is on a mission to change the language you use in your internal monologue. And, hear this: it needs changing.
The data don't lie. As part of our Project Body Love Initiative, WH commissioned a piece of research exploring how women in the UK feel about the way that they look. The results? Scary.
Only 4% of UK women feel beautiful, with 55% saying that looking at themselves in the mirror or in photos triggers insecurity. One person we thought would be ideal for gifting body confidence tips is Valentina Rock (yes, her real name) a 41-year-old Italian living in London.
As a life drawing model, she gets naked in front of strangers a few times a week – though on Zoom, these days. Class sizes run from private sessions with a single artist, to up to 100 people.
For Valentina, the whole self-acceptance thing has been a process – one that's been aided by her five years doing this sort of work.
Here's her advice to you.
Body confidence tips from a life drawing model
1. Spend more time naked
'I think it is so important to spend time naked. At home, or when you sleep just get used to your body – to seeing it, to it not being a sexualised thing. The more you do this, the more accepting you become of yourself. I used to go to bed in big pyjamas, but no more.'
2. Think about yourself from a different perspective
'Seeing the way that people draw me is interesting. I might see myself a certain way, but they'll illustrate me differently. Knowing that your story isn't the one that everyone else has in their heads can be liberating. It puts things in perspective.'
3. Know that you can celebrate your body without loving it, every day
'Celebrating your body doesn't mean that you have to be 100% happy with everything, all the time. I have a bit of a belly and thigh rolls but I enjoy them.
'Would I like to lose them a bit? Yes! But I can still be glad for my body and what it can do. I find that an artist will often compliment my curves and that gives me fresh perspective.'
4. Mindset is 50% of the process
'Sophia Loren said 50% of attractiveness is what you've got and 50% what you think you’ve got. I try and remember that. How you carry yourself; your confidence, is so important.'
5. Practice your affirmations
'I say affirmations to myself every morning. I say "I am beautiful." It's powerful.'
6. Work your posture
'In life drawing, you switch poses throughout the class and you learn that how you hold yourself is important. It's changed how I carry myself day-to-day and means that I've learnt to move with confidence. Good posture can change your self-perception, as well as how others see you.'
7. Adjust your social media wallpaper
8. Invest in your ageing process
'Turning 40 hit me; it felt like a mile stone. I find that keeping a diary, reading, reflecting and taking myself to museums, making time for rituals like making myself a nice coffee in the morning is helpful – I check in with myself regularly and show myself that I matter. When it comes to body confidence, that's part of the work.'
9. Know that you need to put the work in
'I wasn't always body confident. And it was a struggle, when I was younger. And, because I'm a size 14, when I tell people I'm a model, I can sometimes see them thinking "really?" But I've developed this new perspective on myself – and that has really been the key.'
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