"why, what a remarkably self possessed young woman"
March 16, 2012 8:15 PM   Subscribe

What are specific things have you done that have improved your self-esteem and confidence?

Either specific (successful) actions you've taken to improve self esteem and confidence, or things you've done where that was a surprise bonus.

I guess I should say, I'm asking this question specifically because I tend to be kind of insecure in dating and actually social relationships in general, so I'm most interested in that angle. (I'm okay in terms of having the confidence to take non-interpersonal risks-- like travelling or bungee jumping or whatever-- it's when you throw another person in there that I become more unsure of myself. And by "unsure" I mean that in dating I can be a doormat and in friendship I can be unnecessarily worried about whether I'm actually liked.)

Comments about other aspects of self esteem are welcome as well though. I'm female and 24 if you'd like to tailor your responses to that time in your life or share a gender specific comment.

Apologies if there are similar questions, I looked but most seem to be pretty snowflake-y, while I'm looking for specific ideas and experiences.
posted by geegollygosh to Human Relations (40 answers total) 142 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: "What are specific things have you done that have improved your self-esteem and confidence?"

uh, so that should either be-- "what are specific things you have done..." or "what specific things have you done..." I unsuccessfully tried to split the difference, apparently.
posted by geegollygosh at 8:18 PM on March 16, 2012

Professional teeth whitening. I've never smiled this much and felt like such a sunny, sociable person in my life.
posted by halogen at 8:26 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I took an introductory acting class, which was great for boosting my self-confidence and for helping to reduce my self-consciousness. The class was entirely improvisational, so the whole class was spent doing goofy things and saying things off-the-cuff. As someone who has always worried about saying the wrong thing and what other people will think, the class was a great way to practice just saying whatever, not overthink, be in the moment, and helped me realize most of what I say or do really doesn't matter as much as I thought.
posted by feidr2 at 8:38 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I say this here a lot, but weightlifting/strength training. I honestly don't really understand why, but it has made me much more confident and secure as a person, and more comfortable in my body. I started when I was about your age, and although I was totally a non-sporty person, for the first time I told my body to do stuff, and it obeyed. And it got stronger and fitter, and I was quite impressed with myself, and I liked the way it changed how I looked (more balanced) and moved.

And since so few women lift weights, it doesn't take much before you get stronger than just about everyone you know, which is fun and affirming too. Seriously, you can get to being the one who can lift things others can't, who moves heavy furniture without sweating, and who gets asked to open jars, just with a couple of months of training.
posted by lollusc at 8:39 PM on March 16, 2012 [29 favorites]

Swimming/running/any kind of exercise. Making stuff. Helping people.
posted by The Toad at 8:57 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

. . . or things you've done where that was a surprise bonus.

Frustration with being single finally swamped my social anxiety, and I went out on a lot dates via OKCupid over a few years. While only one turned into a relationship, the other takeaways were equally valuable:

1. I finally figured out that most other people are much, much more interested in themselves they they are in me. It was incredibly freeing to know that other people were equally self-absorbed / self-focused, and weren't scrutinizing me in the way that I'd imagined, and that had intimidated me so badly.

2. I learned that I could talk to almost anyone for half an hour or so, despite how hugely I'd built up idle chit-chat as an impossible, terror-inducing task in my mind. People want to talk about their lives, and all you have to do is give them an opening and listen.

Understanding this has changed my life for the better - I no longer see most other people, esp. strangers, as potential judging me, but rather as only peripherally interested in me at best. It's liberating to know that most people are paying very little attention.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:58 PM on March 16, 2012 [23 favorites]

Improv classes. I did my therapy thing many years ago, but I was still struggling with things like eye contact and failure. Improv taught me a million lessons, all in the safe space of classes.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:02 PM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

1. Therapy
2. Busting my ass to actually address hard issues in therapy
3. Turning my back on every relationship that felt more painful than it was worth...and yes, that left me pretty damn lonely for a long time
4. Learning to live as me, by myself, without that cast of extras, until I was comfortable being alone & doing things despite the lack of company & started feeling confident I could take care of myself
5. Got rid of my TV

You know, despite the romance entertainment media has with 20-somethings, 20-30 is actually HARD. It's when most of us try to work out what kind of adult we are going to be. And it takes _years_ to settle into that new frame of reference. So many of my younger friends have expressed surprise that I was right: 30 is better, way more comfortable. It has less fire, but you know a lot more about who you are and where you fit in the world.

You will flounder in your 20s. Be kind to yourself about your failures. You will find your feet if you do the work & don't just let your social crutches carry you through the decade.
posted by Ys at 9:17 PM on March 16, 2012 [24 favorites]

I have problems with self-consciousness, too.. I always think people are staring at me and think I'm a weirdo. People have to tell me they like me/approve of me out loud (like, spell it out) before I believe them.

Exercise has been helpful in this regard for general well-being and self-esteem... I particularly like yoga because it is non-competitive, builds strength as well as flexibility, and incorporates meditation/relaxation. I always feel very calm and good about myself after a yoga class.

As I've gotten older, I've realized that when interacting with people, it is great to ask a lot of questions. This prevents me from babbling about random things and myself (then feeling silly later) It seems so simple, but when you keep that in mind, social situations are a bit easier. I love asking people for advice, for example.. like if someone just finished a project/school, I will ask them where they get their motivation. (It's a compliment and gets the conversation going).

I have a feeling that, because you sort of imply that you don't fit in, you probably are not an average, regular gal. I imagine you are quite unique and interesting! Never feel like you have to hide your personality... I read somewhere that the happiest people are the ones who allow themselves to be vulnerable and open... it's probably because they attract lots of people and people feel comfortable around them. (If you act comfortable about yourself - flaws and all - other people feel comfortable).

Hope this helps.. I, and many others, often feel uncomfortable with the social stuff. It mostly gets better with age, if that's any consolation. Believe it or not, turning 30 is awesome and you start caring less about what people think.
posted by cejl at 9:17 PM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]

I was in a noise band that was boldfacedly terrible, and loud enough to drive any potential hecklers out of the venue. Which was the point! Best therapy ever.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:41 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll reiterate my answer to this question (which you might also find helpful), although this goes more to confidence in your physical appearance:

I stopped reading snarky internet gossip blogs (I never read Perez Hilton because that was too low for even me, but along those lines). The incessant negativity about women and their bodies really got to me, and I've become much happier and self confident with less exposure to those attitudes.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 10:06 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Unintentionally, dance classes. Part of it is being trained to stand better, present yourself more powerfully, etc. You can't do that without some of it rubbing off.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:08 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I may sound like a cold, money-grabbing Scrooge, but having a fat savings account makes me feel confident. I earned every dollar of it, and if I were fired tomorrow, I'd be fine for a solid 6 months. (Less fine, but still OK, for longer.)

I think this is because when I was really poor, every little financial cut was an even bigger gouge in my self-esteem. If I made a mistake that cost $20 to fix, that was a Big Deal and why hadn't I been smarter about that? Nowadays a $20 mistake will not knock me over. It's not even a thing.

Money can't always solve your problems (unless your problem is "No money"), but it can stop the bleeding long enough for you to fix things.

Other things that help with confidence: exercise, and getting enough sleep and whatever. But really, money. Money money money.

posted by guybrush_threepwood at 10:33 PM on March 16, 2012 [11 favorites]

posted by ainsley at 10:40 PM on March 16, 2012

I'm still working on this, but I have to echo what others here are saying about getting older - my calmer, much more stable thirties are a massive relief after a very turbulent decade.

In that ten years, several things that made me more sociable/less self conscious and self-doubting were:

-Taking a job as a barmaid at a local pub and being forced to interact with people (I was painfully shy). From this I learned most people really aren't so bad (some were incredibly rude of course (!) but they were the exception not the rule).

-Being more curious about others and asking lots of questions. People generally want to share their experiences and you can learn a lot of crazy unexpected things you'd never have guessed about them in a million years.

-Accepting that sometimes people can have their own issues that makes them rude/insulting (I used to blame myself for any negative interaction with others - sometimes it really is just them being an asshole).

-Learning to give yourself a break, admit that you're human and not beat yourself up about every tiny thing you get wrong. Seeing mistakes as things to learn and grow from, instead of using them as a stick to beat yourself with.

-If I had a time machine, there's two unbelievably shitty boyfriends I'd ditch wayyy earlier than I did because of 'money issues': the damage incurred from staying with people who don't respect you, who mistreat you - it lasts. It is not worth the money you save. Don't stay with abusive partners (or anyone who makes you feel awful) a minute longer than you have to. Life is short. Too short to be miserable and burdened with sad memories and trust issues.

-Skills. Going to the gym, playing an instrument, making things... is great! If you start now, a few years down the road you'll have a load of cool things you can do pretty well. They might lead you to meet fun people or just surprise people with at parties. This year I learned how to hula hoop (it's pretty badass - you should see the tricks I can do!) At 25 I learned how to sew and can alter my clothes and sew simple dresses. When I was 27 I started playing ukulele and I can do that pretty well now, and play in a circle locally. Going to the gym made me feel like my body had a purpose beyond just being scrutinized for attractiveness by men I didn't know. I'm involved in a local women's health organisation and that helps me feel like my I have a positive presence in the world. I'm sure you could find your own versions of these that might help.

-Having someone good to talk to. I can't afford therapy but have an amazing, insightful friend I talk to (we're there for each other - it's not just one way!) that has helped me to come come to conclusions I'd never have arrived at alone.

Good luck! I hope everything goes well, and I'm rooting for you.

posted by everydayanewday at 12:32 AM on March 17, 2012 [22 favorites]

Group therapy.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:01 AM on March 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yoga and dance classes. It's nice to have a place where there are no penalties for making mistakes.
posted by spunweb at 3:04 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are some things I do when I'm feeling down that I know will bring me back to an even keel.

-You have friends and family (I assume) that love you. Call them.
-Do something that you know you're good at. Again. Just to remind yourself that you still know how to OWN that thing.
-Exercise. The best anti-depressant that I know of.
-Ask people questions. Everyone LOVES the person that wants to know more about them.
-Sometimes I get down when my phone doesn't ring and no one texts me and when I sign into FaceBook, there's no red in the upper left hand corner. This tells me it's time reach out. So I do. And then people WILL flood you with "I miss you!" and "How are ya? Been thinking about you!" I love looking at my phone and seeing 3 missed calls and 4 texts. (That's a lot for me). Sincere or not, I always get off on feeling "popular"...or at least thought about in return.
-Vacation. Travel. Learn something. I always feel really good after that. A change of perspective is nice and confidence boosting because I usually have a lot to talk about after an awesome trip.
-Retail therapy. Enough said. Damn it, buy that dress (or suit) that hugs every curve (male equivalent). And the matching shoes!
-Flirt with that guy or girl. At the very least, smile at strangers. You're generally going to get one back.
-Get back to nature. Build a fire. Make friends with a squirrel. It might sound stupid but it works.
-Try something you've never tried before. Suck at it. Try again and realize you don't suck as bad as you did the first try. Keep trying if you want.
-Keep secrets people tell you tight and safe (unless they're the kind of secret police need to know about, but c'mon, how often does that happen?). Don't be a gossip. Everyone loves the person they can confide in. They'll tell you all their (juicy!) secrets.
-Don't apologize unless you actually did something that merits an apology.
-Anticipate is something I do all the time that most people don't. If I see you reaching for a cigarette, I have a lighter ready for you before you can reach for one. If I know you really well and I'm seeing you right after you got off of a long shift at work that involves standing, please, take my chair; I've been sitting all day. I'm making coffee, would you like some? I'm not saying be someone's butler but do one nice thing for the people you know. Things you think they might want at that moment. You can get really good at this and people really like it.
-Cook an old recipe or something you've been meaning to try. Invite someone to eat with you.
posted by smeater44 at 4:00 AM on March 17, 2012 [12 favorites]

Getting dumped by my first girlfriend.

No, really. It sucked at the time, but afterward it was like... that all you got? Huh. Well alright then.

From then on, the fear of rejection was significantly diminished. I knew what it was, and it didn't scare me anymore.
posted by valkyryn at 4:09 AM on March 17, 2012

I forgot. Get a pet. Geez, my waking up is about the highlight of my cat's whole frickin' day.
posted by smeater44 at 4:10 AM on March 17, 2012 [13 favorites]

I stopped reading gossip or fashion magazines. They perpetuate ugly, empty consumerism and tell women they should never be happy with their bodies.

I took improv classes and joined a troupe. One of improv's tenets is that failure is good. If you're going to fail on stage, fail BIG because it means you committed to what you tried instead of half-assing it. And after you've failed onstage in class, you realize failing in a show isn't terrible. And after you've failed in a show (which is only one night, because it's improv!) you realize failing occasionally in real life is not only ok, but how you learn.

Also, weightlifting gives me balance and stability and confidence that my body can do whatever I ask of it.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:15 AM on March 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

Practicing making eye contact with people in low-risk situations, e.g. with the counter person as they handed me change and I smiled and said thank you, with the bus driver as I paid my fare, with random people on the street (though I'm told this is inadvisable in cities.) I discovered that nothing bad happens when you make eye contact with people (helping to defeat the unconscious conviction I had that everyone was out to mock me mercilessly), and now I'm better at making eye contact generally (though I still have to consciously remind myself to do it when I'm stressed or tired).
posted by BrashTech at 7:02 AM on March 17, 2012

Realizing that how I feel on the inside and how I appear to other people on the outside often have nothing to do with each other and can even be opposites. The belief that I was "a bad actress" and "transparent" really hampered me for a long time. Eventually I started noticing that when I was tired, sick, or just feeling really bad about myself and my day, people were sometimes still very enthusiastic and friendly, almost like they had no idea! And vice versa- when I was all made up, outgoing and feeling great, people were sometimes having problems of their own or preoccupied. Feeling upbeat and reaching out does have a ripple effect that brightens other people's days, but at the same time, just remember that you aren't transparent. Even if you feel awful on the inside, something great could happen anyway. It's much more about just showing up and embracing other people's moods. Learn not to get lost in your feelings (good or bad) because they really don't show on the outside as much as you think, and they won't stop you from connecting with people.
posted by quincunx at 7:55 AM on March 17, 2012 [7 favorites]

At age 22 I decided I'd had enough of feeling worthless, and I read through all of Feeling good and did the exercises; started going to one-on-one CBT therapy weekly; and also joined a free group therapy group at my university. Doing all this at once, I was able to spend a solid semester just concentrating on delving into myself, discovering why I had low self esteem and trying to eradicate it. During this time I also started doing online dating, actually at the urging of my therapist! I went from being terrified to even send a guy a single message, to being 100% confident on dates, purely by going on a lot of mediocre dates and realizing how silly it all was. If you can't afford therapy, I really recommend getting that book and doing the exercises. My whole life changed after that one semester.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:14 AM on March 17, 2012

-Made a list of all the badass things I'd like to do if I could reinvent myself - and figured out ways to learn to do them. No more waiting around for the boyfriend with a motorbike - I got my licence myself etc.
-Started buying myself flowers when I did something awesome, or was having a rough day etc
-Got my lip pierced without regard for whether others (the guy i was dating etc) would find it attractive, because *I* thought it would look great and very "me" - and also as a small high five to the teenage version.of myself who hoped I'd do things like that as an adult. Sounds small but it was a symbolic way of owning my own appearance for my own joy rather than other peoples approval
-stopped dating a guy I was totally smitten with because I didn't think he treated me as well as I deserved when I got sick - even though it made me really sad because I'd really hoped he was the guy for me, it felt good to be setting the bar high for myself
-made the decision to reach out to friends when I needed a bit of love
-stopped spending time with "friends" who didn't encourage me to be the full expression of myself
-wrote my resume and realised I have achieved a lot more than I'd thought
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 8:26 AM on March 17, 2012 [10 favorites]

Achieving an athletic goal. Something that has specific goals you can work to each week. I'm training for a half marathon and sometimes I wish that I was just working on trying to get down to an 11 minute mile rather than running 13. I put in the effort each weeks (the long runs, speed workouts, etc) but I wish I could look at the seconds go down as I give myself a mile time trial each week.

All the same I really feel that there has been a large change in me with the training, but still I think a very specific that you can see the improvement in each week is important.
posted by raccoon409 at 9:06 AM on March 17, 2012

I'm okay in terms of having the confidence to take non-interpersonal risks-- like travelling or bungee jumping or whatever-- it's when you throw another person in there that I become more unsure of myself. And by "unsure" I mean that in dating I can be a doormat and in friendship I can be unnecessarily worried about whether I'm actually liked.

Confidence is something you can learn.

As far as being a doormat goes, I used to tell myself, "It's not that big a deal, I'll just suck it up" when I noticed people crossing lines. Now I tell myself, "If it's not a big deal, it won't be a big deal for me to say no."

As far as being liked goes, there are some people who do it way too easily. As in, they do it about everyone. If these are the people you are worrying about in friendship, there is no way to get that approval. The other person gets off on denying it, and makes the worst assumptions they can about people. Recognize it as a fixed game, and don't play, by avoiding these people and finding friends who make better assumptions about people. A good sign that people are doing this is the emotional energy they put into talking about it with others.

Sometimes it's not a rigged game, though, and people simply don't like other people. With this, it's not personal, and they'll probably simply avoid you. Assume that if people are talking with you, and they're not throwing negative opinions about other people out left and right, that you're probably getting an honest picture from them about how they feel.

I've done a lot of thinking about how there's always a way to reframe a conflict so that it's the other person instead of me who is incorrect, has to do the extra work, or has the burden of proof.

This doesn't mean the other person always has to bite the bullet, but it does mean that there's another interpretation out there of what's going on. I then compare the two against the "social norm" and see which way to go.

I also look for hidden assumptions people make. If they consistently make the worst assumptions they can about people, or about me, that tells me something. If they try to have a conversation with me about something that's inappropriate, I note that I never gave them permission to have that conversation.


After a very good first date a few weeks ago, I got a really nasty email from the woman before 10 pm the next night accusing me of ignoring her all day because I hadn't yet called her back. A few years ago, I would have been obsequiously apologetic, but I recognized it as a decision on her part to go with the most negative possible judgment about me she could find, where no judgment was called for to begin with, and where a number of far more charitable explanations were available. Upon realizing that, any desire whatsoever to have any further contact with her completely evaporated.

I give my students the chance to explain their thinking out loud to rubber ducks, and a lot of them find that it's very helpful. One of them asked me yesterday what to do if other people thought it was weird that they were doing it. I told him the other person is probably just looking for an excuse to pick on someone if they press that issue, because they could just as easily say, "Wow, that's really interesting, does that really help?" and not to bend over backwards trying to impress other people. I told him it would be weirder to know about a technique that helps you with your math, and then decide not to use it.

A couple of religious people showed up at my apartment complex and tried to start a conversation with me by saying, "Wouldn't you agree we're all looking for the same thing?" I responded by asking them who they were, exactly, and then excused myself from the conversation by telling them I don't discuss my religious beliefs with strangers.
posted by alphanerd at 10:19 AM on March 17, 2012 [13 favorites]

Weightlifting, learning to skate at 35 and getting good, swimming with competitive swimmers even though they were so much more skilled, working in a home improvement store, solo traveling, putting myself through private college (30-34) and grad school (48-50), saving money.

I want to do improv classes, too.
posted by jgirl at 12:25 PM on March 17, 2012

Traveling abroad solo really taught me a lot about self-reliance, that loneliness is temporary, that strangers are mostly friends you haven't met yet, and most of all-- how to be happy just being with yourself.
posted by np312 at 1:06 PM on March 17, 2012 [5 favorites]

I got in to rock climbing. More specifically bouldering, but that led to rock climbing. Conquering my fear of heights while doing something that always puts you in a "push yourself to new heights" scenario while also getting physically stronger did wonders for my self esteem. There's nothing quite like getting up that first boulder. Not sure where you live, but investigate climbing gyms in your area if interested. Specifically bouldering is a really inexpensive hobby, too.

Made me feel pretty studly at least.
posted by dep at 1:54 PM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Traveling abroad solo

Yes indeed. In a foreign land where you don't know the language. And even moreso when their alphabet is not your own.
posted by Rash at 2:15 PM on March 17, 2012

1. STAND UP STRAIGHT! Really, good posture is magic. Walk as if you are The Queen of Everything. It makes you feel better, and look better, and people treat you better, so you feel even more better. All our moms were right on this one. If you find it hard to do, yoga is one good way to learn. Watching Downton Abbey is another.

2. Drastically reduce your exposure to advertising. Advertising is designed to undermine your self-esteem, so that you will feel the need to go buy The Product to fix your awful, deficient self and fill the holes in your miserable life. When I gave up TV for a few years a long while ago, I was delightfully surprised at the general improvement in my emotional state.
posted by Corvid at 4:24 PM on March 17, 2012 [9 favorites]

Try to forget about yourself and your lack of confidence and turn your focus toward doing things to help other people; nothing will fill that "what good am I anyway?" spot inside like making a positive change in someone's life who is more in need than yourself. Best of all, it's authentic - you feel better because you ARE better - so it strengthens you from within and permanently.
posted by aryma at 6:28 PM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do things that scare the shit out of you. I know this sounds like the most hackneyed advice and I feel stupid even typing it, but it is such a rush to take a risk (personal, professional, or whatever) and get rewarded for it. The best way to learn confidence is to see what can come of putting yourself out there.

Writing long form fiction may or may not scare you (it didn't really scare me) but I recommend it. The process of writing a novel-length piece of fiction is a total head trip. It was a very powerful moment when a bit of dialogue I forgot I'd written made me laugh out loud - like successfully tickling myself.
posted by troublesome at 6:57 PM on March 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

Learn a skill that you have always wanted to learn and practice so that you get good at it. Bonus points if it's an everyday skill, like learning how to cook or perform household repairs or work on your car or something. That way you have something to be proud of yourself for that is your own accomplishment, earned by your hard work and which you will continue to use over and over again down the line.

And people are always impressed when I tell them, at 25, that I cooked myself a nice meal and repaired a light fixture last night (or whatever). There's a stereotype that "kids these days" (i.e. us) are the entitlement generation and want everyone else to do everything for them. So show everyone how wrong that is!
posted by houndsoflove at 7:26 PM on March 17, 2012

Great stuff up-thread already. Reiterating: posture, exercise, learning to flirt, solo travel, solo self-caretaking, and most of all: removing yourself from tv, and advertizing of all forms,
posted by ead at 9:30 PM on March 17, 2012

A lot of my insecurities came from feeling like my insides and outsides didn't match. I felt like a rotten peach that looks good on the outside, but is brown and disgusting as soon as you bite into it. I was so scared that if anyone knew the "real" me that they would run away screaming that I got stuck in a vicious cycle: I was afraid to be honest with anyone in case they hated the real me, and the less honest I was, the more afraid I got that I was truly deeply unlikable. And it sounds sort of glib, of course, but the solution was to start telling people the truth more often. Very gradually. It's not helpful to dump large amounts of baggage on someone out of the blue. But telling people things--hard things, complicated things--and having them stay where they were (both literally and metaphorically) healed a lot of wounds that I didn't even know I had, and along the way massively helped my confidence.
posted by colfax at 3:07 AM on March 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

1. losing weight or exercising to the point where people say 'Wow!' when they see you after a while.

2. Firearms training. Don't laugh and I'm not saying you have to be SEAL Team potential. Knowing how to use it properly and as well as you can gives me a sense of serenity.
rock climbing and martial arts would be great too...but not as loud...or cool.

But scroll down if you want the last one, or just skip it, no harm done.

confidence can come from many things.
Sports or reading or the right clothes. Sure. You bet.
If you walk around knowing that you are really, really good in bed, that kind of radiates from you. It can't be faked. Some people are, some people are not. But, through practice and training, most people can become better. Follow your own path on this, I shouldn't even suggest it, I know.
But it will change the way you walk and stand and hold yourself when around others.
posted by flowerofhighrank at 9:27 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


And the knowledge that social skills can be learned, simply by paying attention and trying. So pay attention and try.
posted by pmb at 9:36 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm also female and in my mid-twenties. One of the best ways that I found to feel more emotionally/mentally comfortable with my life was to become physically comfortable with it as well. Lots of people are recommending exercise, which I agree with, but in addition to that: spend more time naked. When I'm getting ready for work every morning after showering, getting dressed is usually the last thing I do - I put on make-up, do my hair, check my email, choose an outfit all while unclothed. Even if you aren't actually looking at yourself in the mirror, you can feel it and it really does become comfortable after time. I have better posture, I feel more confident in general daily life, and this also significantly helped my confidence in dating and sex. If you're anything like me and most women our age that I know, feeling as though you truly inhabit your body is really an amazing and noticeable achievement.
posted by spectacularicity at 7:44 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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