I have been examining the subject of self-esteem of late. This topic has come up a number of times over the last two months in various forms and from various angles. I feel it is due some blog space. If you are not interested in hearing about my specific roller coaster then you should move on now.
Specifically, what is the relationship between body confidence and self-esteem. Are they the same thing? How do the effect each other? Can you have one without the other?
I have always considered myself to have a very high level of self-esteem. (Okay there was a period during my first marriage that that wasn't true but that is another blog post!) I think my friends would all agree. I am a very confident person and I know what I am capable of. However I have had periods in my life where my body confidence was all but non-existent. I am talking about being comfortable enough in your body to let someone (other than your SO) see you naked. Where do you rate??? (My comments section better be really full after this! Scale of 1 to 10 will suffice. LOL)
Since this is my blog, I am the one who gets to fess up, so here goes...
High School - I weighed 130 dripping wet, 28 inch waist, B cup. If someone had suggested I get naked I would have slapped them! Being a teenager aside, that sort of thing was frowned upon! :)
College - I was 180 ish, I was a bit more relaxed, not specifically happy with my body but I would have let someone see me naked then. At least after a drink or two ;) Although I will admit there were other issues playing in this time in my life so that may not have been all about body confidence.
After having 2 children - I was 270 (:0). Are you f-ing kidding me? Now way in hell, not if my life depended on it. On a scale of 1 -10 I would rate my body confidence in the negative. I didn't even want my husband to see me naked then much less some outside observer, theoretical or not.
I am no barbie doll, nor do I ever wish to be (Man, can you imagine trying to buy jeans!). My goals are to be healthy and strong. For a very long time I was sick and weak. Really, it wasn't even THAT long ago. It is only in the last year that I have gotten to the point of describing my physical self as healthy and strong.
Am I where I want to be physically? No, but I am getting there. These things take time and since I am more focused on the process and the learning experience, I am not on the fast track to 'barbie-land'. (Shudder to think! I am top heavy enough, thank you very much! LOL) I am healthy, and through my daily practice I will get healthier. I am strong, and through my daily practice I will get stronger.
Back to those original questions that started this ramble....
Are body confidence and self-esteem the same thing? I do not believe they are. At least not for me. I know there are many people that have a much closer tie-in than I, but for me they are separate but parallel states. They can entertwine with one another but are ultimately separate.
How do they affect each other? I think this is obvious. You can have a good self esteem and not be comfortable with your body, but once you are comfortable with your body then your self-esteem can't help but go up.
Can you have one without the other? I think I already eluded to this. You can have good self-esteem without being confident in your body BUT I don't think it works the other way around.
Last, but not least...Am I confident enough in my body to let someone see me naked? Six months ago I may not have opened myself up to the possibility of criticism. My confidence was still teetering on the edge; there but not quite firm. Now, I find I don't care about the possibility of criticism because anyone that would criticize doesn't see the journey. I know where I have come from. I know where I am going. And if whoever it is that fills the role of that theoretical observer doesn't wish to see the journey beyond the stretch marks than their opinions are unimportant to me. SO I guess that was a VERY long winded way of saying, Yes, I am confident enough to let someone else see me naked.