Show off your guns!
It’s weird how we associate certain body parts with fear and loathing. I don’t know of too many people, no matter their size, who get terrified of showing their EARS in photos.
But arms? The horror! How scandalous! We turn into a Victorian woman, covered up for modesty-sake...but maybe your idea of what's allowed to be shown in public is a little outdated.
When I still hated my body, I used to wear long sleeves all summer.
People would ask me “What’s with the sleeves?” I’d reply “I get cold easily…” If you know me, that could not be furthest from the truth! I’m a hot mess all the time. Give me winter, give me fall - in summer, lord…I used to dread it.
I wore long sleeves because to me, it was “slimming.” I felt uncomfortable showing my arms because they felt huge and embarrassing. Did I trick the world? Nah, I looked like a sweaty, unhappy girl.
Baring your arms feels like being naked. People can see them and that’s intimidating. People will witness the wiggle and jiggle. They'll notice the marks, the bumps the chub. For me, showing my arms was a confession to being fat and knowing it.
If I could hide my arms, I could hide that fact, right?
I remember the day when I decided I was going to walk down to my town square sans-sleeves. It took me 2 hours to find the RIGHT top, the RIGHT skirt to pair with it, the RIGHT hairstyle with said top. I was working myself into a ball of nerves…over what exactly? But I really wanted to knock this nonsense off because honestly, ARMS? Who cares!
As I walked down into the square, I was tense but kept repeating to myself “I’m allowed to show my arms! This is me!” but honestly, there was a part of me which kept looking out for other people’s reactions.
And those horrible reactions I thought were guaranteed? Nah. Nothing. People walked on by just like they always do.
I kept testing my sleeveless pride and the more I did it, the less worked up I became. Showing my arms (or not) wasn't going to hide the fact that I had big arms. And so what? People judge, you and I do, so I figure better to live how I want and not be so tethered to what people think of me.
The best tip to getting the courage to bare your arms is answering this question honestly: Who says you need to hide your body from the world?
If it's a real person in your life, read my article on how to deal with people who make negative comments about your body.
If it's an idea you've had for a while, it's time you start working on letting go of unhelpful ideas about your body and maybe consider taking my More to Love eCourse.
Body acceptance is not about waking up one day without a shred of insecurity. You’ve got to be willing to be brave in the sake of putting yourself out there if only to say to “you did it, girl!” You’ve got to learn first hand the world will not crumble if you do something you’ve always wanted to do. Show people your right to bare arms, to be seen! Body acceptance is a daily practice of being honest with yourself, and believing that your body doesn’t have to inhibit you from living fully.
This is how I personally teach confidence building: step by step and appreciating the little victories...like wearing a tank-top to the grocery store.
I was really proud of myself the day I went sleeveless and let go of lots of summer fears around it. And my summer wardrobe now is much more fun.