Body Confidence

Hey Friends! I’m currently writing this blog from bed as I recover from a stomach virus. I’ve had some time to rest and reflect and to also think about a topic for todays blog post. Over the last few months I’ve had a lot of questions in my inbox along the lines of “How are you so confident?” or “How can I have the same confidence as you?” and my answers are always:

1. I’m not as confident as you may think I am.

2. Being confident is a learned skill just like anything else in life.

For some people, they grow up being praised by their parents and are told that they are great and beautiful and I believe that this is what shapes them into the confident beings that they are today. For the rest of us it can take some time to figure it out on our own but don’t fret, I’m here to tell you that ANYONE can have confidence and it just takes some practise and persistence.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll already know that I grew up suffering from depression and anxiety. I also had very low self esteem and had problems with comfort eating and being over weight in the past. One of the best decisions I made was to start pole dancing although the idea was scary as hell! I would watch videos of these beautiful, strong and bendy women wrapping themselves around poles and I was infatuated! I wasn’t sure if I could ever succeed at pole dancing and the thought of standing in a room with strangers, wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt terrified me. It’s hard to believe that almost six years later, I’m a certified pole dance instructor and I’m now teaching women (and men) how to love their bodies and own their sexuality.

I want you to know that your size absolutely doesn’t matter when it comes to body confidence. I was a size UK 8/10 before I started dancing and I still saw a “big” girl looking back at me in the mirror. I hated my body and I would pick it apart daily. Joining pole dancing made me realise that nobody in the room was judging my appearance and everyone was a different age/ shape/ weight/ size. I’m so happy for that first pole dancing class because it gave me the confidence to show my body to a group of complete strangers and it was one small step in the direction of becoming the woman I am today.

Photographer- Holger Haase

Now, loving myself and accepting my body didn’t happen over night and It’s still something that I work on to this day. My body has changed so much over the years, my weight has gone up and down through different stages in my life but the most important thing that I’ve tried to work on recently is to stay happy and healthy rather than desperately trying to be “skinny”. Instead of thinking about losing weight I now think about how I can treat my body and mind better. I also make a conscious effort to say nice things to myself. Your smile, kindness and actions are all factors of your beauty. I really believe that when you’re happy and healthy on the inside it shines through on the outside.

The next thing I’ve learned about confidence is that sometimes it can totally be faked. You’re probably already familiar with the saying “Fake it till’ you make it”. The phrase suggests that if you imitate confident qualities in your everyday life, you will eventually begin to carry them out naturally. Many years ago, while working in sales, my team leader used to say that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Think about that for a second, In just 21 days of faking it until you make it you can naturally possess the confidence that you desire! Seeing as the new year is approaching us I challenge everyone reading this blog to 21 days of forming a healthy habit. Maybe you’ll take on a new activity, cut out an unhealthy diet or start saying positive affirmations every morning.

If you’d like to take part, just follow the Facebook group “21 Days“. I created this online community to help you all discuss and smash your goals. If you’d prefer to share your challenge over on IG just follow: @ava_henny. Come on, what do you have to lose?!

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