Losing the ability to believe in and love ourselves happens over time. Childhood traumas, shitty exes and cheats, not being good at something, failing someone, embarrassing sexcapades—the list goes on. To top it all off, we are obsessively body-conscious due to the inundation of beauty standards created by the media that we could drown in it all. It’s amazing we’re still functioning human beings, cloning penises and breathing air! Both men and women are subject to these damaging experiences and expectations, whether in moments or in lifelong battles, and it affects us in and out of the bedroom. Here are some ways we can work on releasing negative expectations, bad experiences, and our damaged self-esteem so we can feel better in our skin, and ultimately, in the sack.
“Take the reins”
The brain and the mind have a super intimate relationship; it can be a negative habit-forming relationship or a positive habit-forming one. The first step to working on confidence is to observe how the habits and memories imbedded in your brain affect, and seemingly control, your self-worth. Notice all the times you put yourself down in a day. Notice all the times you second-guess and criticize yourself. It’s crazy right? Once we begin to pay attention to our negativity, we can start to learn how to control how our feelings control us. We have to start working that muscle in order to stop our bad habits. Our minds are powerful, but we can have power over them, we just have to access and use that muscle.
If you focus on the negative, the negative will keep coming. It’s cyclical. Try practicing positive thinking, increase your competence by learning something new, conquer a fear—it doesn’t have to big! Sounds too fluffy for you? Exactly. That’s not very positive now is it? These little victories lift us up and in turn and imbed this positivity into our minds. Start exercising your willpower, your determination, and your thought process and you can change the cycle.
“And kid, you’ve got to love yourself”
Letting go of the past is easier said than done, but it’s a necessary step in moving on with your life and your level of confidence. Getting to the core of your insecurities—fears, past hurts, self-expectation, the media’s ideal, an embarrassing sexual encounter—is the first step in overcoming the roadblock. Start with little things. Make a list of all the good things about yourself. What makes you unique? Lovable? Stop comparing yourself to others. When you find yourself doing it, note something about yourself that you love. What makes you unique? Make a list of all the good things about yourself, all the things you appreciate. Learn to be able to laugh at yourself and to let things role off your shoulder. And most importantly, we have to learn to forgive ourselves. If you don’t follow through, you can’t keep beating yourself up about not being perfect. Take note of what made you stray and try setting or tweaking goals that help you be successful. Praise yourself and others.
The media’s standard of the “ideal body” needs to be left by the wayside. Instead, challenge yourself to view your body differently—like you know, as the temple it is. Take care of yourself! If you don’t do some sort of exercise, find something active that makes you happy. If you hate gyms, don’t go! There are plenty of alternatives to get your blood pumping and your endorphins flowing. It’s not about achieving the “perfect body” but about your health and well-being. Exercise gets those feel-good endorphins pumping, naturally putting you into a more positive mood (remember that positivity cycle we were just talking about?). It’ll boost your mental and physical outlook and hell, as well as the way you view yourself. Loving your mind and your body is a large part of having confidence in bed. Regardless, exercise helps in so many other areas of our lives like following through, being disciplined, creating challenges and surpassing goals. So go box, run, jump, dance, kick—just try something!
“Touching me, touching you”
Lower confidence levels, especially in the sack, can come from a lack of knowing yourself and what feels good. Spending quality time with yourself (again, in and out of the bedroom) is necessary to understand your likes and dislikes. Take time to learn about your body. Ladies, get a mirror and check out your vagina; see what you’re working with. Masturbate. All of you! Get comfortable in your skin so you can share with someone else what you like. If you’re already use to your body, imagine sexual interactions you’d like to have. Communicate with your partner about these positive fantasies and specific things you’d like to try in your next act of love.
At the end of the day, it’s about feeling good in your skin; touch, love, learn, and enjoy.