Proud2Bme | Beauty in the Buff: What I Learned from Looking at My Naked Body

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Beauty in the Buff: What I Learned from Looking at My Naked Body

By Nichole Petroy--Feeling confident can come easily when we put on our favorite shirt or wear those jeans that make our butts look fabulous. However, it is often hard to say the same when we remove those articles of clothing before showering and get a look at ourselves in the mirror. I can relate. I have put on a bikini one time in the past two and a half years because of the constant battles I have with the way I look out of clothes. 

I even tend to avoid looking down (let alone in a mirror) when I get in the shower. According to psychologist Amy L. Flowers, PhD, checking yourself out in the buff “desensitizes negative thoughts we have towards our naked bodies.” I decided to put this to the test. For five days, I did the unthinkable and gave myself a good look in the mirror any time I changed out of my clothes.

Despite being in a rush to get to work on Monday morning, I took the time to give myself a nice once-over in the mirror before my shower. I noticed things about my body that I never noticed before. I found a couple of new freckles on my tummy, some stretch marks on my inner thighs, and those two little dimples at the bottom of my back. It was weird to find new things on my own body, which I have lived with every single day for the past 20 years. I saw some things that I liked and some things I didn’t like so much. The things I liked made me happy but the things I didn’t like made me realize that the next four days of this experiment might be a little daunting.

By Wednesday, I decided to try out a piece of advice that I’d heard from Sari Sheppird, a clinical psychologist: name five things I like about my body and/or things that I am grateful for. She says that these things could be as minor as the polish on your toes. The first things I chose were my long arms that sometimes look like spaghetti. My job requires me to lift heavy packages and people often joke about me being able to carry them, but I don’t mind because I like my arms that way. The second thing was my thigh tattoo of a sugar skull. It is super unique in the way it’s designed and I forgot how sick it looks since I have been wearing jeans and leggings since the beginning of fall. 

My remaining three aspects I chose were my curvy hips, my circle-shaped eyes, and those dimples in my back. Picking out five things took a long time. I never liked anything about my body (besides my cute, little and well-manicured feet) so this was harder than the actual experiment itself. After I picked them out, however, I used my shower thoughts to think of ways I could accentuate these features in my daily life. I decided to practice this exercise again for the remaining two days of the experiment. I thought it would be harder to keep finding five new things to love, but to my surprise, I was picking them out left and right by Friday.

The last day of the experiment really was much easier than the first day. I would definitely recommend this to anybody who has also gone out of their way to avoid seeing themselves naked. I learned a lot about myself both physically and mentally. As somebody who has relapsed quite a bit during my recovery from bulimia, I really needed this experiment. It reminded me about all of the things I find visually pleasing. More importantly, however, it reminded me to stop taking my body for granted. It is much easier to love yourself when you realize that despite what you like or don’t like about yourself, each body part is helping you survive. Big, small, stretch-marked, discolored, whatever; I am a functioning human. Go me!

About the blogger: Nichole is a 20-year-old girl from Pennsylvania who fancies cats and rap music. In her spare time, she can be found baking, running or writing. As somebody who is recovering from bulimia herself, her passion lies with helping others recover from their eating disorders, and she is looking forward to pursuing it as a career in the near future. She has a personal blog documenting her journey here

For more on body image, check out:

6 Quarter-Life Realizations About Body Image (as Illustrated by “Friends”)

5 Ways to Give Kids a Confidence Boost

Ending the Silence Around Bullying

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