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Old 07-17-2009, 10:28 PM   #1
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Default So what about confidence?

So it's been said by other bbws that just being told to be confident won't fix or cure self any esteem issues we as bbws may have, and I can see how this could be true, but at the same time I don't see how trying to instill confidence can be a bad thing either. So the question is how do we find confidence? If it isn't with platittudes from FAs or even from other women, then how can we help each other build up confidence? Is this even something we should be spending lots of time on? What I mean by that is, should we focus on other things like health, career, family instead? Would just being good at being workers or mothers or artists or anything other than sexual beings be a good way to get confidence? That then makes me wonder how are we even defining confidence? When people say we should be confident do they mean sexual confidence or just overall confidence. I'm starting to think there are different kinds of confidence.....thoughts?
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:43 PM   #2
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I act.

I love doing theater. Confident StarWitness is just another role. I decide to hold my body a certain way, move a certain way, speak a certain way, have a certain default facial expression. I intentionally project confidence and competence.

Sometimes I even manage to convince myself.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:24 PM   #3
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I think there are most definitely different types of confidence. For instance I am very confident in my ability and talent in my chosen profession. I know what needs to be done and when and why, and if I don't know I know what questions to ask and I'm not afraid to ask them. My social life is something entirely different. I have a hard time making friends and I'm constantly second guessing myself... I lack confidence that people would want to be around me.

As far as building confidence I just keep on trying different things until something works. And I do subscribe to a kind of "fake it till you make it" approach.

One thing that I have tried recently to combat my somewhat negative body image was I took nude photographs of myself. I forced myself to look at every frame I took and spend time just getting comfortable with how I look. I think it's actually helped me. Looking at a photograph is very different from looking in the mirror. I saw myself differently. I started seeing the beauty. I do notice myself walking a little straighter these days.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by comaseason View Post
I think there are most definitely different types of confidence. For instance I am very confident in my ability and talent in my chosen profession. I know what needs to be done and when and why, and if I don't know I know what questions to ask and I'm not afraid to ask them. My social life is something entirely different. I have a hard time making friends and I'm constantly second guessing myself... I lack confidence that people would want to be around me.

As far as building confidence I just keep on trying different things until something works. And I do subscribe to a kind of "fake it till you make it" approach.

One thing that I have tried recently to combat my somewhat negative body image was I took nude photographs of myself. I forced myself to look at every frame I took and spend time just getting comfortable with how I look. I think it's actually helped me. Looking at a photograph is very different from looking in the mirror. I saw myself differently. I started seeing the beauty. I do notice myself walking a little straighter these days.
Although I have confidence in myself that does not mean that someone will necessarily be attracted to me. Conversing on Dims has allowed me to work on this issue of fear in being alone. I can be alone and still have a meaningful life and knowing that contributes to my confidence.
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:11 AM   #5
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For me, I've been working really hard at getting rid of all those negative thoughts about my body that were streaming in my head a lot. I stopped focusing on the things I hated, and started focusing on the things I loved. When I look in the mirror, I no longer think that I look gross, or ugly or any other negative word, and think I look pretty hot

And also running and biking just helped too. When I finished my first mt biking trail, I felt so accomplished. And confident that I could do anything. It sounds corny and silly, but I was amazed that I could do it, and finish it, and loved it. I felt that same way after I was able to do the full sets of jumping jacks in a DVD without stopping and actually jumping, after I ran my first mile, biked 25 miles, and ran/walked 3 miles. So I guess seeing the different things that my body can DO, rather than just HOW it LOOKS makes me feel confident in my body.

And it helps that I have someone in my life who is constantly telling me how hot, sexy, and beautiful I am.
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:12 AM   #6
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The more accepting I become of my body, the more confidence I naturally have.

Also, like StarWitness, I act confident even when I am not. If I'm in a situation where I'm nervous or feel shy, if I force myself to be confident/outgoing, I usually end up feeling more confident after awhile.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by StarWitness View Post
I act.

I love doing theater. Confident StarWitness is just another role. I decide to hold my body a certain way, move a certain way, speak a certain way, have a certain default facial expression. I intentionally project confidence and competence.

Sometimes I even manage to convince myself.
Wouldn't you have to have some kind of confidence to get up on stage and perform in front of people? I'd say that wasn't fake.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by comaseason View Post
I think there are most definitely different types of confidence. For instance I am very confident in my ability and talent in my chosen profession. I know what needs to be done and when and why, and if I don't know I know what questions to ask and I'm not afraid to ask them. My social life is something entirely different. I have a hard time making friends and I'm constantly second guessing myself... I lack confidence that people would want to be around me.

As far as building confidence I just keep on trying different things until something works. And I do subscribe to a kind of "fake it till you make it" approach.

One thing that I have tried recently to combat my somewhat negative body image was I took nude photographs of myself. I forced myself to look at every frame I took and spend time just getting comfortable with how I look. I think it's actually helped me. Looking at a photograph is very different from looking in the mirror. I saw myself differently. I started seeing the beauty. I do notice myself walking a little straighter these days.
My way to confidence has always been to just not care what other people think, tho when I was younger that approach often led to foot in mouth syndrome. I still don't care much what people think, but I have learned to keep my foot out of my mouth. I just figured people were gonna say and think whatever they are gonna think about me as a fat person no matter what I say or do or wear, so it was pointless to worry about it. Rather, I'm selective about when to care, like for a job interview or at a doctor's office....

I'm starting to realize that I have more confidence in my social life than I do in my work life. Having a boss at work who encourages us to throw out marketing ideas and really own our work has helped me with confidence on the job. I still second guess myself sometimes, but when I have those moments getting opinions from my co-workers helps. I'm still trying to get the hang of fighting for my ideas when I think they are good tho. I like it better when I throw out an idea and everybody runs with it.

I've done the photo thing too, and that did help me become comfortable with my shape. It's also helped me figure out what kinds of clothing cuts look good on me too.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by olwen View Post
Having a boss at work who encourages us to throw out marketing ideas and really own our work has helped me with confidence on the job. I still second guess myself sometimes, but when I have those moments getting opinions from my co-workers helps. I'm still trying to get the hang of fighting for my ideas when I think they are good tho. I like it better when I throw out an idea and everybody runs with it.

I've done the photo thing too, and that did help me become comfortable with my shape. It's also helped me figure out what kinds of clothing cuts look good on me too.
You're the idea starter! That is a very awesome quality to have. I can't tell you how many tedious meetings I've been in where I wished that I, or someone else, would be able to throw something out that everyone could grab a hold of. It's not very common to be able to do that.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:20 AM   #10
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I get a lot of compliments from people - fat and thin - about my confidence level. Not in an annoying, self-righteous way [okay, sometimes], but in an "I wish I could have a fraction of what you have" sort of way. I have had more than a handful of people say that I inspired them to feel better about themselves. I don't know how or why, but I guess living as an example is my thing.

I didn't come by any confidence I have without a lot of struggle. It's taken a lot of years of immersing myself in size acceptance and believing God that He did a good work in me to get here. I purposely try to take out negative influences like movies that bash fat people or magazines that tout diet plans constantly. Sometimes you have to distance yourself from things even that you like. It's amazing, though, how it perpetuates... I tried teaching my nieces and nephews at a very young age about beauty in all forms, and in turn they found me beautiful which bolstered my image when I could see my beauty through their eyes. Telling me I felt like a heated pillow wasn't an insult when they loved to cuddle with me.

HOWEVER.... and this is really where I still struggle... I feel sometimes like a Monet. Like I can look pretty together from a distance, but it's a constant source of worry that people won't like my quirks once they get too close. I mean, I think everyone has a right to their personality and preferences so long as they treat others with manners and civility. I don't think there's anything wrong with being an introverted night owl with a tendency to buy way too many books and use too many brackets and ellipses when typing. I've had enough controlling people in my life, people who knew how to push buttons about things that are truly matters of preference or people who have to control by any of your insecurities at their disposal to not be on the edge sometimes. And it's the physical stuff... the things that I only have so much control over without drastic measures or side effects [because, hey, we don't get to choose our genetic makeup]... that throw me over the edge sometimes. I know I can look decent for a time, but hair grows back in places a girl doesn't want hair and skin gets oily and makeup wears off. And when I'm sleeping, sometimes I snore and drool. I can't spend my life on guard against those things.

What it comes down to is this: in a relationship, will someone think it's worth it to deal with all that is me? THAT is where I lack confidence. I haven't had a good track record, and yet I don't want to worry so much that this area of insecurity is what actually drives someone away.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olwen View Post
So it's been said by other bbws that just being told to be confident won't fix or cure self any esteem issues we as bbws may have, and I can see how this could be true, but at the same time I don't see how trying to instill confidence can be a bad thing either.
Iíve brought the following quotes from other threads; I hope the posters donít mind. I think they hit on something that has been bothering me for a while with regard to confidence and its role in our lives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friday View Post
*snip* I've been insulted so many times, usually by men, that I've lost track. That asshole that told me it was 'happy hour, not hippo hour' didn't say it because I don't like myself. Those people that snicker, point or roll their eyes at your order in a restaurant or grocery basket at the store aren't doing it because I don't like myself either. *snip*
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I confess I am more than a little tired of how fat women are pretty much the only people who are picked apart for not being confident 24 hours a day. *snip*
As has previously been discussed, confidence is not the all healing salve itís often portrayed to be. It hurts me when people dismiss the very real hurt some of us have felt by saying if we were only more confident we wouldnít attract the hurt.

I consider myself pretty confident. I have times when I am shaky in my confidence, thatís part of being a mere human. But for the most part, I know who I am, I accept my weaknesses alongside my strengths and I concentrate energy on turning the weaknesses into strengths or developing coping mechanisms when I cannot. I consider that to be the root of confidence. I acknowledge I havenít always had the best self confidence, and that it has been a battle to develop the average esteem that most people probably take for granted.

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Originally Posted by olwen View Post
So the question is how do we find confidence? If it isn't with platittudes from FAs or even from other women, then how can we help each other build up confidence? Is this even something we should be spending lots of time on?
We can encourage and complement each other, give advice and share our experiences, but beyond that I truly believe developing confidence in oneself has to come from within. In my experience, I find self awareness can be a painful process. But I think the rewards we reap from the process are worth the pain. And yes, it is definitely something we should be spending lots of time on. Anything we learn from is worthwhile.

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What I mean by that is, should we focus on other things like health, career, family instead? Would just being good at being workers or mothers or artists or anything other than sexual beings be a good way to get confidence? That then makes me wonder how are we even defining confidence? When people say we should be confident do they mean sexual confidence or just overall confidence. I'm starting to think there are different kinds of confidence.....thoughts?
Why not do both? I think when we work on aspects of our lives like health, career, family, relationships, etc. we are sending a message to our inner psyche that we love ourselves, weíre worth taking care of. Weíre taking charge of our lives, a concept in and of itself at the very core of being confident IMHO. Sexual confidence is only one aspect. And in my own experience, there is a danger in concentrating on only one aspect of our beings, especially the sexual part of ourselves. I made the mistake not too long ago of thinking putting my naked body on display was the secret to my self confidence. I sought confidence by taking my clothes off, but I found a great big piece of it when I put them back on.
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:34 AM   #12
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I think our own self confidence is something that should be a priority in one's life. If you're not feeling good about yourself how can you put your best foot forward for those you love and care about?

As for different kinds of confidence, of course there are different kinds. I'm really confident in my element...hanging out with my male friends doing what we always do...sports and beer. Drop me off in the middle of a group of women and I'm at a loss. It's not that I don't like myself...I'm just unsure of how I come across and I just want to be liked. That normally backfires lol.

Point is confidence comes in all shades of gray. I'm fully confident in some ways and a complete mess in others. For me putting myself out there and swallowing my pride and fear has made my confidence grow by leaps and bounds. I'd like to say that some wonderful friend has opened my eyes to my own qualities but most often in my eyes when people play the "You're so pretty & great" game...it rings hollow.
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:21 PM   #13
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Wouldn't you have to have some kind of confidence to get up on stage and perform in front of people? I'd say that wasn't fake.
Heh, I was feeling kind of emo the other night.

I suppose that it does take confidence to perform, especially considering that public speaking is a major fear for a lot of people. For some reason, I've never had a problem with it. Sometimes I can't look someone in the eye during a normal conversation, but getting on stage in front of a hundred people gives me a huge adrenaline rush-- even to the point (sometimes) where I don't care if the audience is judging me because I'm just so happy to be doing something I love. Weird, I know. When I'm acting, though, my goal is to be someone else, and have as little of me and as much of my character in me as possible.

And yes, I do have confidence in my abilities as an actress. I don't think I'm good enough to be professional, but for community theater, I think I do well. I try to take that and apply it to other areas.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:55 AM   #14
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" When people say we should be confident do they mean sexual confidence or just overall confidence. I'm starting to think there are different kinds of confidence.....thoughts? "

Overall confidence is what people need to strive for. Sexual confidence is part ot it, but our sexuality is just one part of who we are. If you place too much importance on building your sexual confidence instead of your overall confidence level, then it becomes unbalanced. There are people out there who are very sexually confident, but unfortuantely feel that it is the only thing they have going for them. When they feel a lack of confidence in other aspects of their being, and start feeling self-conscious and insecure because of it, it makes them start looking for validation of their worth via their sexuality, and that can lead to some really destructive behavior.

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Old 07-21-2009, 01:16 AM   #15
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how do we find confidence?
I find confidence in being femme, so retail therapy most definitely works for me. New hairstyles, pretty dresses, cute ballet flats, a striking piece of jewelry... I feel beautiful when I'm wearing beautiful things. Superficial materialism be damned --- I spent a lot of wasted years hiding myself in men's clothes and behind a long tangled mess of hair.

I use fashion as a means to be comfortable with myself and with my body. Three months ago I bought my first tube dress because I wanted to get over my fear of showing too much of my fat self. I practiced wearing the dress at home for a a week, then wore it at a DIMs meet-up. I now own two tube dresses!

Quote:
If it isn't with platitudes from FAs or even from other women, then how can we help each other build up confidence?
The men and women I've met through Dimensions helped build my confidence. The friendships I've developed through the SF Bay Area meet-ups is invaluable to me. It's one thing to read about size acceptance, it's another thing to actually experience it. As members of this website, we can help each other out by extending real-life friendships with one another. One night Kali talked to me for FOUR HOURS at Denny's because I was broken-hearted. Another night Tim had coffee with me and let me wahwahwah about my daddy issues. It's nice to know that I have friends who will be sensitive to my emotional needs as a fat woman. I believe this new forum is an excellent opportunity for all of us to build each other up.

I'm not gonna lie. I am one judgmental biznatch. But I'm liking the kind of dialogue that we're having because we're allowing ourselves to discuss our hurts, and to also celebrate ourselves as beautiful women.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:25 AM   #16
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Confidence can only come from within. I think women as a whole suffer from lack of confidence because we base so much of how we feel and how we perceive ourselves on the views and perspectives of others. Most women are hyper conscious of being looked at constantly and often being found wanting. The reality though is that people are always going to look, they are always going to comment, there is always going to be somebody else who feels awful enough about themselves that they want to make you feel like shit. You're going to hear good things and bad things all the time, especially if you happen to fall outside the norm. But you can't internalise that kind of outside opinion forever.

As children our worlds are pretty much based on the love, affection and approval of others. The temptation to keep on living our lives as adult women based on those same things is enormous but dangerous. The only love, affection and approval that should matter is what you give yourself. I've heard so many girls speak about how they hate certain parts of their bodies but are OK with them as long as a few random guys on the internet think they're hot! That for me is a concern because what if nobody finds you hot - whether in reality or on the virtual world!!?

I'm not denying that positive environments; places to discuss your strengths and fears and joys; family, lovers and friends who adore you and think you're just amazing - all these things are important and yes, we can help in providing a dialogue here that contributes to that. But real confidence, the kind that keeps you happy when you're 95 and your parents and husband and pet dog have passed away and your boobs touch your knees and you can barely see and nobody wants to do you - that kind of confidence can only be created and nurtured by the individual .
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:16 PM   #17
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There are so many good posts in this thread so far I don't even know where to start....

Tau, you are right in that confidence does have to come from within, but it's the how to do that part that is often alluded to around these parts. I've had to really think about where my confidence comes from, and I'm not sure - anger maybe. It pisses me off that people like to put fat folks in boxes, and my response to that has always been to say "fuck you, I do what I want." That attitude has served me well, but it isn't always appropriate, you know. I realized too that not feeling feminine was where I lacked confidence. I've dealt with that by examining what it means to be feminine and to not automatically reject some of those notions just because they didn't apply to me. I had to make those notions fit my body. Now I love all that girly stuff I used to despise. I've noticed too I get more male attention when I wear skirts and dresses. I no longer worry so much about whether my fat bits are feminine or not. They are because I say they are and anyone who doesn't think so can go screw. Wait, I had a point...oh right, how can people who don't feel that confidence feel it from within?

Tracy, I get what you're saying about sexual confidence. I feel tho like sexual confidence is extremely important when you are fat since fat is so often desexualized. It's like you become a nonperson. Of course so much of that has to do with society's expectations from women....hearing plattidues from men was certainly helpful when I was younger, but now half the time I view those same platitudes as sexual harassement which just pisses me off, so in that regard yes, you're right overall confidence probably can't be had in that way. Still tho, there's the question of how to build up that confidence? I know the answer to that is probably elusive and difficult, but I still feel like there's got to be some meaningful way to express that.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:31 PM   #18
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What about chutzpah?!

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Old 07-21-2009, 08:35 PM   #19
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What about chutzpah?!

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Old 07-21-2009, 08:36 PM   #20
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Iíve brought the following quotes from other threads; I hope the posters donít mind. I think they hit on something that has been bothering me for a while with regard to confidence and its role in our lives.

As has previously been discussed, confidence is not the all healing salve itís often portrayed to be. It hurts me when people dismiss the very real hurt some of us have felt by saying if we were only more confident we wouldnít attract the hurt.



I consider myself pretty confident. I have times when I am shaky in my confidence, thatís part of being a mere human. But for the most part, I know who I am, I accept my weaknesses alongside my strengths and I concentrate energy on turning the weaknesses into strengths or developing coping mechanisms when I cannot. I consider that to be the root of confidence. I acknowledge I havenít always had the best self confidence, and that it has been a battle to develop the average esteem that most people probably take for granted.



We can encourage and complement each other, give advice and share our experiences, but beyond that I truly believe developing confidence in oneself has to come from within. In my experience, I find self awareness can be a painful process. But I think the rewards we reap from the process are worth the pain. And yes, it is definitely something we should be spending lots of time on. Anything we learn from is worthwhile.



Why not do both? I think when we work on aspects of our lives like health, career, family, relationships, etc. we are sending a message to our inner psyche that we love ourselves, weíre worth taking care of. Weíre taking charge of our lives, a concept in and of itself at the very core of being confident IMHO. Sexual confidence is only one aspect. And in my own experience, there is a danger in concentrating on only one aspect of our beings, especially the sexual part of ourselves. I made the mistake not too long ago of thinking putting my naked body on display was the secret to my self confidence. I sought confidence by taking my clothes off, but I found a great big piece of it when I put them back on.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:42 PM   #21
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You're the idea starter! That is a very awesome quality to have. I can't tell you how many tedious meetings I've been in where I wished that I, or someone else, would be able to throw something out that everyone could grab a hold of. It's not very common to be able to do that.
You know you're right. I got the media job that quite a few of my thin friends never could get in a competitive industry that is hard to break into. I get to be creative on a weekly basis. Not gonna lie either, knowing all that has sometimes made me feel kinda cocky, so I really shouldn't feel like I can't handle it some days. I wouldn't have gotten or kept the job if I couldn't. Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:27 PM   #22
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I think there are different types of confidence, but they're all interrelated to a a degree.

Confidence-building requires investment, but not just by you. Certainly, you've got to make an effort to be a type of person you can respect and admire, but your loved ones (and others who admire you but find your confidence lacking) have to contribute more than just the platitudes. Valuable contributions are often pretty simple; a heartfelt compliment, congratulations on a job well done, a sympathetic ear...

Confidence doesn't spawn parthenogenically, immediate and fully-fledged. It's a lifelong process. Sometimes it takes a lot of time, soul-searching, and piece-fitting to find it, and even then it's not un fait accompli. Probably the best way to help BBWs build confidence is from childhood - all young women and men deserve to grow up feeling valued and valuable. That's the crux of it, I guess - you can't expect to undo years of conditioning with a single remark. It's unrealistic, not to mention utterly insensitive and douchey.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:43 PM   #23
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I've had to really think about where my confidence comes from, and I'm not sure - anger maybe. It pisses me off that people like to put fat folks in boxes, and my response to that has always been to say "fuck you, I do what I want."
I can definitely relate to that; there have been times where being an angry, contrary feminist type has pushed me towards being confident and fabulous (or at least as fabulous as someone so glitter-averse as yours truly can get). Still, I've found it problematic because I'm still feeding (ha) off other peoples' reactions and opinions-- real or perceived. I haven't yet gotten to the point where I can use that as a springboard to a more self-sustaining sense of confidence.
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Old 07-22-2009, 07:32 AM   #24
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Confidence, to me, is just going out and doing what I do. I live in my body as a thin person would live in theirs-- put cookies in my shopping cart if I feel like it, swim at a public pool in a tankini, even if it DOES bare my stomach, etc. If people stare, I stare them down. I find, for the most part, by simply expecting to be socially acceptable, I am pretty much socially acceptable. Maybe this part of Maine is chunkier, but people seem pretty good with it. It also helps that I am generally affable-- if I see someone smiling at the conversation I'm having with a friend, I'll start to include them. I don't know, somewhere along the line I started not thinking "WHAT IF THEY DON'T LIKE HOW I LOOK/WHATEVER" and just started expecting, assuming I'd be treated the same. It's not really linked to my self esteem at all-- I still have days where I wake up and hate what I see, but it's not relevant to...well, anything else.

Plus, I somehow have the "do NOT mess with me" vibe. No one does. It's probably good for them that they don't.


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Old 07-22-2009, 10:28 AM   #25
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I am very confident. As someone mentioned before it started when I began to accept myself for me. I do not try to live up to or want to be what someone else wants me to be. I am a ssbbw and proud. I may have my faults but everyone else does also. I am here, so deal with it. lol
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