The other day I received another message by an athlete, telling me that she often gets comments like "your shoulders are bigger than mine", "you are probably stronger than me" or "How much do you train? Shall we do arm wrestling?" Well to be honest, it's quite annoying. The best solution for issues like this would obviously be if not us, but all the people making such comments would stop comparing, judging and making inappropriate comments like that, of course. But we have to be honest, we are most likely not going to change them. We can create awareness and share our stories – which I think is absolutely important in this matter and make us feel less alone.

But even more important it is, to develop a healthy and most importantly confident body image ourselves – so we are not bothered by comments like that, that we don't get annoyed or upset. Option A is changing others – that could turn out to be pretty hard. So what’s the second best solution? Option B: changing our own perspective and how we deal with it.

Here are some tips how to become confident in our body and ourselves:

  1. Write a list with all the things your body can do. Think of things specifically in climbing but also in other areas of your life. Once you start thinking carefully about them, you might realise that your body can do incredible things. Don’t take it for granted that you can pull on that hard!

  2. Write a list with ten things you like about yourself. Keep it somewhere where you can read it, whenever you need a little reminder. Remember: you don't need to like EVERYTHING about yourself. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses – and that's ok. But be aware of your strengths, be proud of what you like about yourself. Both in climbing, in your private and your professional life!

  3. "You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with". Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who like you just as you are. Also don’t forget, it is easier to listen to people’s honest feedback (even if the feedback might not be great) when you know they support and don’t judge you.

  4. Look at yourself as a whole person. Don’t focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you (and how you see others) – as a whole person. Do you ever reduce someone else to their pimples in their face or bigger thighs? No! Most possibly you appreciate someone else for how they are as a whole and not only for how some parts of their body look like.

  5. When going climbing (but also in your every day life), wear clothes and colours that are comfortable and make you feel good and confident in your body. Work with your body, not against it!

  6. Don’t take everything that is posted on Social Media literally. It mostly shows people from their best side. Seriously think about unfollowing a page that makes you feel uncomfortable or insecure about yourself. Follow people that encourage or inspire you, people that make you feel better. Most importantly, stop comparing yourself (particularly on Social Media!). You might only be exposed to a very small snippet of someone’s life. It’s never the whole story.

  7. Don’t waste your energy on worrying about food, calories or your weight. Instead, focus on having a healthy body and doing something that makes you feel stronger and confident. Go climbing (or any sport 😉) or hang out with people that make you feel better about yourself!

  8. Finally, think of all the negative thoughts and doubts that you might have about yourself and your body – would you talk like this to your best friend? Probably not. So for the next week, try being your own best friend.

© Soolooka

© Soolooka