Kate Moss just posed naked, and it made the news because OMG, she’s naked at 43, what a brave soul! Rude, media, just rude. While the press on her photos is largely positive—she looks stunning, of course—we are pretty sad-face emoji about living in a society where any woman (regardless of age) is assumed to be ashamed of how she looks without her clothes on. And yet, aren’t many of us haters of our own nude bodies in one way or another? As any older woman would tell us—and by “older,” we mean 83, not 43—hating our bodies is a waste of energy we will one day regret. As Carrie famously said to Charlotte (cue Sex and the City reference #4,388,437), “The problem is not your thighs, sweetie. It’s your head.” Here, seven ways to feel amazing about yourself au naturel, no matter your age, size or genetic code.
You're A Hottie, Promise
When you're exhausted or stressed out, it's nearly impossible to feel sexy—just ask any mother who has children under the age of five. A good night's sleep and five minutes of daily meditation can make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself—as can exercise, regular pampering (a $3 sheet mask does the trick) and any other form of self-care.
If you have a very thin friend, you may envy her slender figure. If you have a curvy friend, you may envy her breasts. Someone, somewhere is envying something you've got going on, and we have a feeling even the most self-conscious among us knows what that jealousy-inducing trait might be. Celebrate it, play it up, appreciate it—you're #blessed, and realizing it is only a matter of perspective.
We have a secret to tell you. Ready? People like cellulite. Okay, so this isn't based on a scientific survey, but the folks we've talked to—folks you'd maybe like to date and marry—all say they like the way real women look, booty dimples and all. Whatever you're most self-conscious about, trust us, other people barely notice it—and if they do, it's more than likely because it's a turn-on. If you can look at your flaws in this light, at least in our experience, you may be able to transform the way you feel about them (which is the only thing that truly matters).
It's one of the cruel ironies of women's lives that during our healthiest years, all we think about is how imperfect our bodies appear to be. One day, we'll look back at this attitude and be upset by how incredibly ungrateful we were. The truth is that what our bodies do for us every day is miraculous, and we don't always treat them with the loving kindness they deserve.
Learn to experience gratitude for your body—the booty that's slowly growing from too many hours at the laptop is taking one for the team so you can earn a living. Those boobs—too big, too small, not perfect—may one day feed another human; in the meantime, they've done a fair amount of work bringing the boys to the yard, you know? The next time you look in the mirror naked, tell your body what you're thankful for. This may sound hokey, but it helps.
Every single thing we deem beautiful or not beautiful is trend-based. None of it is standard or objective. Over the course of human history, what's considered physically attractive has morphed many times. Keeping this simple, straightforward fact in mind is like hopping on an express train to body positivity. Whoever you are in this moment, that's what beautiful is.
You won't find real images of women in the mainstream media—they've been manipulated beyond recognition. You won't even find them on the Instagram pages of people you actually know. Where you will find them, however, is IRL. Think of your mom's body, your sister's body, your best friend's body—none of them are perfect. When this strategy fails, head to Chrissy Teigen's social media, where she shares photos of her cellulite and stretch marks. Or pick up a print publication like Darling magazine, which shuns Photoshop altogether and frequently hires models who aren't straight sizes.
Okay, okay, so this is our least enlightened suggestion, but sometimes you just feel mentally crappy and need a quick fix. We've found that a spray tan can disguise the wiggly bits you don't love and boost confidence in a pinch. And if we're being 100% honest, margaritas also work.