Editor's note: Lindsay Novak is a certified sex therapist based in west Omaha. She blogs every Tuesday for Livewellnebraska.com. Read more from Lindsay here.
A common conversation in therapy involves women talking about how their poor body image and low self-confidence can lead to both interpersonal and relationship problems.
Well, I have an opinion as to why women's body image continues to plummet, and I'm blaming lingerie stores.
Technically, it's not the stores' fault or even the majority of merchandise, but rather the sales associates who report inflated sizes and recommend a Mt. Everest worth of padding.
I've been ambushed multiple times by employees offering a bra fitting which ends with me being told that my size is equivalent to a physically enhanced Jersey Shore reality star. Which, for the record, is far from the truth!
The sales associates suggest a bigger cup size and smaller size around the bust to uphold the big-bust-small-waist image.
As the sales woman suggests the new (embellished) size while taking down your numbers, it's easy to doubt your inner self-critic and believe what she says. She has a name tag AND a tape measure, she must be right.
Unfortunately, geometry, physics and gravity negate this hypothesis. So often women will give in to the suggestion of a larger size because it makes them feel good about themselves, when the reality is that a B cup, for example, would fit much better.
A 36B is simply not equivalent to a 34D, not matter what the woman with the tape measure tells you.
So what's the point of suggesting an incorrect and super-amped size anyway?
Is it a marketing ploy aimed at getting me to spend money on replacing my current bras that are a smaller (correct) size? Or do these sales associates actually think my self-esteem will rise with my cup size?
What happens when the bra comes off? Self-esteem plummets because the false illusion of a big bust size and extra padding are removed.
I'm suggesting a proclamation to take back our self-confidence in its most natural form. I'm not proposing a bra burning 1960's revolution. Rather, I'm encouraging women to embrace themselves as fabulous, just the way they are.
Ladies, here are a few tips:
• Focus on your best physical attributes rather than the worst.
• Buy clothing and lingerie that show off your natural physical features.
• Accept compliments from others with grace.
• And compliment others. If you're mindful of recognizing positives about others, you're more apt to be positive towards yourself.
Keep in mind that these self-confidence tips shouldn't replace diet and exercise goals. Nor do they suggest avoiding enhancing lingerie purchases or atheistic surgeries for those who so desire.
But self-acceptance will help your overall attitude about yourself in addition to helping you reach those diet and exercise goals -- you'll feel more worthy of toning up the outside when you feel beautiful on the inside.
Be aware of social messages and sales pitches that falsely inflate your self-esteem, or your cup size, for that matter. And remember that confidence is just a sexy as lingerie!