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You Won’t Wear A Bikini To The Office

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on December 3, 2012

catwoman costume to the office someecards

Image courtesy of someecards.

So, pretty much every week, I’m here, writing a post about why loving your body is TOTES AWESOME (as the kids say).

I may be writing about Health At Every Size® or diet industry lies or handling the holidays as a fat person, but underneath it all, I’m saying that loving your body, loving yourself, approving of who you are and the wonderful corporeal package that you come in is the key to a happier more empowered life.

So, this week, I want to address what might be holding you back.  I want to talk about an underlying fear that you may be encountering in your pursuit of body love.

Wearing A Bikini To The Office, And Other Fears

That underlying fear is that you will love and approve of yourself and your body so much that you will lose all sense of propriety. The fear is that you will be so guided by doing whatever will make you happiest, that you imagine yourself doing really outlandish, embarrassing things like wearing a bikini to the office.  Or wearing an all spandex outfit to the office.

Thinking about it rationally, it doesn’t really make sense, but I often find that just scratching the surface reveals this fear, and the “bikini to the office” and “all spandex outfit to the office” images come up a lot when I talk about this with clients.

And I don’t want to make light of that fear.  Humans have a deeply ingrained desire to fit in somewhere, and a deep fear of alienating the people around them.  Even if your identity is centered around being different or non-mainstream, you usually want to be different or non-mainstream with some other people.  It goes back to a time in our collective history when being an outcast really meant death, when being part of your community was the key to physical survival.

I think the modern version of not fitting in with your community group is not fitting in at work.  Banishment from the working world and an inability to financially survive can feel like death and could mean death since the social services safety net is often so meager.

So, I think it’s important to get clear on your fears about body love, so that you can look at them rationally and keep moving forward. If you never look at your fears about body love, you can never assess their validity.

Handling The Fear

I want to share something with you that will hopefully allay some of your fear–in the past 5 years I’ve worked with hundreds of women on loving their bodies, and not one has worn a bikini to work or anything similar. Not one has seen their deepest, darkest fears of being massively inappropriate come to fruition as a result of body love.

The truth is, when you start to love your body more, you’re still you. You still realize that certain clothes are appropriate for the office and certain others may not be, but you also begin to put yourself and your body first. You may add more fun and color to your work wardrobe because it makes you happy. You may set more boundaries at work with coworkers who talk derisively about their bodies and encourage you to diet. It is possible that loving your body more will make you realize that your present job is in conflict with self love and body love (as I once did) but if/when that happens, the empowering side of body love will actually help you through it. (You may have to trust me on that, but I’ve found it to be true for myself and my career-changing clients).

Getting Clear On The Fear

What are your fears about loving your body more? Take a few minutes to think about or free write about your fears. Feel free to share them below, too!

Then ask yourself, are these fears real? How likely is it that they will come to fruition?

Once you’re clear on the likelihood of these fears actually happening, decide to take some steps toward loving your body more. Check out my Body Love 101 resource page for some ideas.

Get great body love tips and more when you subscribe:

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronica December 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I’ve never feared that I would wear a bikini to the office, because I know myself well enough that, unless I had a break from reality, I could never simply forget about societal norms so completely. However, I do have a related fear; that I’ll forget all the “rules” I used to live by, and which I assume the majority of people still live by (which is a huge assumption I know, but my brain always assumes other people are fundamentally like myself). I guess the thing I’m afraid will happen is that I’ll break a really big rule without remembering that it’s even a rule, and that people will judge me severely and I’ll be oblivious to what’s going on and still think they like me. This looks really weird written down, so I guess it’s a good thing I’m spending some time thinking about it. But the thing is that *I* used to follow and care about these rules, and a lot of the people I know and care about still do, so it’s very hard to dismiss these rules as something stupid that only stupid people would care about. And if I can’t do that, then it doesn’t feel as simple as “just” breaking the rules.

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karin December 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm

what the body seems to ‘symbolize’ to others may result in them acting that out, and who knows how far that may go with those who don’t want to deal with that if they don’t know you?

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Dee Romesburg December 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Same as Bec and Rakisha and BrooklynShoeBabe… I’m scared if I love and accept my body, I’ll just get more and more unhealthy and worse and worse in every way until I die before I’m 50.

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Rakisha Kearns-White December 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm

My biggest fear is that I will give up trying to be healthy. I know that is absurd, and that HAES doesn’t mean go crazy eating junk but….

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bodyimageblogger (@bodyimagebloggr) December 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm

“If you never look at your fears about #bodylove, you can never assess their validity.” -@bodylovewellnes http://t.co/AhjxsJOT

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Bec December 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I’m afraid I’ll get really, really fat, and discard all consideration for health. Pathetic but true. I know intellectually that this isn’t so, that as long as I continue with healthy behaviours I’ll be healthy, but I’m finding it a real battle to believe it with my whole self. Sigh.

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@whitefaerie December 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

“If you never look at your fears about #bodylove, you can never assess their validity.” – @bodylovewellnes http://t.co/BSqeJ9S9

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@loveourbodies December 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

http://t.co/aQQUA8Nr “The truth is, when you start to love your body more, you’re still you.” #loveyourbody http://t.co/Ughh4Lpt

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Libby T. December 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

So if I thought I was beautiful, I’d wear a bikini to the office? Well, not this office, it’s too cold in here, lol.

Seriously, I don’t think I’d wear a bikini even if I were built like a Barbie. It’s just not my style. The only thing I find myself wishing I “could” wear are more fitted-in-the-waist styles. Otherwise, I wear pretty much what I like.

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@TheActualFatFox December 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

“If you never look at your fears about #bodylove, you can never assess their validity.” – @bodylovewellnes http://t.co/gLPRwrSm

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