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Poor body image and low self-esteem are one of the biggest issues among women of all ages and pretty much all ethnicities. Social media age isn't doing much to improve the situation as many women tend to compare themselves to the images they see online – images that are often unrealistic.

A couple of years ago, beauty company Dove launched an extensive study to understand what women and girls all over the world think about themselves. The results are, to say the least, sad. The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report interviewed over 10 000 women and found that low self-esteem is a growing issue with most women suffering from lack of confidence.

Nearly all participants even said they rather opt out of important activities if they don't feel good about the way they look.

Many other studies have found the same, proving how extensive a problem it is. Most of us have felt bad about the way we look, but what's worse – that lack of self-esteem often dictates what you wear. How often have you found yourself saying: “I can never pull off this dress…” or “I couldn't possibly wear this because I'm not pretty enough for wearing it”? The sad truth is, many of us might have encountered these thoughts, even briefly.

It's time to put an end to it though. Life is short and there's no reason to put your wishes on hold because you don't feel you're worth it – because, you are worth it.

It takes time and practice to increase your confidence, but it all starts from baby-steps. One of those steps is to start wearing the clothes you really want to wear and ignore any negative thoughts surrounding that.

You might ask though, how can you find the confidence to wear anything if you don't feel entirely good about yourself yet? Well, confidence is somewhat like a closed circle – once you start wearing things you really wish to wear, you'll feel a confidence boost which will increase your overall confidence too.

So the first step is to cross that initial confidence line by starting to wear the things you've always wanted to wear. Below we're sharing some quick tips that will help you find the confidence to wear anything.

1. You're dressing for YOU, not for others

The first and most important thought you need to install in your mind is this: the only person whose opinion matters is you. You dress only for yourself, not for others, and therefore, the opinions of others don't matter when it comes to the way you dress. You like sneakers and jeans? You like biker chic style or boho outfits? Go for it! Pumps and skirts make you feel amazing? Why not wear them!

Don't let others define you, don't dress for others – that's a surefire way to make you feel stressed. When you start focusing on dressing for yourself, not others, you'll feel how social pressure is relieved because you no longer need to care about satisfying someone else.

2. Realize what you really like

Ask yourself: what do you really like?

It might be strange but often, we don't even realize what we really like because we're so influenced by the opinions of our friends, family, magazines, advertisements, and social media. Fashion influences are everywhere around us. How many times have you gone shopping with your friends and heard how you should buy something because it looks good on you? But have you actually thought about what you really like, deep inside?

The key to finding your inner confidence is to wear the things that make your heart jump from happiness. We all have inner “style guides”, but sometimes we forget that guide.

Next time you go shopping, go alone. Just try on things that make you feel the best and pick out the items you like – don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

3. Ignore the glances and stand tall

Have you ever opted out of wearing something because you were afraid of how people might glance at you?

Many of us have, but here's what you need to: ignore the glances and stand tall. The more you do it, the more confident you become since soon you'll realize, people aren't really staring.

And even if it feels like they are, actually most of the time they aren't analyzing your outfit, but they're actually just thinking their own everyday thoughts.

Think about this way: whose opinion is more important – yours or the complete stranger's who just passed you on the street? Don't be discouraged by glances, embrace them and walk proudly.

4. Find what you love the most about yourself and flaunt that

We all have some body parts we don't particularly want to showcase but at the same time, we also have parts that we completely love. Maybe you like your legs? Maybe you love your shoulders? Dress accordingly, flaunting the parts you feel more confident about. If you increase your confidence step-by-step, you'll soon find the confidence to showcase other parts proudly too, but until then, you can stick to showing off the parts you already feel great about.

5. Realize that you can't please everyone

The fact is that sometimes, we are indeed judged by our looks, but here's the thing: you can never ever dress to suit everyone's style perception.

Some people might like heels, some people might hate heels, but should you really dress for them? And most importantly, there's no way to please everyone. Many people might find your sense of style to be awesome, some might find it ugly.

That's the truth you need to keep in mind since it puts you one step closer to understanding that the only opinion that really matters is yours. Life is too short to live by other's opinions.

Finding your inner confidence is definitely not easy, but acting step-by-step and appreciating who you are and what you like is the key to progressing towards becoming more confident. Just keep in mind that no one else should dictate what you wear. Only and only you can be the one who dictates that. Follow your inner style guide and wear what you want to wear proudly.

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