Can Lingerie Help People Walk the Path Towards Self-Love?
Love is an integral part of our lives and is very important for our mental and emotional well-being but the most essential form of love in our lives is, of course, self-love. To put simply, self-love is an appreciation for oneself and having a high regard for our well-being and happiness. It means taking care of our needs and not sacrificing our well-being or happiness to please others. Alas, in this fast-paced and cruel modern world where everyone is competing for resources, ideal lives and even love, it’s hard to not be critical of ourselves. This makes maintaining and practising self-love all the more essential. It is necessary to be able to appreciate ourselves every day. But what makes self-love the key to long, happy and fulfilled lives? Mehak Walia in conversation with Ummang Sharma Bajpai (MWP, MBPsS), an Integrative Psychologist and the Head of Psychological Services at the Institute for the Advancement of Mental Health (IAMH), an online-first institute, established to improve access to mental wellness and mental healthcare.
While talking about the importance of self-love, Ummang explained, “Self-love is extremely important in a person’s life because it lays the foundation for a healthy and fulfilling life. Loving oneself allows individuals to establish a positive relationship with themselves – which in turn leads to feeling more confident in their abilities and sense of self-worth. Having self-love also helps a person to have better relationships with others, as they are less likely to tolerate harmful or abusive behaviour from others. Additionally, it fosters better communication – of one’s needs and boundaries. There is a growing body of research on the importance of self-love, particularly in the fields of psychology and mental health. Studies have shown that self-love is positively associated with better mental health outcomes, such as lower levels of anxiety and depression, and improved life satisfaction.”
He further added, “Additionally, self-love has been linked to greater resilience and coping skills, allowing individuals to better navigate stress and adversity – which happens because a person who loves themselves is better able to cope with stress and overcome challenges. Other studies have found that self-love can also be associated with better physical health outcomes, such as improved sleep, lower levels of inflammation, and enhanced immune function. Overall, the research suggests that self-love is a crucial aspect of overall well-being and is essential for personal growth and happiness. Self-love is a critical aspect of personal growth and happiness and is necessary for a fulfilling and balanced life.”
But, in the daily struggle towards self-love, a question that puzzles us all now and then is how we should love our bodies when they don’t match the beauty standards. How do we feel sexy in our different body types and shapes with all their differences and flaws? Well, I might have the answer. One of the most interesting and creative ways to fall in love with yourself is via lingerie. The use of lingerie has been around for centuries, and they have been used time and again to accentuate certain body parts and our overall appeal. However now, they have become more than just tools to attract others. They have not turned into the boldest, strongest and sexiest tools for a woman’s sexual expression.
Don’t believe me? Well, look back to the first time you came across a gorgeous piece of lingerie that made you pause. Did you end up trying it? Did your reflection in that mirror make you smile and feel special, even if was just for a split second? That is the exact power of lingerie. They have turned into symbols of accepting our sexuality in its truest form. But how do they help?
Ummang believes that “wearing lingerie or fetish gear that makes you feel confident and empowered can have a positive impact on self-love. If wearing certain types of clothing makes you feel good about yourself and boosts your confidence, then it can certainly be seen as a form of self-care and self-expression. I think it’s worth acknowledging here the special relevance of self-love and the use of lingerie or fetish gear for the LGBTQIA+ community. For many individuals in the queer community, self-love can be a particularly challenging aspect of personal growth, as they may have faced ‘minority stress’ – which is discrimination, stigma, and rejection based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The use of lingerie or fetish gear can be a way for these individuals to express their sexuality and gender identity in a safe and empowering way and can help to build self-confidence and self-acceptance. “
It is also essential to note the fact that all of us have unique body types and different preferences when it comes to lingerie. They are more than just simple undergarments; they are a tool through which we feel sexy and appreciate our unique bodies in all their glory. They have the power to shatter the boxes of toxic beauty and body standards created by society as a whole. You see, wearing a nice set of lingerie of our choice is literally, one of the most empowering experiences out there. This can positively affect our emotional state by showing off our fierce and fabulous side with a layer of sexual liberation and girl power. This can also boost our self-esteem and confidence and on top of it all, it makes us feel good about our bodies thereby improving our self-image. This allows you to feel validation internally rather than seeking it from others. This can be a brilliant path to work on our self-esteem as a whole.
Ummang agreed and added with a smile, “Wearing lingerie or fetish gear can help improve self-esteem for some people. It can be a way to express one’s sexuality, feel confident, and embrace their body. However, it is important to note that self-esteem is a complex and multifaceted concept and is not solely determined by what one wears. Wearing lingerie or fetish gear can provide temporary confidence boosts, but it needs to be part of a wider strategy to develop a healthy relationship with self and a stable sense of self-worth. While interrelated, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-love are distinct concepts. Simply put, self-worth is the underlying belief in one’s inherent value, self-esteem is an external evaluation of oneself, and self-love is a positive and compassionate attitude towards oneself. Unlike self-esteem, which can be influenced by external factors and external validation, self-love is a more stable, holistic, and internalized sense of self-worth. Plus, we must also remember that everyone’s experiences and preferences are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. So, you shouldn’t do something if you’re feeling threatened by it in any way.”
But it’s also very essential to note and understand the fact that the battle towards self-love cannot just be won with lingerie. You do need other arsenals in your corner. There are several ways you can support the use of lingerie or fetish gear in the process of self-love and personal growth.
While discussing these ways in detail, Ummang explained, “First and foremost, be open-minded and non-judgmental: Allow individuals to express themselves and explore their sexuality in a way that feels comfortable and empowering to them, without imposing your own opinions or prejudices. We live in a shame-based culture, so a lot of biases may covertly exist in our thoughts – it’s important to call these out and keep them in check. Next, it’s important to provide a safe and supportive environment: Create a space where individuals feel comfortable and accepted, free from judgement or shame. This will aid the process of self-discovery for them. We can also ensure that we foster body positivity: Help folks embrace their bodies, regardless of their shape or size, and focus on what makes them unique and beautiful. This enables everyone to emphasize self-love and serves as a reminder that true confidence and empowerment come from within. Importantly, providing a supportive and empowering environment, and encouraging individuals to focus on self-love and self-care is key to promoting a positive body image and positive personal growth.”
Another very essential fact that we must remember is that it’s important to remember that self-love is not solely dependent on external factors. Ummang expressed that, ‘True self-love comes from within. It involves valuing and accepting oneself for who they are, regardless of their appearance or external circumstances. Ultimately, what is more, important is to engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself – that empower you to be your authentic self. Whether that’s wearing lingerie or fetish gear, or engaging in other forms of self-expression, the key is to focus on building a positive relationship with yourself and nurturing your well-being.”
At the end of the day, whether it’s sexy lingerie, gorgeous makeup, shiny new heels or just some comfort food, it’s essential to care for and appreciate yourself while learning how to fall in love with yourself. This road might be long and hard but don’t give up and hang in there, it’s all worth it!