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The Modesty Paradox




Last week, I decided to treat myself to a new dress that I found on Amazon. When it arrived and I tried it on, I was disheartened to see that it wasn’t forgiving to my midsection at all. I could have made it work with a pair of Spanx, but wearing restrictive shapewear goes against my core belief that we should feel good to look good. After a brief internal debate, I came to a liberating realization: no one truly cares if my stomach isn’t perfectly flat. And if there is someone who would judge me for having a belly, that’s their issue, not mine.


But why is it that I can feel like a goddamn goddess when I am at a nude beach, or parading around in skimpy lingerie at a play party, and yet then feel self-conscious about myself when wearing something relatively modest?


This paradox is one that many of us grapple with, and it can be deeply perplexing. The answer lies in the powerful interplay between vulnerability, authenticity, and the environments that shape our self-perception.


When we find ourselves at a nude beach or a play party, these are spaces that often celebrate the raw, unfiltered human form. They can foster an environment where vulnerability is not just accepted but celebrated. In these moments, we are encouraged to shed more than just our clothes; we shed the layers of societal expectations and judgments that weigh us down. This is where we touch the essence of authenticity.


Standing naked or almost naked in such a space is an act of profound vulnerability. But here’s the magic: vulnerability is the birthplace of authenticity and courage. When we allow ourselves to be seen, truly seen, without pretense or façade, we step into our most powerful selves. We connect with the divine within us, the part that recognizes our worth is not tethered to external validations or the judgments of others. It’s in these spaces that we reclaim our bodies as our own, experiencing a profound sense of freedom and empowerment. We feel like goddesses because we are in a context that honors our bravery and our truth.


On the other hand, wearing something modest often places us back into the everyday world, where different rules and norms apply. Modesty can sometimes feel like a cloak, one that invites the scrutiny and judgment of a society that is all too eager to impose its standards of beauty and worth. In these settings, the vulnerability of being seen doesn’t feel empowering; it feels exposing. Our inner critic rears its head, whispering that we are not enough as we are.


The contrast here isn’t about the amount of skin we show; it’s about the context and the emotional safety of the environment. It’s about the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies and our worthiness. At the nude beach or play party, the story is one of liberation, celebration, and community. In more conventional settings, the story can become one of comparison, judgment, and fear.


To bridge this gap, we must work on bringing the spirit of those empowering spaces into our everyday lives. This means cultivating environments, relationships, and internal dialogues that honor our vulnerability and authenticity. It means reminding ourselves daily that our worth is intrinsic and not contingent on how we are perceived by others.


So next time you feel the disparity between the goddess at the nude beach and the self-conscious person in modest attire, remember this: Both are you. Both are valid. And both can be brought into harmony by embracing the power of vulnerability, by being courageously authentic, and by loving yourself fiercely, no matter what you wear or where you are.

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Guest
Jun 17

I absolutely love this article and it is so profound. I love your insight

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Thank you 😊❤️

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