Alexander Asks: Any tips for a guy (me) who hates being seen shirtless, especially in public?

Just stumbled across your website and I’ve been absorbed in it for about two hours now. Your writing is very refreshing!

Any tips for a guy (me) who just hates being seen shirtless, especially in public? I used to be very skinny. Been working out for four years and I’m now actually in a good shape. But I still don’t have the confidence to be shirtless. I don’t even have a single shirtless picture on social media. You, on the other hand, have no problem being seen naked. What should I do?

Also, when you did the body painting session (Painted with Numbers), was your pubes painted red? Just curious.

Thanks so much and keep inspiring people!
— Alexander

Hi Alexander,

This is such a good question and it’s something a lot of folks would be interested in. It comes down to two things really: rewiring your brain and getting out of your comfort zone.

A good way to rewire your brain involves writing things down repeatedly and/or reading them daily. It sounds kind of laborious, but it really is effective. One of the most popular exercises is a gratitude journal, which basically involves writing down ten things you’re grateful for every day. With this, you can put a bodily spin on it.

It sounds like you have made some fulfilling changes to your body. So, what are you grateful for when it comes to your body? Do this first thing after you wake up or last thing before you go to bed (or both). It might be difficult to list ten at first, but it gets easier over time as your brain rewires. Also, you can list the same ones every day too. You don’t have to think of totally new ones each time.

Another great list could be dividing the paper into two columns. In one column, write what you imagine people would say/think regarding your body. In the second column, write what people are most likely realistically say/thinking about your body. For instance “everyone is staring at me” vs “no one is actually thinking about me.” Then post it somewhere where you will see it every day.

Then, as I said before, get out of your comfort zone. Either post pictures on your social media or put yourself in situations where you won’t be wearing a shirt. Go to the pool. Layout in the park. Linger in a locker room. The shirtless world is your oyster.

Sure, it feels vulnerable. But that’s a good thing. Think about it… you can’t create change by remaining in your “safe space.” It is your safe space that keeps you in fear.

For additional ways of challenging the way you think about yourself, check out my answer to a similar recent question here.


Scott Bare InkSlinger

PS - During my body painting, yes my pubic hair was painted as well. That is not its natural color.