As you adjourn to the locker room after the day’s sweaty workout session, do you feel ashamed about getting undressed before your gym pals? Either you bare yourself without thinking and change your clothes as if it were the most natural thing to do – or you hurry to hide yourself in a bathroom stall where no-one will see you change. Your choice can tell a lot about your frame of mind now and how you came to behave in just this fashion, psychologists say. See what factors combine to establish your attitude to strutting about locker rooms without (most of) your clothes.
The factor of self-confidence
The first thing your behavior in the locker room shows is your current level of self-confidence. Those who get naked without batting an eyelid certainly believe they look all right – or even gorgeous! They are in excellent terms, if not in love, with their bodies. On the contrary, those who don’t feel sure about their shape find it difficult to show their bodies to others with equal ease. They have some ideal in their minds which they think they fall short of. If that’s the case, you may need some psychological exercises aimed to strengthen your self-confidence.
The factor of your bringing up
Self-confidence is the obvious reason for behaving like you do in relation to baring yourself, but on the other hand, it may have been fixed in your mind in childhood as you went along with your family ways. If your parents were chary about nudity, you grew up shying away from displaying your body. If the members of your family felt free to move about (almost) without their clothes, you have no objections to others seeing you au naturelle.
The thing with psychology is that it could have come off just the other way round: sometimes growing up in an oppressive atmosphere where nakedness was looked upon as willful trespassing you may have acquired a habit of defying the law and taking it off whenever a chance presented itself (the locker room being nearly a perfect one). Contrariwise, feeling embarrassed every time you saw your parents shirtless may have led you to dressing yourself thoroughly before you go out in public.
Influencing factors in adolescence
While when infant you were more mindless about your body, this began to change as you were growing up. Half into your childhood you got more conscious about the way you look and began formulating your own attitude about your body in general and displaying it in particular.
For coming to terms with your body this is a very vulnerable period when a strong negative experience can prove to be of a lasting and benchmark-setting nature. Those who were often at the receiving end of jokes in showers and gym dressing rooms may have easily gotten self-conscious and took pains to avoid further embarrassment by refusing to bare their bodies. Even hearing someone else be made fun of may have set you off doubting your own looks. Also, when a boyfriend lets fall a disparaging remark about your body just when you are trying to develop your own attitude to it, it can stick and smart for an incredibly long time into your adulthood.
Coming to terms with nakedness
Now, from the psychological point of view, fears and doubts have better be overcome, and the direct way to set about it is just this: get naked and get rid of your anxieties! Instead of being afraid of getting negative reactions, you should take a risk. The reactions will be mostly neutral or positive, psychologists aver.
If you wish to feel comfortable about getting undressed in the locker room, begin to practice it. After all, it’s nothing out of the way to be nude in the locker room, what you will be doing is only upholding a stereotypical kind of behavior. People are not here to judge your body, and if you undress matter-of-factly, you will hardly draw any special attention to yourself, let alone negative one. Those around you are more likely to be busy with themselves, so you can grow your self-confidence with every visit to the locker room.