One of the most common nightmares people have is standing in front of a room full of people completely naked. That moment, although in our subconscious, leaves us feeling shamed and embarrassed.
But why should it? After all, being naked is our natural state.
"Remember how you were as a child, or watch a child between zero and two. There is no shame because they don't know what shame is yet," Sharamine Clarke, who has lived as a naturist for the past three years, told HuffPost Canada.
A naturist is defined as someone who goes nude in designated areas, and we can learn a thing or two from them about body confidence. Not only do naturists fully accept their bodies, as well as other people's, but they're also proud of them and aren't afraid of others seeing them in the buff.
In the video above, five naturists reveal how baring it all helped them gain body confidence and the challenges they faced to get there.
"It really made me see my body for what it could create," said Andrea Budzey, a mom-of-two who struggled with her post-baby body before visiting a naturist park. "I no longer felt like I was carrying extra pounds and I was no longer striving to have that perfect body image because I was proud of my body."
Samantha Kaine Gruen, who has been practicing naturism for 25 years, said it was the accepting attitude of the naturist community that helped her become comfortable with herself and her naked form.
"I learned to appreciate what I look like from the inside out as opposed to the other way," she explained. "I think it's just having and being part of a community that accepts me for me, and it's not about the colour of my skin or the fact that I'm a woman or anything like that. It's just complete acceptance for who I am."
Not everyone's a model, and that's the thing. People accept you as you are.
Tony Cooke, another naturist, agreed. After going to a naturist park and realizing there are so many shapes and sizes of bodies out there, he said it was easy to accept his own.
"Not everyone's a model, and that's the thing," he said of naturist parks. "People accept you as you are. I didn't want people seeing my stomach, I didn't want people seeing [my] genital size... but now it's like, hey, it's here if you want to see it."
So what exactly is the difference between a naturist and a nudist? Turns out, the two terms can be used interchangeably "to a certain extent," according to Stéphane Deschênes, the owner of Ontario's Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park.
"It really depends on which part of the world you're in. In Europe, people would never use [the term] nudist, they use naturist," he said. "I personally prefer naturist because it's not about nudity, it's about living a more natural life. This is our natural state. Nudity is simply a tool that we [use to] accept ourselves. Only when we take our clothes off do you really get the true authentic self."
Also on HuffPost: