That first day you try on your swimsuit each season is a fun one, isn’t it?
Anyone else feel a tidal wave of self-criticism and body shame? I want to say that I handle this with grace and self-love each year, but the truth is – I am just like every other woman out there. My natural instinct is to fixate on my flaws and wish I looked more like an Athleta model.
But just because my first reaction is self-criticism doesn’t mean I need to stay there. Here are five ways I am deliberate in my self-talk during swimsuit season. Without them, things can get pretty ugly. But with them I can feel more at peace, connect with my family and friends, and actually enjoy the experience.
How to Feel Confident in Your Swim Suit This Summer:
1.Stop judging others. I have realized that checking everyone else out is not an innocent preoccupation. On the heels of my judgments comes an automatic internal comparison about where I fall in. Sometimes I come out ahead, and sometimes I don’t. But either way I lose, because whether I am inflated by a false sense of self-worth or disheartened because someone else looks better in her swimsuit, I am not present with the people I came to be with. Which leads me to number two…
2. Be Present. This is the antidote to feeling insecure. When I find myself caught up in what other people might be thinking, I gently bring myself back to reality by concentrating on the warm sunshine, the fresh air, the cool water, and the squeals and laughter of my children. Those are the things that happiness is made of…not some fleeting sense of triumph (or despair) because I look better (or worse) than the other women at the pool.
3. Be Grateful. There are only two choices: 1- I wish my body looked better, and 2- I am grateful for my body. Which do you pick?Don’t be fooled into thinking that your body can validate you or give you the confidence that you lack. Bodies can’t do that. What bodies can do is give you the ability to live life. Be grateful for all of the ways your body allows you to do just that. When I sense myself becoming critical of how my body doesn’t measure up to the media’s ideals, I remind myself to be grateful for the way it serves me. This is what it sounds like: “I am grateful that I am healthy. I am grateful that I have plenty of energy. I am grateful that I live pain-free. I am grateful that I can everything that I want to do…” and so on. Talk about a turnaround!
4. Act As If. This is one of my favorites. Often we let our insecurities dictate what we will and won’t do. We might avoid the pool, summer clothing, or activities with our families that would bring joy and meaning to our life. What would you do if you felt confident and comfortable in your body? As you begin to be the kind of person you want to be, you might notice that the harsh prerequisite of having a perfect body or losing a certain amount of weight really is less significant than you thought. So ask yourself, what would you do this summer if you didn’t feel insecure about your body? Carpe diem, my friend. Life is short. Be the person you want to be; Do the things you want to do; create the memories you’ve always dreamed of, because chances are you’ll look back in ten years and wonder why you held yourself back.
5. Get a New Swimsuit. It’s hard to feel confident when you are wearing an old, faded swimsuit or the one that you spent a lot of money on five years ago. Be kind to yourself and splurge on a really great new swimsuit, and maybe even a cover up and sandals. Get a pedicure while you’re at it! You’ll send a message to yourself that you are worth it. And once you are dressed in your new duds…let the criticism go. After all, you’re not on stage at a beauty pageant; you’re there to create memories with your family and friends.
Sometimes I look at women at the beach or pool who seem carefree and present, and I remind myself that haven’t a perfect body isn’t a prerequisite for having fun. I might have to baby-step my way there, but we have power over how we feel and what we think. It all starts with intention.
Love you all! You are beautiful! Get your mind in the right place, and go out there and make some summer memories