“I hate how this cut brings out my stomach.”
“If I had better boobs, this would look so much better.”
“I just don’t look good in bikinis.”
These are musings I have heard while in the female dressing room, shopping for swimsuits. If you have ever been shopping, you know exactly what I am talking about (and can probably add a few more self-deprecating sentences to the list). I am definitely guilty of this; I too have assessed my body in the same negative way that people commonly do when deciding which swimsuit to buy: “If I’m going to spend money, I better look good in it.”
Some may argue that this is a normal (or even healthy!) thing to do. I have even heard it said that, for women in particular, this kind of negative energy toward our bodies is necessary in order to “meet someone” or “be beautiful.”
While I wholly respect the opinions of others, I could not disagree more. I firmly believe that every single person is beautiful exactly the way that they are. The opinions of others – friends, significant others, random people you meet – should not impact how confident you feel in your swimsuit, or in anything for that matter.
Every body—every size, shape, color—is a bikini body. Of course, I live on planet earth and have the same unpleasant shopping experiences as everyone else. I know that positive self-talk is almost always easier said than done. However, here are five ways I’ve learned to actually practice body positivity in daily life.
Your worth is not defined by what you see in the mirror
We live in the most visual world history has ever seen. People not only judge books by their covers, they also pick roommates, houses, jobs, colleges, and millions of other things based on how appealing they are to the eye. It is extremely tempting to do the same with your body, but remember that the person you are on the inside is just as important as the one in your reflection!
Loving your body does not mean that you do not care about yourself
Quite the contrary. It means that you love and respect your body, regardless of what you are going through. You and your body are on the same team, so root for each other!
Be obsessed with what you love about your body, instead of obsessing over what you don’t love
I often find myself looking in the mirror, and the first thoughts that come to mind are “Wow, I still have that scar,” or “Why are my abs so lame?” Sometimes these thoughts overcrowd the ones that try to say, “Wow, I am strong,” “I have made so much progress,” “I look really nice in this.” Positive thoughts are far more restorative than negative ones.
It bears repeating: Every body is a bikini body
The society has created this toxic narrative that the only people “allowed” to wear bikinis are “skinny” people with perfect physical features. But the reality is that the only person who truly gets a say in what you are “allowed” to wear is yourself. No billboard, magazine, or friend has the right to tell you what to wear. If you love how you look, go for it!
It sounds trite, but it’s true: You are beautiful exactly the way that you are.