Spring has finally arrived! And that means bikini season is right around the corner.
Yes, it’s that time of year when we all dive head-on into healthy diets and exercise regimes, motivated (or pressured?) by ads depicting models in the latest swimwear. But why do we spend so much time obsessing about fitting into that size 2 two-piece?
Don’t get us wrong – being healthy is important! But we are constantly surrounded by messages about how we should look, what we should weigh, and just how much ‘thigh gap’ we should strive for. These are pretty unrealistic images of physical perfection, and we beat ourselves up for not living up to this impossible ideal.
Instead of challenging yourself to achieve the perfect bikini body, why not work to love the one you have? It can be hard at times, but luckily, we stumbled on this three-step process of forgiving, accepting and appreciating our bodies.
Body image affects our sexuality, self-image and even our self-esteem, so it is really important to embrace what we love about our physique and to recognize what we can and can’t control about it. These steps can help you down the path to a more positive body image.
1) Forgiving Your Body
No body is perfect, despite what some popular media may tell you. The first step toward self-love is acknowledge this, and to forgive your body for its quirks.
If you want to release some negative feelings about your body, you could:
- Speak (or reflect to yourself) about your body in positive terms;
- Smile at yourself in the mirror;
- Wear something that makes you feel special;
- Share a kiss, a massage, or another sensual activity that helps you focus on your body’s capacity for pleasure.
2) Accepting Your Body
Sometimes scrutinizing your body can feel like looking into a fun house mirror that exaggerates what you like least and minimizes what you appreciate. It’s important to change this warped vision of yourself.
Each of your traits – inherited or gained over a lifetime – reveals your individuality as a person. They reflect your ancestry, life experiences and choices. So you inherited freckles from your mom, or have a scar because your child was born C-section; your body tells the story of who you are and what makes you unique.
3) Appreciating Your Body
The final step in nurturing self-love goes beyond just accepting the body you have, and asks you to appreciate it. It requires a little self-examination. Ask yourself three questions:
- What does your body do well?
- What is a goal your body helped you reach?
- How does your body give you pleasure?
It can be really hard to celebrate every aspect of your body. But acknowledging and appreciating the small ways it pleases you may gradually help you feel better about your body overall.
We don’t always have control over the way our bodies look, but we do have a say in how we perceive ourselves and how that body image impacts our confidence. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you are the most important one. The opinions of others won’t make a difference if you don’t believe that you are beautiful, first and foremost!
Make the choice to behold your own beauty.