Get Ready for Bikini Season with Self-Love

Self-Confidence Is All You Need This Bikini Season

To achieve your dream body this summer, give your self a dose of self-love

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With so-called bikini season just around the corner, the pressure of attaining your bikini body returns. The notion that our sense of confidence derives from the way we look continues to fester in our culture and individual mindsets. The pressure from the media to have this ideal body type is stronger than ever with the technology available to use today. We are constantly bombarded with ads in magazines and carefully crafted images on social media platforms. Industries that rely on people feeling bad about the way they look continue to thrive due to this perpetuated, toxic belief.

We are so often told that the solution to finding confidence about your body is coming to this epiphany that you don't have to have a bikini body to wear a bikini because all bodies are beautiful. Although it has good intent, there still exists an underlying message that bikini bodies are the most desirable. It is saying that you can feel confident with yourself, despite the fact that your body is not the ideal. It forms a sense of "otherism" in which you can feel good about your body, but what society deems as non-bikini bodies are still considered inferior.

Even when plus-sized bodies are featured in a positive light, it is always a very specific type of plus-size model. They have a minimal amount of belly rolls, no cellulite in sight, their weight is carried in all the right places and sometimes these models are not truly plus-sized. While companies are trying to be inclusive to of all body types, they fail to be inclusive enough. And the very fact that these women are referred to as plus-sized models continues this notion of otherism. If the media aims to show a holistic view of beauty, then they must portray all women authentically and embrace their diversities.

In contrast to plus-size acceptance is fitspo, or fitspiration. The rise of fitspo is potentially problematic due to the idea that you just have to put in the work to get your dream body ready for summer. Under the premise of living a healthy lifestyle, it continues to promote an end goal of shaping your body to the societal ideal. It indirectly appeals to the idea that if your body is not ideal, then you are just too unbothered to take of yourself.

Of course, it is important to take of your body by exercising and eating healthy. However, the way you look should not serve as the basis of how healthy or fit you are. Many women who do these things don't necessarily have a skinny, toned body because everyone is built differently. And vice versa, plenty of skinny, toned women barely do anything to maintain a healthy diet and exercise consistently.

You can certainly love your body while simultaneously want to work on it. Altering our bodies can be an empowering experience and boost our confidence, but it should be done for yourself– not to appeal to the way society wants you to look. You should be motivated to feel better about yourself, not out of disdain of what you look like now.

We need to take control of the dominant message of what beauty looks like away from companies that are selling you a product to conform to societal beauty standards. Self-love comes from within and is not something that can be validated by external forces. Let women encourage other women to feel confident with themselves and show the world the beauty all women have. This summer you should just wear whatever bathing suit you want because what matters is that you are able to love yourself and your body.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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