Frolicking on the beach or by the pool in your itty-bitty-teeny-weeny-polka-dot two-piece has been a summer past time for decades.
But, let’s be real: it’s been a source of dread and anxiety for women for just as long.
I’ve struggled with body image for years. My anxiety stretches back to childhood. My curves came on strong when I was young. A chubby-cheeked little girl with a soft tummy, I envied my athletic bodied friends. Their flat chests and pointy joints were my 12-year-old definition of beauty.
Fast forward a decade and we live in a society inundated with unrealistic babes. Lip injections, implants and Brazilian butt lifts are all too common twisting our idea of what’s beautiful and creating a new, more unnatural normal.
And it’s driving us to some crazy extremes.
I’ve done it all. Become a slave to the elliptical, a dangerous dieter and a medicine ball junkie chasing abs a la 2002 Britney.
A few years ago, I declared: enough. My relationship with the gym didn’t make me feel good. Sweating and punishing my body on a quest for the perfect summer physique transformed me into a hangry bitch.
Hangry = the ravenous, raging combination of hungry + angry. Some of you women will know it well.
No matter how hard I worked out, how much I dieted I was never satisfied with the way I looked.
I’m not saying women can’t have a very healthy relationship with exercise and fitness, but through my teens and early twenties I did not. If your fitness routine makes you feel beautiful, healthy and alive, amazing! I am so happy for you.
But lately, I’ve adopted a softer approach to bikini season — one that accepts and celebrates my body instead of punishing it. Inner beauty = outer beauty.
10 WAYS TO FEEL LIKE A GENUINE GODDESS THIS SUMMER
1. Stop comparison.
Do yourself a huge favour and stop comparing yourself to other women. We are all extremely unique. Our bodies different so drastically in size, curviness, skin tone, height etc., that honestly, even if you worked your butt off for hours each day, you’d never be able to look exactly like a Victoria’s Secret model. Cut out comparison and you cut out endless striving and constant dissatisfaction. Free yourself!
2. Accept yourself.
Accept your body totally as it is right now. Even if you plan on making some healthy food and fitness changes, it’s important to accept who you are in the present moment. There’s a radical law in physics that states what we resist persists. If you resist your curves, your belly or your thighs, you can bet that those “problem” areas will continue to bother you — no matter how many calories you burn. Total acceptance of the present and the way your body looks presently is actually the best way to ignite lasting and positive change. Broaden your definition of beauty and make sure it includes yourself, exactly as you are, today.
3. Up your self-love game.
You set the bar for how much love you’ll be able to accept from other people based on how much you love yourself. Let this sink in: men will only love you as much as you love yourself. So if a loving relationship, deep friendships and close bonds with co-workers are something you desire, you’ve got to fill yourself up with love first. Treat yourself like the goddess you are. Take time for luxurious indulgences like hot baths, a glass of divine wine or a fresh facial. Be kind to yourself when you look in the mirror. Put making yourself feel valued, loved and beautiful at the top of your to-do list and you’ll become a love magnet.
4. Create a body positive mantra.
If body image is something you’ve struggled with for a while – I know so many of us have – then cultivating new, positive habits and self-love practices can be challenging. Our negative self-talk is so strong that it becomes the loudest voice in our minds. One-way to shift this is by creating a body positive mantra and putting it on repeat. Simple phrases like I am beautiful, drown out your ego’s sabotaging voice and condition your mind into thinking more positively. Make sure your mantra is stated in the positive and makes you feel beautiful. Every time you look in the mirror, snap a selfie or get in the shower, say it loud and proud.
5. Quit the gossip.
It can be hard to see beautiful women on TV and in photos exuding sexuality and happiness, especially when we’re not secure in our own skin. Gossip is our ego’s favourite defense mechanism. It can feel good to put somebody else down by criticizing someone’s beauty, even if it’s just amongst friends or silently in our own minds. But, when we build ourselves up by talking smack about somebody else’s body we actually signal to the universe that we don’t’ value beauty and therefore don’t want it. Gossip isn’t just mean, it blocks you from feeling and experiencing inner peace and beauty. So the next time you feel an urge to rant about Kim Kardashian, stop. Give yourself some love instead, and, for good karma, send some out to Kimmy K too.
6. Speak a new language.
The words we speak carry immense power. We truly can, as Jay-Z says, speak things into existence. By choosing to speak a language infused with love and positivity we can transform our feelings about our bodies. Be gentle with yourself and others. If your words – even the ones you say silently to yourself – don’t have a loving intention, don’t say them.
7. Freshen up your follows
Instagram can be an amazing source of inspiration. It’s easy to spend hours scrolling and gawking at the latest fashion trends, gourmet meals and exotic travel destinations. But, spending too much time peeking into the lives of super models can make us sick with envy. Go through your social media accounts and revamp who you choose to follow. If someone’s photos consistently make you feel down about yourself, unfollow them. Instead, look for accounts that build up your self-esteem. There are so many gorgeous, aspirational goddesses out there celebrating their unique bodies. Choosing more positive role models and consistently tapping them for inspiration will help to totally transform your sense of self worth.
8. Shift Your Focus
We’ve all been there: looking through old vacation photos with friends, flipping through shot after shot, laughing at old memories until bam – the one of you in the bikini comes up, and instead of appreciating the beauty of the azure ocean or how great your sun-kissed cheeks look, you zero in on the soft little roll on the bottom of your tummy. It’s all you can see. You feel ashamed, embarrassed, and then make a joke at your own expense. As women we are constantly focusing on how we look. We chart our appearance year after year obsessing over it. The reality is our laser focus on our appearance is unhealthy. It causes us to lose perspective and makes us unappreciative of the awesome and amazing experiences and people that grace our lives. Next time you feel yourself fretting about how looked on holiday or consumed by your appearance, shift your focus. Shine the spotlight on other amazing areas of your life like your family, nature or the hilarious memories you made with your friends.
9. Your Body = a Temple
Treat your body like a temple. Fill it with thoughts, food and ideas that make you feel really good. Eating like crap is often the result of feeling like crap. So many of us turn to food as a source of comfort after a bad day or as a reward for enduring a grueling workout. Love yourself enough to treat yourself like the true goddess that you are. If it doesn’t make you feel good don’t think it, eat it or do it.
10. Spread the Love
Instead of tearing other women down for how they look, be the person who builds people up. Strive to positively impact everyone you encounter in a day. Fill yourself up with love then radiate that love out into the world. Give out juicy compliments on regular. Tell women they look beautiful. If you admire a girl’s style, let her know! Be an unstoppable force for kindness every single day and you’re beauty will mesmerize everyone you meet.
How do you make yourself feel good during the summer?! Let me know in the comments below.
With so much love,