Summer should be a time of relaxing by the beach, soaking up some rays and spending quality time with friends and family. Yet, every year so many of us suffer from the same body insecurities. We are constantly questioning and criticising our bodies. Does this bikini make me look fat? Am I “summer-ready”? The truth is, we should all love the skin we’re in, and we should embrace the summer with confidence and body positivity.
Having suffered from body insecurities all my life, I know just how hard it is to remain positive this time of year. Instagram has been the biggest source of my insecurities, but I always try to remind myself that my body does NOT define me. These models and “instababes” we see online are beautiful, but it is not their beauty I admire, it is their confidence. Instead of asking ourselves “why can’t I look like them?”, maybe we should start asking “If they can love the skin they’re in, then why can’t I?”.
We are witnessing a change in the media towards a more positive and inclusive body image. This year I particularly liked the Boots summer advert in which two beautiful plus-size women dance to a body-positive remake of the Diana Ross song “I’m coming out” in brightly-coloured bikinis at the beach. To have such a high-profile company produce such a body-positive message is great to see. It teaches us that we should love and honour our bodies, especially during the summer as it’s a time when we can truly be care-free.
Love island is always a controversial subject, especially on the topic of “body positivity”. Every year a group of men and women are judged entirely on their looks, and whether they have a strong enough “connection”. It can be hard not to compare ourselves to these people, especially as we’ve been watching them on television every night for the last eight weeks. But there is a positive message to be taken from Love Island. These men and women have led “normal” lives up until this point, and yet they still have the body confidence to strut about the villa in sexy bikinis and swim-shorts. I’m not saying these people are role-models, but we should at least learn from them to love our bodies the way they love their own.
Learning to appreciate the beauty in ourselves and others can transform our mental state. When you look in the mirror, do not point out your flaws, but rather compliment the parts you love most about yourself, whether it’s your smile, your lips or your legs. Health and fitness are also incredibly important for both our bodies and our minds. Fuel your body with things that make you feel good, and try setting fitness goals that have nothing to do with your appearance. For a clearer mind and a more body-positive outlook, I would also recommend yoga and meditation. Taking just 5 minutes to mentally check-in with yourself can change your entire outlook for the rest of the day.
I would be lying if I said that I am always able to think about my own body in this way. But I truly believe that everyone should love the skin they’re in, and that summertime is the perfect opportunity to show that body off. Whether that is wearing a bikini to the beach, or throwing on a pair of cute denim shorts, each risk we take breaks down the stereotype of the “perfect” summer body. Men and women should feel empowered by their bodies, no matter what shape or size you are.