I am not summer body ready. I’m not even spring body ready because these arms have seen better days and shaving my legs requires so much effort. I’m not in the best shape I’ve been in, especially compared to last year and for the first year in a while I don’t have a holiday booked. For the past few years, I’ve been motivated by the sunshine to get into shape so that I can walk around my chosen destination with confidence. I’m not the crop top type of girl and I only started wearing sleeveless tops about two years ago but hating your body whilst on holiday is one of the worst feelings ever so before my recent travels I worked hard to make sure I felt great bopping along the beach and skipping through the markets. But this year it’s a different story.
As much as I advocate loving yourself despite not looking as amazing as you wish you did, it’s not easy. It’s hard putting on swimwear when you can’t stand the sight of your rolls and it’s hard wearing shorts if you don’t like your thighs. You feel like the whole beach is staring at you and your cellulite and comparing you to the slim girl in the red bikini lying on the towel beside you. It’s difficult to completely enjoy yourself when your January vision of rock hard abs and Beyoncé thighs got lost on the way to July but I’m here to tell you that it is not impossible. This summer my arms are not as fantastic as they were last year and my abs are hiding but I fully intend to enjoy my summer and I want you to enjoy yours too. Here’s how:
- Realise that there is more to life than how you look
I have an entire post on this but the sooner that you accept the fact that your quality of life is not based on your hair texture or fashion sense, the sooner you can start getting the most out of life. Yes, I want to be healthy and to be able to run fast and climb trees but I also want to be able to have a great day without worrying about how great I look in photos or spending half of my day sucking my stomach. Your day is as fun as you make it and if you have fantastic friends like I do, they won’t care about how you look. Some of my best memories are on a camp site where my hair is barely combed and I may or may not have showered that morning. I know sometimes it feels like everyone is watching you and judging your hair/outfit/skin/figure but most of the time they’re actually not. Do you remember which shade of lipstick each girl wore at the last event you attended? How about what shoes everyone wore? If you do, maybe you need to spend less time staring at everyone and more time laughing and enjoying yourself.
Real fun happens despite your appearance and it took me a while to learn this. There is so much more to life than your face and body; people are dying around the world and here we are crying in mirrors about our baby hairs. Once you put things into perspective you realise that your superficial worries are insignificant. Better yet, once you understand that God created you for a purpose and that He does not create anything less than beautiful and that your standard should be His opinion and not those of your twitter followers, you’ll be the confident woman you dreamed about.
2. Put the camera down
Yes, photos are great; looking back on how short your trousers were in year 6 and how much gel you used in year 9 is hilarious but I’ve found that nowadays many people are far too concerned with how an event will look on snapchat than how much they will enjoy it. I watched a Vlog the other day where a woman said, “I’m going to a concert so I need to learn the lyrics to the songs so that when I snapchat I won’t look silly.” Seriously? I’m all for a great instagram post but if your day is planned around finding good selfie lighting and photographing your burger until it gets cold then you need to calm down. I’ve been at dinners where everyone is sitting down barely talking but then as soon as someone pulls out a camera it’s smiles and poses galore. When these photos are uploaded onto Facebook it would appear that this was the birthday dinner of year; everyone looks glamorous, smiling in their Misguided dresses with their three course meals but behind the camera hardly anyone spoke and some people shared a main course.
If your main aim is to look good in the photos and videos then you might forget about actually enjoying yourself. Those heels might blow up instagram but they may also stop you from getting out of your seat and mingling. That lipstick may be popping but did anyone in the room actually learn your name? My point is, don’t let the perfect selfie be your only goal. Put the camera down for an hour and try to enjoy the moment. Eat, talk, laugh, meet new people and have fun!
3. Dress Well
Now, I know I’ve just spoken about looking good not being the most important thing but when you’re not feeling your best I believe you should do all you can to boost your confidence. I’ve touched on this topic in a previous post but when you’re feeling down about your body it is a great idea to wear clothes that you feel amazing in. Clothes that suit your body well and most importantly are comfortable. Spending the evening pulling your skirt down or rearranging the tassels on your blouse can ruin your fun. Shop for key pieces that you can walk confidently in; do not choose outfits that emphasise the body parts you are most conscious about or that you can’t easily move around in. Dress in clothes that make you smile when you catch yourself in the reflection of the shop window and that you won’t be afraid of walking across the office in without wearing a coat.
Note that I’m not saying that you should dress well to impress anyone else but that your clothes should encourage you to feel confident and beautiful rather than make you feel unhappy and self-conscious. We all love a compliment but we should not dress for compliments; if you can’t appreciate your self at home before you leave the house or upload a selfie then why should anyone else appreciate you? Better yet, true confidence begins at home when you have just woken up with unbrushed hair and you are wearing that pyjama top that is too small but you just can’t bear to throw away. True confidence is nothing to do with clothes or make up or even perfect natural skin; it is about loving yourself no matter what.
4. Step away from social media
I’ve spoken about comparing yourself to others before but it is necessary to speak about it again. What you see online is not real! Anyone can take an amazing photo and upload it to Snapchat but it does not mean that their reality is anything like that. We tend to compare our bodies with girls that we see on Instagram and dream of looking just like them but firstly, you can never really look just like anyone else and secondly nowadays there are so many editing apps and filters that we just can’t trust anything. I know of a woman who made her life seem great online; constantly posting videos and pictures and even pretended she had a boyfriend, but in reality she was sad, single and homeless. Anyone can put a wig and make up on and sing along to a song on Snapchat but what happens afterwards? Those that truly know her might laugh behind her back but to her followers and friends she has not seen for a while, life might look amazing and people may even be jealous. Now, we all have our struggles and nobody is perfect but most people do not post these struggles online. People can fake anything nowadays; their hair, complexion, living circumstances, relationships and more so do not believe everything that you see.
If you know that comparing yourself to other people, whether they be honest or not, is affecting your confidence and even your mental health, then you need to get rid of these social media accounts. This is the first step to realising that it is not healthy to base your beauty on someone else’s and to understand that there is not one type of beauty. Comparing yourself to other people is so dangerous; you can spend so long desiring to be like someone else that you forget how amazing you are. You forget that there are people who love you in real life and do not care how many ‘likes’ you have yet you spend hours focusing on what the online world thinks. I challenge you to do a social media fast, even for a week, and see what difference it makes.
So, I’m ready for my summer; I’ll be wearing clothes I love and spending time with people who love me for who I am. I may not look like the women you see on the runway but watch me walk like I’m supermodel of the year. I’ll be enjoying this summer just like I have enjoyed the past few summers and you may or may not see snapshots of it on social media. I hope you can do the same.