I’d like to propose a bikini body challenge.
No, not the 30-day ab challenge we’ve all seen on Pinterest. This challenge is for your beautiful mind.
Think back to the youngest age you can remember — back to the first time you flaunted your wonderfully made body in an adorable little bathing suit. The first time your parents took you to the beach or the pool. Maybe it was swim lessons, a weekend at the lake, or running through the sprinklers in the yard. Wherever you were, whoever you were with, I’m willing to bet one thing — you were full of joy.
When did this change? When did the *switch* flip? How did putting on our favorite swim suit go from something that promised the carefree summertime memories, to something that brings feelings of stress, anxiety, + even dread?
We start to question our beauty, capability, + our worth when we start to size ourselves up to others. We see so many magazine photos + advertisements showing us a very particular mold of the shape we *should be* before we dare step into the sunshine + show some skin. [Special shoutout to our friends at Aerie for breaking this trend + showing us real examples of beauty.] We follow fitness accounts on Instagram that fill our feed with chiseled stomachs + perfect tans, + we tell ourselves that these are our *#goals* — that until we get *there*, we have no business rockin’ a bikini.
COMPARISON IS TRULY THE THIEF OF JOY.
Here’s the wonderful thing: we can control how we feel about ourselves. Seriously. It’s possible. But we have to make some changes first– none of which involve counting calories or adding cardio.
Let’s change the conversations we have with ourselves. Instead of looking in the mirror + tearing ourselves down, let’s build ourselves up. Start a list right now on your mirror. Challenge yourself to write one thing each day that you love about yourself. Watch this list grow + continue to remind yourself of how wonderful you are. Body, mind, + soul.
Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a friend. Would you ever comment on someone’s insta + say — “your stomach’s not flat enough to be in a bikini” or “your thighs are touching, you should really cover those up”? Of course not. If you wouldn’t put that negativity on someone else, you definitely should not be putting it on yourself.
Let’s start to recognize + express gratitude for all our bodies can do. They’re pretty freakin’ amazing when you think about it. Think about all the miles your legs have carried you through — runs, walks, hikes, + everything in between. How many incredible things have you seen thanks to your legs ability to carry you?
Think of all the times you’ve laughed so hard your stomach ached or hugged the ones you love with a strong embrace. Our bodies allow us to feel and experience so many wonderful moments — moments that make us feel alive, + that become much more meaningful when we stop to appreciate them, rather than being wrapped up in how to look the thinnest in that beach photo or who’s going to notice the cellulite on our butts.
Another truth bomb: I’m talking about *bikini bodies* but I’m really talking about so much more. What else are we telling ourselves we can’t do for whatever reason? What have we told ourselves we are *too young*, *too big*, or *too shy* to do?
YOU ARE CONFINED ONLY BY THE WALLS YOU BUILD FOR YOURSELF.
There is so much more to life than our insecurities + so much beyond the walls we create in our minds. Maybe you’ve built yourself a wall in your self-esteem, or in the gym, a relationship, or in your education. Wherever it is, think back to that joyful child on a summertime day. You knew no limits or bounds. Nothing was holding you back.
Let’s break down our walls + get back to that place. Put on that bikini. Say yes to the random date. Pick up the heavier weights. Take a class that seems *too hard* for you. Blow your OWN mind. I promise, you are capable of the most incredible things.
+Kelsey [@kels_dav], OSUCHAARG