It’s happening—again. Swimsuit season is here. Our favorite stores have been overtaken by spandex, and it seems everyone is talking about scoring a bikini-ready body. It’s hard not to fall victim to the hype and mind-numbing stress that can come with worrying about what we wear and how we look in the less-clothed months of the summer. Instead of falling prey to the season of self-criticism, I am going to look (and be!) fabulous in my swimsuit this year. Before I reveal my secret, let me remind you that beauty is truly found in the eye of the beholder. It is completely subjective… to you and to others.
Consider, for instance, Dove’s new beauty campaign, Real Beauty Sketches, which asserts that only 4 percent of women around the world think they are beautiful! I think we can all agree that more than 4 percent of women out there are beautiful. Problem is, far too few of us think we are one of those beautiful women! For Dove’s social experiment, women described themselves to an FBI-trained sketch artist who then drew portraits based on their self-descriptions. Then, the artist sketched the same women, this time based on someone else’s description of the person. The differences are staggering and show just how differently we see ourselves than the rest of the world does. Contrary to conventional opinion, the world doesn’t judge us near as harshly as we judge ourselves! Aside from that, if we deem ourselves as beautiful, then we are exactly that!
If we drop our gaze below the neck, our perceptions are even more varied. Just look at this vintage weight gain advertisement! Two beautiful women, dressed in matching bathing suits, and the curvy figure is the one to aspire to. The ad is actually selling a weight-gain supplement to the skinny girl who looks a lot like today’s prepubescent models.
We can all probably agree that everyone has a different opinion as to what is beautiful—and where exactly each of us falls on the pendulum. That said, how can we possibly be beautiful all of the time, no matter who is looking at us, and especially in a swimsuit? I’ll tell you the answer: by being confident with ourselves! The ability to love ourselves as we are is without a doubt the most attractive quality around. It’s magnetic. Everyone is drawn to self-confidence, to people who are comfortable in their own skin and live life like they own it.
Self-confidence is the key to enjoying life, and not letting anything hold us back. No matter our points of criticism, negative self-talk holds us back and squelches our self-empowerment. It might seem insignificant at the time, but covering up with a beach towel while your family hits the waves just deprives yourself of joy. You miss out on experiences, on memories, on the moments that shape who you are. Don’t miss any part of life because you think you aren’t beautiful!
As women in the prime of perimenopause and menopause, we have experienced so much and learned even more about ourselves. Let’s show the next generation how to love themselves and always know they are beautiful inside and out. The most impactful way to teach is, for sure, by example. This summer, when you would normally yield to negative self-talk, realize your self-truth and know you are beautiful!
Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!