You’ve seen them everywhere; images of bikini clad, slender women, with smooth flawless skin, a flat tummy and thigh gaps. Sure, it’s all Photoshopped, and the reality is that no one is as perfect – everyone gets stretch marks, folks. However, these images still have the power to influence how women view their bodies.

A considerable amount of women (both young and old) suffer from conditions such as body dysmorphic and eating disorders. Even if they don’t suffer from disorders, they still have a great degree of negative self-image. Not only does this stop them from rocking bikinis on the beach, but it inhibits them from realising their potential in their work and personal lives. What’s more, the media’s portrayal of women does nothing to help.

Although this is the case, everybody – regardless of what the media and society say – is a beach body. And with summer around the corner, we thought we’d show how to love your body, whether it’s majestically voluptuous, petite or somewhere in the middle – curves and all.

Surround yourself with good people this summer

Our environment has much to do with whether we thrive or not. Good, supportive friends, for example, can give you a positive boost of confidence when you feel down and out about your body. At the time, it might not seem like much when someone hugs you and says you’re beautiful, but it goes a long way.

The same can’t be said about those who seem to always want to put you down or trivialise the perception you have of yourself. It’s never a good idea to be around people who always have something negative to say about your outfit or weight.

Don’t feel stupid for not loving yourself

The reality is that everyone regardless of how they’re widely seen as beautiful has regular points in their lives when they feel ugly. It’s life. What’s not life is how we beat ourselves up for feeling that way. Being hard on yourself is pointless; you just end up feeling worse than before. And being hard on yourself increases the chances of developing psychological disorders.

When you’re feeling unattractive, don’t berate yourself. Rather, find ways to channel that negative energy either through art, writing, music or just talking to people you care about. Never feel angry for feeling sorry for yourself. We all do.  Just remember to pick yourself up afterwards.

If your body works, then it can work that bikini

Are you breathing?

Yes.

Then you can work that bikini. As you were.

Look for beauty in the right places

Don’t think you’re beautiful? That’s because you’re looking for beauty in all the wrong places – it’s all in the curves. These 5 Instagram accounts will make you see the beauty all women possess, including you.

@healthyisthenewskinny

 

@theashleygraham

 

Celebrate #nationallingerieday!!! This bra is available NOW!!! Buy here - @additionelle @barenecessities @nordstrom #beautybeyondsize

A photo posted by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on

 

@alternativecurves

 

@winnieharlow

 

Thank you @mikhaelkale for the slit that leads to heaven 😏💋😂

A photo posted by ♔Winnie♔ (@winnieharlow) on

 

@proud2bmeus

 

5 Reasons Why “Unflattering” Clothes are a Myth (LINK IN BIO) #bodyimage #bodypositive #edwarrior

A photo posted by Proud2BmeUS (@proud2bmeus) on

 

Take lots of selfies

Selfies have gotten a bad rep in the past, as they’re often associated with people who are shallow or self-centred.  But to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with taking self-portraits. In fact, it takes a lot of confidence and courage to do so. The idea is to always take a few when you’re at your most happiest.

Don’t be afraid of acting silly, and always take one when you’re dressed like the sexy momma you are. These images serve as a reminder when you find yourself thinking negatively about your body. Plus, imagine growing old and wise, but not having any recollection of how beautiful you were when you were young.

Go out

No, we’re not talking about going out and partying all night long. We’re saying don’t stay cooped up indoors with your mind and its ability to push you down. Take walks or go on adventures such as road trips. Being active is not only so that you stay physically fit, but also mentally. As you expose yourself to various places and people, you gain more perspective about the world around you and your place in it.

Lastly…

Wear what you want. It’s your choice and no one can tell you different. Don’t worry if that crop top shows your stretchmarks or love handles. Don’t overthink it when your thighs fill in your jeans. Keep walking when your shoes betray you and let you slip. Give yellow a try. And instead of bodysuit, try a bikini for once – your body deserves it.