I sat down, put my toes in the sand, and could hear the waves crash in front of me. My happy place truly is this place — the beach. There is something so peaceful about it. Yet to get to the beach, one must endure the ridicule of finding a swimsuit. You must endure the ridicule of trying on suits in the winter. And then, you actually have to wear it in public. Yet, as I sit at the beach, I look around and see women of all shapes and sizes. Each one wearing a swimsuit that they searched for and counted worthy of enduring the fitting room. Each one seemingly not stressed about what they look like wearing that swimsuit — even if the suit doesn’t fit just right. They swam, relaxed in a chair, and played on the beach — without care.
I don’t know about you, but how many years have we stressed about swimsuits? I can distinctly remember being 23 and thinking there is no way I will or want to stress about my body at 40. Well, friends, I am approaching 40 and I still stress about my body. Now, granted it’s not the same kind of stress I carried in my younger years but it’s still stress. It’s still a negative view.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can easily be convinced that what I look like is not who I am supposed to be — that there is always something more that I need to be or do. Do you ever feel like you just don’t make the cut? Swimsuits just have the pleasure of making that very obvious to ourselves.
Each of us are in different phases of life.
- Maybe you are newly married and worked hard to look a certain way for the wedding day.
- Maybe you are pregnant with your first and can’t believe how your body has changed.
- Maybe you are pregnant with your fourth and you really can’t believe how your body has changed.
- Maybe you have recently had a baby and feel like your body will never be the same again.
- Maybe you are recovering from a sickness and you barely recognize yourself.
- Maybe you are a woman whose body never quite recovered from an accident.
- Maybe you are older and watching your body change in new ways is shocking.
- Maybe you look in the mirror and hardly recognize the face staring back.
And even though we are all in different phases and look differently, we all carry insecurities no matter our age. However, no matter where we are in life, there is one thing I know is true. God wants you to love the you you are.
Swimsuit season has really challenged me to love who I am — exactly as I appear today.
I’ve learned that loving the you you are often starts with a shift in perspective. Sometimes I think that changing perspective begins with thanksgiving. I think you would agree with me. If you want to love your home, find reasons to be thankful for it. If you want to love your job, find reasons to be thankful for it. If you want to love your spouse, find reasons to be thankful for him. The same is true with who you are. If you want to love the you you are, then find reasons to be thankful for who you are.
- To the young newly married woman, thank God for your body that enables you to walk down the aisle.
- To the pregnant woman, thank God for a body that can grow babies.
- To the new mom, thank God for arms to hold that child.
- To the aging woman, thank God for your eyes that have seen years of faithfulness.
The reasons for thankfulness are endless. I know it may seem difficult especially when you’ve lived with a negative view for a long time. I want you to think of three reasons to be thankful for the you you are. And maybe you could commit for one week to write out, start your day with, three things to be thankful for about yourself.
- I’m thankful for a smile that makes my kids smile.
- I’m thankful for strong legs to carry me throughout the day.
- I’m thankful for a body that grew and delivered two healthy babies.
This may seem silly or childish or too simple but seeing yourself differently requires you to think differently. We need to change the voice in our head and drown out the negative one. So, go ahead. List three ways you’re grateful for the you you are.
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Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
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