I’m about to do something crazy. Something every woman (except maybe professional athletes and models) would rather pull out their eyelashes one by one than do …
Believe me, when I first shared this photo on instagram, I was a little freaked out. But I had a nudging feeling inside my heart and felt like this was one of those times when I needed to lay down my own pride to share a message I wholeheartedly believe in.
So here it goes …
This is what I shared on Instagram on the second day of our beach stay on the Florida Gulf Coast (a full post of our time there is coming!):
Hanging out on the beach wearing a swimsuit makes me crazy insecure. I could come up with a long list of things I wish looked different/better/tanner/flatter/firmer and that list circles round and round my head as summer approaches.
I woke yesterday morning with a new prayer in my heart.
Lord, would you help me be proud? Of this body that is healthy and strong and that delivered four sweet babies? And would you help me see other women as beautiful – not as better or worse than me – but just all beautiful in their own way?
And do you know what happened? We spent the day at the most gorgeous beach and my heart was calm. I played with the kids and swam in the ocean and lounged on a beach chair and chatted with other beach goers – all while wearing a swimsuit. Do I still wish I was tanner/flatter/firmer? Of course. But I won’t let those insecurities steal my joy this summer. Will you join me?!
You guys. The comments and kind words on that post blew me away.
I mean, I know you all are nice, but to feel this camaraderie, this support for each other, it is so refreshing. Women can be terribly competitive and unkind to each other and instead, there was compassion and agreement and many women who have made it their goal to not let insecurities steal their joy.
I’m not the first to post an imperfect picture of myself in a swimsuit; other brave moms have done it long before me. Jessica wrote a great post about choosing to put on a swimsuit and make memories with her kids. Rachel posted about being proud of her stretch-marked tummy and not letting the marks of age and carrying babies stop her from putting on a bikini. These women are right and beautiful and speak truth.
Yes! I want to engage with my kids and make memories by being part of the fun at the beach or the pool.
Yes! I am proud of what my body has accomplished in the amazing feat of growing and birthing four large babies (my second son was 9 lbs 2 oz!).
And on top of all of that, I choose to be kind to myself.
We can be so self-critical, can’t we? We say mean things to ourselves about our abilities, our past failures, our weaknesses and – especially at swimsuit season – our bodies.
My goal this summer is to ignore those critical thoughts. To take care of myself, of course, by choosing healthy food and an active lifestyle, but also growing in my confidence and self-acceptance.
So like I asked my instagram friends, I’ll ask you, too. Will you join me in learning to be kind to ourselves? In celebrating others and not letting swimsuit-season-insecurity steal our joy this summer?
There is such freedom when we let go of those self-critical thoughts and just enjoy life. Let’s be kind to ourselves.
And rock that swimsuit all summer long.