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When putting on a swimsuit makes you crazy insecure

    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.

    74 thoughts on “When putting on a swimsuit makes you crazy insecure”

    1. Wow. For someone who looks as stunning as that to feel insecure – like – at ALL… that’s changed my whole perspective on how easy I should feel.

      From now on, the only ‘swimsuit’ I wear is going to be a full blown business suit – tie and polished shoes included

    2. HI Emily,

      Thank you so much for this post! In a couple weeks I am going on a big family vacation/reunion at a beautiful lake house. I had given up on swimwear due to a recent weight gain and major insecurities but reading your post I realized I didn’t want to miss out on the fun with my son and the rest of my family! So I just went to the store where I happily found a nice suit complete with a cute little swim skirt that hides all of the parts that make me the most uncomfortable. And I am going to embrace being pale because some of us are just made that way! Thank you for the inspiration! You are awesome!!

    3. Thank you for these encouraging and kind words! This summer I decided to not be ashamed, insecure, or embarrassed by my body in a swim suit. I decided it is better for my daughters (8 and 5 years old) to see a confident mama who is comfortable in her skin. If i want them to be secure in themselves I better be a genuine model of that attitude.

    4. My first thought was, “Wow, that’s bold!” I am 48 and put on a bathing suit for the first time in yeeeaaarrs last summer and lived to tell. I even walked around the pool like I wasn’t half bad!! Need to do that again this summer. Thx for the inspiration.


    5. I fully support the spirit of “comfortable in your skin”, & the gratitude for the marks of life-bearing. However, I am uncomfortable with the baring of so much skin.
      I think of my body as a cultivated garden, parts of which are exposed (hands, forearms, feet, face are like treetops, hedges, & gates). Other parts are not (shoulders, chest, abdomen, hips, legs are like the flowers, fountains, secret paths, etc). My clothing is the “wall” around my garden, & I give my huband exclusive access to those hidden parts. (SIDE NOTE: Why do women say “I’m dressing this way for my husband/kids” but proceed to walk in front of the whole world? If it’s really for them, then keep it JUST FOR THEM!) :-)
      I agree with the commenter who said modesty is an attitude of the heart; but out of that heart will grow the fruit. So a modest heart will bear modest dress, modest actions. Can any fruit have a different seed within? “No, really- I know I have cherry pits (modest HEART) but I’m an apple (immodest ACTIONS)!” We all see how ridiculous this is.
      Sorry to ramble, but food for thought.

    6. Emily, THANK YOU. I’m about to put on a bathing suit & go out in public this weekend. I have 3 beautiful boys, 9,7 & 3 and although I am proud of this and what my body, mind & heart have been through since childbirth, like you said – it’s tricky to forget about all that & let your light shine. I will make myself remember that at 41, I am probably as fit as I’ll ever be, and in 10 years, I’ll give anything to have this body :-) Enjoy the rest of your road trip, thanks for bringing us along for the ride! PS – you are beautiful in your swimsuit….ROCK IT, sister!!!!

    7. Perfectly timed. I kept a nice figure for a long time, even after having kids. But the past couple of years have been tough for our family and my fitness was the first thing to go. I’ve never been in worse shape and have been feeling real anxiety about an upcoming beach vacation next week. I’m going to try to keep this post in my mind an have a good time with my kids and husband on a beautiful beach. God bless you, Emily. :)

    8. Thank you for being brave, honest and real !! These last many summers bikini wearing has been a struggle for me. Four kids later I am not always happy with how I look. But you are so right, so I will embrace my bikini now and be kind to myself. Embrace the battle scars :) After all if not for them I would not be surrounded by these four crazy kids that keep me laughing :) You are one beautiful lady :)

    9. You touched me deep inside. You are so inspiring! I would like to thank you because you give me wings. This summer, when I will be at the beach I will think about you and how I should be grateful for the healthy body I have.

      God bless you!

    10. Hello Emily
      If I had your line I will ask as many questions spas ! But I’m around, I brought 3 children but every time it’s me who is gaining weight , not them !! I can understand that you have complex and I think we’ve all! But with your line you even put me more complex , I am large, “big” ! But I ‘ve never been afraid to go on the beach because I like too much water and I like to swim and swim !
      I should do something for my forms and my weight but each time I do not want the time and I magnified more …! That said I have more or less accepted my coprs because I too want to live and enjoy life!
      With the attacks in Paris (I’m French and I live in France) I had a revelation, I must live because I can! The dead people in the attacks can not live and it was people like me, you, us …! So for them I accept to live, to enjoy life, to rejoice in my excess weight and folds on my body! Stop complex that hurt us and pollent existence! Beautiful late afternoon and bon voyage!
      I even decided to celebrate this weekend on the theme of July 4th! On my blog,
      you can see an article about the American holiday that I organized for our 14 year old daughter.

    11. You are beautiful just as you are! Your post is a wonderful reminder that we all need to be less judgmental of each other. I’m glad that you felt compelled to take the picture and post it for all of us. None of us are perfect but as long as we are authentic and genuine with ourselves and each other I’d like to think that we’d all make the world a little bit better of a place to be. It was really encouraging to read all the positive responses on Instagram and here… maybe we are getting there!

    12. You look great in a swimsuit. I hope you are enjoying the beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Of course I am prejudice living in the area. :)

    13. As a grandma of 4, I had to put all of my insecurities behind me and go for it. If I want to enjoy my grandkids at the pool I must wear a bathing suit. Once I’m in the water, all the insecurities are gone while I listen to the laughter and giggles. Go for it!

    14. You are very beautiful and you are so right that we need to love our bodies that do so much for us no matter how they are shaped!!

    15. Dear Emily,

      Firstly you look just beautiful, I love the halter ruffle and tiny waist sash, all very elegant and ballerinaish (I just made up that word:)

      Secondly, I think you are all very brave going into the water, as I have not gone into the water at the beach since I was a little girl and saw Jaws (I only walk the sand look at the rock pools etc). As a Botanist and Botanical Artist I have to collect sea grasses, corals, etc…for drawings so it is hideously scary for me. Anyway…this is about you and your little ones.

      Thirdly, God answered your prayer as He always does, because just reading your words you were more proud to be a part of your family life than scared to wear a swimsuit. We are all proud of you too.

      Well done!

      With kindest regards,


    16. For starters you are gorgeous! Cute suit!

      And I think it’s inspiring when a mom lets her selflessness shine through but putting aside any internal insecurities to play and make memories with her precious children. Be blessed!
      You are God’s handiwork!!!
      Thank you for sharing.

    17. For starters: You are gorgeous I wish I looked that great! What a cute blue suit!

      Emily, it’s inspiring to see the selflessness shine through when a momma puts her insecurities aside to truly enjoy the gift of time and memory making with her kiddos. Be blessed!!! And thank you!

      1. Thanks! The suit is from Anthropologie a few years ago. It doesn’t have a tag with a brand name (just one with a mermaid holding a starfish). Maybe that helps?!

    18. Thank you. I used to be dangerously controlling over what I ate, and only felt comfortable when I was i under a certain weight/fit into a certain size. Since I’ve had kids this has mostly gone away, but I still spend way more time than I should thinking about what I weigh, what I look like, that I’m not toned enough, when the truth is I’m fine. I know this, my kids love me, my husband thinks I’m hot, who am I worrying for?!!! I’m wasting so much time and I’ve decided to stop. I’ve been trying to remind myself that when I’m on my deathbed I doubt I’ll be thinking “man I really wish I’d been 7lbs lighter after the kids”! No, I’ll be thinking “I wish I’d allowed myself that Icecream cone when we were at the beach, or I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time WORRYING about something so meaningless”!! I hope I can do this. Again, thank you for sharing.

    19. You sweet, beautiful, brave woman – – you just made my day! Your message is one the world desperately needs!! I have four boys and I pray, oh I pray, they grow to respect and honor women in all shapes and forms. My own stomach is riddled with c-section scarring and stretch marks from a risky pregnancy where I had triple the normal amount of amniotic fluid. Needless to say, my abdomen resembles ground beef more than skin these days. I’ll never forget the sight of that very first stretch mark and the feelings of anguish that followed as hundreds more appeared day by day. It’s been thirteen years now and I’ve come a long way in embracing this child-bearing body. I’ve made sure my boys know they are worth every last mark, and I like to remind them, “This is what a truly beautiful stomach is supposed to look like!” God bless you, Emily—and your family, and your journey, and your sassy blue swimsuit. :)

    20. Sometimes it’s an event that happened in childhood that hinders the adult’s ability to trust and be kind to others. Two young women from Orange County (Calif) have decided to bring this awareness all the way down to middle school, where bullying often starts. Social media has made it impossible to hide and the repercussions have ranged from chronic low self-esteem to suicide among young women. Teach your daughters (and sons, too) to be kind now. I heard these women speak at my daughter’s middle school, and viewed the documentary, it’s very moving. Talk to your teens about how to handle themselves, too. Read more about the Kind Campaign here:

    21. This world is overwhelming with the “what we should look like” and not enough of “this is real life and this is what real life looks like”

      Love this post!

      You go girl!

    22. I get your point, but it’s kind of hard to listen to your message when you look like you’re a size 6 maybe? I understand each person has his or her own insecurities whatever size they may be, but someone reading your post who truly has a weight issue (which you obviously do not) doesn’t feel any better about themselves or their body after reading the post. To me, the post says, “I’m so fat, but look, I can wear a bathing suit and show the world.” Not buying it. Sorry.

    23. I love this! Insecurities can start SO young. AS a 23 year-old woman, I struggle even now wearing a swimsuit out on the beach. Even though I am healthy and happy in life, it can be so easy to suddenly worry, even though I’m surrounded with tons of other women in bathing suits, that I look horrible and shouldn’t be letting myself have fun in a swimsuit. It’s so amazing to dig deep into those thoughts and think “I would NEVER say that to my friends, boyfriend, or future children!” Why is it SO easy for us to say these horrible things to ourselves?!

    24. Jessica Turner @ The Mom Creative

      Girl, you are beautiful, strong and wise. Thank you for sharing this photo, your prayer and your heart. Your vulnerability inspires.

      And thanks for linking to my swimsuit post. Yes to mamas rocking their suits and getting in the water! :)

      Peace to you today. xo

    25. I agree, Emily! It’s especially important to show our daughters that while we are imperfect, our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. That said, we have a rule in our household (which includes teens) to not post swimsuit photos online because it could be a stumbling block to someone else or a regret later and never goes away, even when deleted. I think your photo is lovely and tasteful, just some food for thought!

    26. Gosto muito das suas publicações!! Muito bom essa geografia de paredes invisíveis.
      Seus textos são verdadeiras poesias.

    27. This was a perfect thing for me to read today! Thank you for giving me the courage to put on a swimsuit for my granddaughter’s 7th birthday pool celebration! The last time I wore a swimsuit was for her 1st birthday party. I’m 71, have had breast cancer and not so pretty breast and abdominal scars from the reconstruction, so I have some issues here. But, I am proud that I have beaten cancer and am around to enjoy these times with my granddaughter. And because of your post, I am definitely going to be in the pool with her to celebrate! Thanks, Emily!

    28. Gorgeous! Thank you for this post. I’ve been dieting like crazy getting ready for our vacation. I just need to be thankful for this body I have. What a blessing this is to me today! And I love your swimsuit!

    29. Thank you !!! I am a 63 year old grandmother of two very precious grandsons. We are on our yearly vacation to Seaside,Oregon, a very charming little town on the Pacific Ocean.

      we started this tradition of coming to Seaside when my first grandson was not quite two.
      We look forward to our trip every year. Jackson now has a younger brother Sam, so this year I decided I WAS NOT going to allow The image of my 63 year old body keep me out of the pool and jumping the waves at the beach with these two little fellas who are my pride and joy and deny myself the fun and memories be lost because Gravity has taken its toll!!!!!!! Thank you so much for addressing this issue!! I felt so liberated and free and the memories I have made with my little grandsons are priceless!!

    30. I love this so much. Especially in the throes of early pregnancy when pregnant looks more like a very large lunch – which is where I find myself today. I’m in awe of the miracle of my body, and yet I never let an opportunity pass without saying something disparaging about myself. I’m joining you in your prayer today – and vow to head to the pool with my boys as often as possible this summer.

    31. Love this! It’s so good to have a reminder, not only to be less critical of ourselves, but of others, as well. I certainly don’t want any of my grandchildren to grow up worrying about what their already perfect little bodies look like!

    32. Your prayer spoke volumes to me. I went on vacation shortly after seeing your original post while only a few weeks postpartum. At the time my body felt strange and my unsecurities were at their highest. But your thoughts made me realize that my feelings were vain and unappreciative of the healthy body God has given me, and by sitting on the sidelines I would only miss out on wonderful memories. So I put on my swimsuit, enjoyed my time with my family and my new baby, and I pray when those feelings creep back in my mind I will remember your prayer again. Thank you.

    33. I love this post! I also love that we lift each other up as women instead of tearing others down! Keep Rocking Emily. This blog makes my day!

      PS. You are living my dream road trip right now, and the airstream is icing on the cake.

    34. Emily, I have a blog called Healthy Beauty Junkie

      In the next 4 weeks I would like to publish your post about swim suit insecurity and give full author credit with link to your website. May I do that?

      I have been a Jones Design Company sign up for about 5 years and truly enjoy your writing, inspiration and designs. Sincerely, Diane Weber 314-403-2129

    35. Yes!!!
      thanks for that reminder! it’s going to be 108F in LV today and we HAVE to go to the pool! I just threw my worries out the window with this push of encouragment: thank you!!!
      YOU look great in that color and i LOVE that plunging neckline!
      you’re so fun!!!

    36. As another “older” reader (I have grandchildren also) I can only emphasize that time is precious and fleeting. To deny ourselves and those we love of our joy and gifts because we are worried about what we look like becomes less and less of a priority. This story starts first in your own head and heart. Write your story the way you want it to read. Isn’t that the advice you would give any of your children? Your heart is in the right place – you just have to convince your brain to follow!

    37. That prayer was such a good reminder to be thankful and kind to ourselves! Lord willing, I hope to remember the encouragement in this post. And one of my babies was over 9 lbs, too!
      I also think you look very graceful, seriously.

    38. You look great! I’m battling with my weight but I still put on a bathing suit and enjoy my time at the beach or pool. I also breastfed in public as that’s a natural normal thing and what our breasts were designed for! I do my best to never be ashamed of my body no matter what I wish I could change.

    39. I love your post! I agree with the freeing feeling you get by just accepting. Say it out loud and be proud of you. Being free will make you proud. It will make you feel as a weight has lifted off and you will already feel better!
      Thank you for your post today. I like your thinking!

    40. What was the problem .I would give almost anything to be even close to having your figure. I gained 60 unflattering pounds after my second back surgery. I hate my body now . I am in to much pain to exercise much. We put up a small pop up type pool and I get in with the kids, they don’t care what I look like as long as I’m with them.

    41. Insecurities aside, you can be modest & wear a rash guard top & shorts. You won’t be embarrassed or insecure, no sunburns, no worries.

      1. Or she can be equally modest and wear a one-piece, tankini, bikini, full wet suit, or shirt and shorts.

        Since being modest is an attitude of the heart (humble and not PURPOSEFULLY drawing attention to oneself in any way that is possible…e.g. Wearing a rolex could be immodest…or not. Having a fancy house or car could be immodest…or not..depending on intention, which is only known by the individual and not by onlookers) and not an amount of skin covered…she is showing in this post that she IS modest, regardless of what swimsuit she wears.

        Thanks Emily for your beautiful post and picture. (The Gulf Coast of Florida is my home, so I am glad you enjoyed it there!!)

    42. “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?”

      This brought tears to my eyes and couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Just a few days ago, while trying to encourage me to be confident in my own skin, my husband asked me “why are women so hard on each other?”. I didn’t have an answer for that, but I know it’s something I want to change within myself.
      Thank you Emily, for the gentle reminder.

    43. i have one friend my age,61,who is my role model on this very issue.She is so at ease in her own skin and at peace with her 40 extra pounds,fat stomach,ripply skin and varicose veins.Her life is good,she is happy and she is nonjudgmental,particularly of other women.She has made me reconsider my own body image and thank God,again and again,that I am blessed with my health,my family,and my friends,regardless of how I look.Thank you for this post.

    44. You look wonderful! I went to the beach a couple of weeks ago and sported a new one piece swimsuit that looked like I stuffed a big sausage into a peanut shell. LOL But I wore it and had fun fighting the waves with my grandchildren laughing until our stomachs hurt. I’m 53 years old and far from having a beach body. But I think when you get older you just get where you don’t care anymore what others think. I was at a beach in a state far from my home around people I’d never see again in my life. My grand-kids and children don’t care what I look like in a swimsuit, so why should I? Embrace yourself, I say. Be one else can do it better!

    45. Wholeheartedly agree! Thank you for voicing these insecurities.
      A whole time I was reading this post I was thinking of the song by Andrew Peterson – Be Kind to Yourself .

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