For Filipinos, hitting the beach is the best way to sweat off the summer heat, not to mention that rainy days are fast approaching. That includes, of course, showing off our cute swimwear. Some even go through rigorous diets and exercises to achieve their dream beach body.
Sometimes, hindrances are inevitable when people try to enjoy the beach — part of it can be their self-esteem.
According to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration, self-esteem is directly linked to body image. In other words, the way people see their bodies affects their confidence.
While the beach may be a hot spot to flex some cool bikinis, it may also be a place that others are sensitive to.
If you are part of those others, trust that you are not alone. Body image experts have devised general ways that can help you regain that confidence at the beach:
1. Speak to yourself kindly
The best way to start growing a body-positive environment is to create that environment within your own space first. Note that this is a process, and it cannot be achieved in one snap.
The first step to speaking to yourself kindly is to actually want that internal kindness for yourself. If it helps, try to speak to yourself like you would to other people; try to understand when you make mistakes, highlight your good points, and stop comparing your body with others!
If you talk to yourself kindly, it will eventually shape how you deal with yourself. So be patient! If results do not appear immediately, do not ever think of it as a failure; instead, take it as a part of the process.
2. Compliment others
Whether you successfully tried the first step or not, try seeing others’ good points. It helps not only see others’ positive attributes — it also helps you see good things about yourself.
According to a study on body image, compliments — whether received from others or given by oneself — help with the ability to cope with threats to how someone sees themselves.
If you condition yourself to see other people’s good points and express them, there will be more chances that you also see the good in yourself.
3. Positive affirmations
Whenever you can, create a list of what your body lets you do and focus on the things you like about yourself — whether it be your skills in dancing, working out, or something as simple as reaching far objects or typing fast at your keyboard.
Remember that anything counts, and do not separate what you think is trivial from not. Own anything that you like.
Wellbeing professionals also recommend that people write out sticky notes of encouragement daily. It can be your self-love mantras or body-positive quotes you live by. Write anything that takes you back to reality — that you are beautiful on your own.
In a sense, this is a practice of positive psychology where one is reminded of their body’s purpose.
The goal here is to keep reminding yourself of what your body truly is versus what your mind tells you about your body. This keeps the mind grounded and away from negative thoughts.
4. Define your social media content
Your social media should be curated in ways that help you become more confident, not the opposite. Decide what type of content you should read and look at.
You can also try to observe how social media algorithms work and once you understand it, try to alter it in ways that the content and advertisements shown are body-positive.
While some types of content may be inevitably seen, it is important to remind yourself that anything from the media is professional work. This means that many of the images or videos you see have been edited by professionals — and you don’t have to look that way.
5. Surround yourself with positive people
Several studies show that your social environment is mutually interdependent with your self-esteem. One of the best ways to find good people is to look for those that help you become healthy, not just skinny.
Positive people are those that encourage you to become your best self. They are the people that do not compare your body with others’ and they are the ones that validate your good points.
You can find these people among your friends, schoolmates, family members—anywhere. As long as they influence you to be more confident, then they are surely deserving of being part of your life.
While confidence is a long process, regular efforts surely count. Patience is key and, in the long run, it will be worthwhile.
For now, the best thing one can offer is to remind people that they are beautiful in their own ways. So, if you are reading this, know that you are beautiful and you deserve to be your best self this summer!