If you’re a woman who grew up in the U.S. (or anywhere), there is a pretty dang good chance you’ve experienced negative feelings about your body — especially in a swimsuit. So much of the media we come across, from magazines to movies to fitness blogs and Instagram accounts, tells us that only one type of body is ideal, or even acceptable. That’s why so many of us feel self-conscious at the beach, or believe we need to drop a few pounds for “bikini season.”
One woman took to Instagram to combat these ideas with a powerful message about self-love.
Rachel Spencer, who describes herself as a Confidence and Success Coach, posted a photo of her 13-year-old self side-by-side with her present-day self. In her throwback photo, her teen self is covering her torsos with her arms. In her current photo, she stands smiling and proud, labeling herself in that photo as a “self-love queen.”
Spencer urges us to remember that our bodies do NOT need to change to be “swimsuit ready.” All we need is self-love and self-confidence.
“Who taught the young girl on the left to hide her tummy before taking pictures in a swimsuit? Who taught her that at only 13 years old, her chubby little body was unworthy of a photographic memory?” she writes. “I have a message for all the women who STILL feel ashamed to show their tummy at the pool: Don’t be,” she writes. “Put on that bikini and smile. Don’t feel the need to let other people’s opinions ruin precious memories with your friends and family. No shame. Your imperfections tell a story. Your body is beautiful. You are BEAUTIFUL.”
So go on and get swimming! If your body is at the beach, you have a beach body.