On a hot evening last July I asked my friend to join me for a quick dip in a local swimming hole. It was one of those hot and hazy days where the air is stale and you feel slimy even after you’ve just come out of the shower.
(The Challenge of) Feeling Good in a Bathing Suit
“No thanks,” she replied. “I just can’t be seen in public in a bathing suit.” I shrugged my shoulders and drove off. My need to cool down and receive a good night’s sleep over-ruled my fear of what I looked like.
I parked my car on Red Bridge Road and walked down the little path to the water. The location is a river with a small dam that flows underneath a bridge. There was one other car there: two women and a small child who didn’t even notice me, as they were so engrossed in their own conversation.
The water only went up to my ankles, but it was cold and refreshing and my sore feet began feeling rejuvenated and cared-for.
There is a little rope swing under the bridge and I sat on it, contemplating the surroundings, with my legs dangling in the fresh Vermont water.
The sun was beginning to set, changing the sky from blue to almost purple. The majestic mountain range framed the river as the sky reflected on the water. It was one of those moments where you know that there is a deeper purpose to life. Where you take a deep breath, filling yourself with the magnificence of it all, hoping you will remember this moment forever.
Choosing Fear Over Self-Care
I began to feel sad that my friend wasn’t here to enjoy this.
She let her fears of being judged by her appearance over-rule this experience of splendor.
I used this opportunity to reflect on how often I personally avoid or become anxious about social situations out of fear of being judged on how I look. (Like the time I was invited to a barbeque which included my boyfriend’s 19-year-old daughter and her friends running around in tiny bikinis…)
So, my thoughts transitioned to ways we can all look and feel good in a bathing suit.
How To Look Great in a Bathing Suit
1. Find a bathing suit that flatters your body.
Try on lots of suits, and either bring a friend whose opinion you can completely trust or take a photo of yourself in the mirror and find a suit that feels best for you.
2. Focus on fun and be present in the moment.
Take a look at your environment, be present with the company you are with, and enjoy nature.
3. Find gratitude for your assets that you can appreciate.
If you find yourself beginning to self-criticize, focus on being grateful instead, like having strong legs, or the smoothness of your skin, unique color of your eyes, nicely shaped toes, etc.
I welcome you to find the strength and courage to put the bathing suit on, appreciating who you truly are, to enjoy life, nature, and experience all the beauty that life has to offer.