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3 tools to demolish summer body shame

We all remember the days of making sand castles on the beach, playing games outside in the backyard with friends, and running through sprinklers without a care in the world because it’s summer. The time to get out in shorts or a bathing suit and play for three months straight.

Well, for me it was never really like that. At the age of 10, I was diagnosed with a severe case of a skin condition called psoriasis. So instead of feeling excited that this time of skin-baring and play had arrived, I felt frustrated and more uncomfortable than ever. The last thing I wanted to do was wear short sleeves, let alone any kind of swimwear. I was a tough kid, but over time this really took a toll on my confidence. And every year around April when it started to warm up, I would find myself getting depressed, nervous and feeling more and more isolated.

Have you ever feel like that?

Whether you had a hard time making friends as a kid, struggled with your weight or had other personal issues that made you feel alone, we all know what it’s like to have low self-esteem. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized that it was possible to feel comfortable with myself no matter what my body looked like. I could love myself for exactly who I am, flaws and all. So as I took better care of myself, I was able to develop so much compassion and love from the inside out. As a result, I have never felt happier.

Image: Paul F Photography

If you want to get started on your own self-love journey and boost your confidence this summer, don’t worry — I’ve got your back. Here are my top three ways to start feeling beautiful from the inside out, ASAP.

1. Surround yourself with positive people

There’s nothing worse than being surrounded by girlfriends who are constantly complaining, comparing themselves to others or practicing habits that don’t make you feel healthy. What you need is to hang out with friends who embrace their true selves and their bodies so that you can do the same. Consider this your body confidence cocoon.

2. Find a bathing suit that isn’t about fitting in, but about feeling great

So many of us would love to confidently wear a string bikini to the beach. But let’s be honest: Who is actually comfortable showing that much skin? If wearing something revealing doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. There are so many beautiful one-piece suits out there, so pick one that makes you feel beautiful. Simple as that. I’ve also made sure to find some really stylish cover-ups that I choose to wear because I love how they look, not because I have to hide my body.

3. Focus on something you love about yourself

I know it may feel unnatural to do this, but I want to share an exercise with you that has gotten me through some of the most nerve-racking moments in my life. Whenever I’m about to go somewhere that will increase my anxiety and make me feel less sure of myself, I always take a few moments to close my eyes for at least 30 seconds, put my hands over my heart, take three deep breaths, and think about one thing that I love about myself. Sometimes it’s as simple as “I love my hair” or “I love my apartment” or “I love my best friends.” While my eyes are closed, I meditate on this one thing for a few moments until I feel gratitude in my heart. Try it yourself, and when you open your eyes, you will radiate with a sense of calm that allows you to move into any situation with more confidence.

I know summer can bring up a lot of fear and discomfort when our bodies are concerned, but hopefully now you know you’re not alone and feel equipped with at least three more tools in your toolbox to go through this season with more confidence.

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration.

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