You find yourself struggling as the sun sits high in the sky, begging you to bask in its warmth. The hot sand and cool waves allure you, calling you to relish in their beauty. Instead, you find yourself standing in front of the mirror, criticizing your body, mentally discarding every swimsuit you own, wondering if you will ever be able to obtain the “beach body” that graces every magazine cover.
But, even as you struggle with your self-perception, you must remember that you are worthy of far more than the way your bikini caresses your skin.
You are worthy of sustenance and nurturing. You are worthy of feeling full and whole instead of attempting to whittle down your body through constant self-starvation. You are worthy of viewing your favorite foods as life-sustaining and savoring them out of pure love, not out of a desire to “indulge.” You are worthy of never regretting a single bite you eat.
You are worthy of feeling energized. You are worthy of escaping the endless cycle of exercise that only depletes you, exhausting you and making you question if you will ever be fit enough. You are worthy of refraining from chastising yourself, if you chose to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin over feeling your thighs burning from excessive exercise.
You are worthy of removing the artifice of diet culture from your life. You are worthy of throwing out the magazines that attempt to convince you that you are not enough as you are, that you have to change for the world to see your beauty. You are worthy of scrolling past articles that tie worth and happiness to weight. You are worthy of throwing out the scale that taunts you with feelings of inadequacy. You are worthy of ending the self-imposed torture of staring at carefully curated photos of unattainable bodies. You are worthy of rejecting the notion that your weight dictates your worth.
You are worthy of surrounding yourself with women who do not speak negatively of anyone’s bodies, including their own. You are worthy of surrounding yourself with those who provide you with support, care, and unconditional love for your appearance. You are worthy of feeling uplifted by those in your company instead of constantly feeling that your body will never be enough. You are worthy of leaning on others for support instead of relentlessly comparing yourself to them and always feeling as though you fall short.
You are worthy of knowing that you are worth far more than your body. You are worthy of recognizing your intelligence, your kindness, and your empathy. You are worthy of extending yourself the same grace you routinely show others. You are worthy of discovering that your attitude will take you further in life than your body ever could.
You are worthy of spending a relaxing day at the beach, feeling radiant as you absorb the warmth of the sun, allowing the sand to tickle your toes as you feel the cool breeze against your skin and listen to the gentle crash of the waves. You are worthy of tanning in your favorite bikini, feeling confident in your own skin as you realize that no one is judging you on your appearance. You are worthy of feeling love, not only for the beauty of the beach surrounding you, but also for yourself.
You are worthy of knowing that no matter your appearance, your shape, or your size, no matter what society convinces you that you “should” look like, this summer, your body belongs at the beach.
Previously published on Thought Catalog.
Featured Photo via Unsplash.