Don’t get me wrong wearing a swimsuit is a blooming great place to start, and that is exactly where I started. But trust me strutting your stuff in a swimsuit does not guarantee internal peace and an aura of confidence.
Body confidence and loving yourself is about much more than that.
So lets start back in March when I was chatting to the lovely people from Zoggs about accepting yourself the way you are, embracing swimwear. In fact embracing all clothes, bin bags, sacks of anything else you choose to dress yourself in.
Because if you don’t believe in yourself, feel the good and great vibes then no one else will. Yes, there are those beautiful souls that look amazing in everything and have not got a clue. And lets face it, that quality makes them more beautiful.
I am also not on about a self-belief to rival the president of America himself. I am talking good old self acceptance. Accepting yourself as you are, and learning to love the real version of you. Not the size six, 10 years younger version in your mind that you aspire to be.
Forget that person, they are taunting you, stopping you believing in you. Always pecking at you telling you, you are not good enough or brave enough. Do me a favour, put that version in a box, put them under the bed, prop up a wonky table with it, whatever. But banish that vision from your mind. They are stopping you enjoying life.
After this chat, where I agreed to post pictures of myself on my blog on my Instagram in my swimsuit, yes I did that. I then sat in a dark room and though what the hell are you playing at? Why?
Then the big day came; I was on the beach in St Lucia, gorgeous swimsuit on and feeling quite sick about the whole thing.
I stepped onto the sand, walked down towards the sea, giving Chris strict instructions, DO NOT ZOOM IN. I felt stupid; I mean come on the whole beach must be watching right? Chris took the pictures, and then I turned around and there were no helicopters or crowds. One lady had looked up from her book and smiled at me. Every other soul on that beach had not noticed a thing. Here I was taking this huge risk and no one had noticed……
And there it is, no one cared, no one noticed that I was quaking in my boots walking down that beach, because more than likely every other woman, and most probably a lot of men all felt the same as they strolled along in swimwear. No one looks at me and thinks oooh look at the tummy, those legs could be thinner, who does she think she is getting her picture taken? They look at the whole person. They see a smile, a frown, or a scowl. That’s what they notice, personality, then they look further, and only then, once they have decided what sort of person you are.
I subsequently had a light bulb moment. My confidence is not about swimwear, it’s about overcoming insecurities and fears.
Having photos taken in my swimwear is a result of my confidence, over coming a fear and achieving a huge success.
This took me back to my trip to Puy Du Fou earlier this year. We went to a bird show, there were hundreds of birds all flying all around our heads. It was breath-taking, but I was terrified of all those birds in one space.
After the show everyone in our group held an owl, I said no straightaway. Then all of a sudden I decided to dig deep. I put my arm out and held it, and it never ate me alive. It just looked at me with its giant soul-searching eyes, probably thinking you total Muppet. But in my mind it was saying well done.
After my beach triumph, conquering my swimwear confidence I decided to put this theory to other things in life.
Funny enough many are water related, its like the swimsuit has turned me into some kind of wonder woman. I have been snorkelling with sharks, and let me tell you, I was not going in right up to 5 minutes before. Surfed, both on a simulator and in the sea with real waves. Climbed a huge tree (not in said swimsuit), held a snake I kid you not. And all in 5 weeks, its like I am having some crazy midlife crisis.
Either that or I have finally realised I am the only person stopping me, me and only me. That confidence comes from within. Somebody telling you that you look great, or you can do this is going to make no difference at all. It’s all about breathing deep and going for it, trusting yourself that you can do it, you are good enough, strong enough, deserving enough.
I feel I need to make this clear I draw the line a crocodiles, because they will eat me. But crocodiles aside, from that one conversation in March I put my size six, 10 years younger self in that box and she is never coming out. Because that was what was stopping me taking risks, fighting fears and walking on Caribbean beaches in swimsuits whilst I had my photo taken.
You only live once and life is for living. So wear the swimsuit, climb the tree, surf the wave and swim with sharks, do the fit float in the sea and if you fall off thats ok. But do what makes you feel good and fight the fear. Because when I am sat in my rocking chair I don’t ever want to say, I wish I had been more…. And our boys can not say their mum never tried.