Everyone has had a moment, one time or another, that they have looked at themselves in the mirror and not liked what stared back at them. They may have glanced at their reflection and watched with disgust instead of in admiration. For some, this may occur more regularly than for others, but for many it happens much more often as it becomes warmer, and clothing becomes much sparser.
It takes a lot of courage and determination to love your body in the first place, and it becomes much harder as the levels of heat rise to the point where you can’t wear jeans or long sleeves any more.
Without noticing, these very articles of clothing can become security blankets over the long winter months. These theoretical security blankets then cause us to not want to strip down, and wear anything other than them. Ultimately, we all have our things about ourselves we wish we could change, and some of these things are more apparent to our own eyes during the summer months.
It does truly take a lot to ignore all the things we dislike, but it really is undeniably possible to accept them and love on yourself through the entirety of the year; through every season and every month. You’re completely able and allowed to slowly shift out of the winter mindset.
You can take as much time as you need morphing out of those sweaters that have been glued onto your skin all winter, just as long as you set yourself a goal to actually do it.
If you’re comfortable, you’ll essentially feel best no matter the temperature outside. It may start with setting yourself goals that you feel are reachable. This comfort can only be strengthened through finding yourself a favorite pair of cutoffs, comfy, airy tanks or the perfect pair of sandals to trek around campus in. The comfort you will literally gain from your clothes will lead to comfort with yourself and your body; love your clothes and then, love yourself.
There are so many familiar phrases about self love we have all looked at on Pinterest, or heard coming out of our mother’s mouths, or even said ourselves to friends over and over again, that by now they all sound like old news. They’re meant to be encouraging, but because the same thing is heard over and over, it’s difficult to have full faith in what is actually being said.
Take time to really hear those words, listen to them and understand that what is being said may actually be beneficial. Think about what they truly mean to you, and how you respond internally when you hear them.
All of this should only be done through you and for you and not anyone else. Do it for yourself and discover that courage is able to sprout from within you and able to be reiterated through other outlets. The most important strength you can gain is becoming more in touch with how you feel about yourself, even if it’s not a positive feeling all the time.
Let your body soak in the sun, but do it on your own time, and at your own rate. Don’t rush yourself, time is yours to play with; remember, comfort begins with your own timelines. Wear cutoffs and love on your smooth, freshly shaven legs, but first find the right pair for your body and your comfort level. Most importantly, do this for yourself, listen to encouragement, but understand what it all means from within you first.
Before you know it, loving your body will be easier, it definitely won’t be cake, because it never is, but you’ll feel a little lighter. You may even appreciate something new about yourself that you may not have before. You may discover you actually enjoy wearing sandals or showing off your arms, because you’re doing it for yourself and not anyone else. All of this will come just from letting yourself love yourself.
Photos by Nico Ciani