How to: Feel Confident in Your Bikini

This is a repost from 2011; one of my favorite blog posts I’ve written and I think it must be helpful as it’s been plagiarised tons of times, ha! But I think this is a great reminder especially now that it’s summer. Enjoy…

how to feel confident in your bikini

One of my biggest insecurities growing up was wearing a swimsuit on vacation, and it was only a few years ago that I got over it – and boy is life so much more fun when you just don’t care! I already talked about how to start loving your body, so this time I am gonna share some of the lessons I’ve learnt in bikini body confidence, so this Summer you can quit hiding behind the beach towel and have fun.

1. That Old Cliché

Let me start off by saying the greatest cliché known to man: nobody is perfect. It’s been said to death because it is true. Nobody is perfect.

We all come in different shapes and sizes. It’s the differences that make us unique, so we shouldn’t obsess about them. Why waste your time? Looking at your body in the mirror and analyzing each part you hate is not doing any good. Instead of looking at your “big arms”, be thankful you actually have two full-functioning arms; because some people don’t. Be thankful you have a healthy body and drill it into your head that nobody is perfect. There is so much more important things to worry about in the world than your jiggly butt on the beach.

2. The Secret

I can remember when I was 13 and in beautiful Costa Del Sol, Spain. I would go to the beach every day, and I never went into the water. Why? Because I was so self-conscious of my body. In school I was teased for being tall and “boney”, I was certain that everyone would stare. And there were boys there! What if they said all the nasty things the boys used to say at school? What if they looked at me and shouted “Skeleton!” as well? I couldn’t bear the humiliation.

Now I am kicking myself because the beach was so, so beautiful. And honestly, how many times does one get the opportunity to go to Spain? I missed the opportunity to go and really enjoy myself because I cared what strangers thought of me. I mean, it’s not like I knew any of them or even remember what they look like now! It just seems so silly now – I mean, who cares what others think, really? Why are stranger’s opinions having any impact on you?

And here’s The Secret: not everyone is looking at you. It’s all in your head. Relax; which brings me on to my next point…

3. Have fun!

Whether you’re at the beach or by the pool, have fun! You are only young once. The secret to being confident is to have fun. When you’re happy and having a ball, the last thing on your mind is, “Can they see my cellulite? Does my butt look big in this suit?” So get out there and play beach volleyball, eat ice cream, read a book or take a dip in the ocean. We are healthy and alive, and so blessed to be able to go to the beach, so have fun and enjoy the moment!

4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It’s much easier to feel confident about your body in a bikini when you know you’ve taken care of it. Filling your belly with junk food will only make you feel worse and more self-conscious. So eat healthy; but not just for your body, but also for your health. (Need a bit of help for your sugar and junk food addiction?) Of course, indulge once in awhile, but always remember to fill your body with vitamins and minerals. Exercise will also make you feel body confident. Honor, respect and treat your body right.

bikinis

5. Retail Therapy

… Or should I say, another reason to shop?! Go shopping and find a bathing suit that you love that flatters your body. Look good, feel good, right?

6. Thou Shall Not Covet

I once read a fitness “tip” in a magazine where they suggested to hang a picture of someone’s body you want, so that you would be motivated to keep working out to reach your goal for swimsuit season. And guess who are the most coveted bodies? Victoria Secret models. Um, OK. First of all, they are probably working out several hours a day because it’s their job to look good, so this is unrealistic for the rest of us. Also, we all know that images in the media are airbrushed – every single one of them – so hanging up pictures of hot girls in bikinis is a goal you will never reach; because they themselves don’t even look like that.

Another thing to realize is that these photos have hairstylists, makeup artists, personal trainers and dieticians behind them. Not to mention a great photographer, lighting and editing. This is their job to look good. If we all had a personal style team, we’d all look like Barbie. And that would be so boring, no? Imagine a world where everyone looked like Barbie! BORING! So do not even compare yourself to the bikini bodies of models and celebrities in magazine.

Comparing your body with others is a lost cause because everyone is made different. You can do as many lunges as you want, your bum will not look like JLo’s. And that’s OK. Work on your self-esteem and know that you are worthy and beautiful just the way you are. And drill it in your head that everyone is different – and it’s all beautiful.

7. One step for man, one giant leap…

“Just do it.” “Practice makes perfect.” “Fake it ’til you make it!”

Again, all clichés that hold some truth. I was 16 when I bought my first bikini, and was 17 when I actually dared to wear it; here in Koh Samui, Thailand:

Not gonna lie, it was horrible. I felt weird, overexposed and awkward. But I knew I had to overcome this. At this point, I already had tons of love for my body, but those feelings of being in a swimsuit in front of others still plagued me. I mean; you’re pretty much naked. But I forced myself. And guess what? I noticed that everyone was doing their own thing. Yeah, some people looked, but it wasn’t like they bent over and vomited at the sight of me. I remember a few people acknowledged me, smiled and then left me alone. No one cared – people were getting on with their holiday and didn’t have time to stare and criticize little Renee in her bikini. I couldn’t believe it. All those years of creating those stupid scenarios in my head of what people might do seemed so ridiculous.

After that holiday, I had completely let go of my insecurities of wearing a bathing suit in public. In fact, now I’m the first one in my bikini! You just gotta have the courage to get out there a few times. It’s always hard the first time, but you have to – and it will get easier.

Your turn! Did you (do you?) feel self-conscious when wearing a bikini or bathing suit in public? How did you overcome it? Any other thoughts on bikini-body confidence to add? I’d love to hear.


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Comments

  1. I don’t think I’d ever be comfortable wearing a bikini – there’s just too much of me on show! I’m quite body confident, I think, but when I’m the kind of person that barely shows cleavage or wears short skirts, bikinis just seem a bit too ‘naked’ for me. I also feel self-conscious in one-pieces but like you said it’s important to find pieces that are flattering and in a style that you love – then you just have to put it on and go and have fun! Lovely post, R. :)

    • Thanks Leia! Have you tried tankinis? There are plenty of different options and coverups to wear instead of a bikini if you’re too shy. :) You could also do what I do sometimes when it’s too hot and I don’t want to burn – wear my bathing suit and then a huge oversized t shirt on top and swim in that – no one really bats an eye if you swim with clothes on and it covers everything. :)

  2. This is great advice.

    I used to HATE wearing bathing suits in public– basically because I just hated my body, and assumed everyone else would too. It wasn’t until I had to take a swimming class for PE credit in school that I actually made it into a pool without a shirt & shorts over my suit. And you know what?

    No one cared!

    AND

    All of the other girls, even the ones with what I thought were “perfect” bodies, were dealing with the same insecurities!

    When you’re concentrating on getting exercise, body insecurities tend to take a back seat because you’re too busy trying to keep from drowning to worry about whether everyone can see your cellulite.

    • I so agree – everyone has the same insecurities at one time or the other; and I’m pretty sure they are thinking about how they look rather than anyone else! It’s true – no one is really looking at you! All in your head!

  3. pretty much think you are right about the post! cant blame adolescence when we were preoccupied with how people think of us! and another psychological concept that might sum up what you are saying is the spotlight effect! it’s just how we think people are observing or paying attention to us more than they actually are.

    really good post to encourage all to be rebellious to this effect! :)

  4. Hi Renee, gosh! This is so true…I always envy those who can roam around in bikinis without a care in the world. The last time I wore one was when I was 12 and then…well, I just shied away from the prospect…lol
    But recently one of my friends who was also like me said that she wore a bikini and it actually made a feel good. You know rather than caring about the world, it increased her self confidence. It was like “oh, I can flaunt my body as well and I dont need your approval” hehe…so it works for the best. Now she’s trying to pursuade me to get one. After reading your article I just might. I dont really mind my body but uh…you know those perves you were talking about right? Lol…thanks though for the encouragement :)

  5. Thank you for these tips! I always feel so self-conscious in a bikini, but luckily I have great friends who want me to join in on the fun ;)

  6. Totally agree with number 3, i think that’s a surefire way of making sure you don’t fret over yourself in a bikini. When I see other girls having fun in their bathing suits at the beach, the first thing I notice is the peals of laughter and how happy they are and it’s infectious :))

  7. I love these tips and your blog! You have such a refreshing approach to beauty.

    PS. That picture is from the wonderful Liz of Late Afternoon (http://popcultureafternoon.blogspot.com)

    • Thanks so much, Rachel! I really like your blog as well. :) And thank you SO much for letting me know where this pic is from – will edit immediately. I always try to only use pictures where I can at least find a credit but this photo was too beautiful, I couldn’t resist. And that’s amazing how it was a simple blogger pic – she’s gorgeous, it looks like something out of Vogue! xx

      EDIT: I’ve decided that I don’t want to use someone else’s photo without permission, so I have since removed that photo. I dug up a photo of me in a bikini for the first time so I’ll post that up instead, since it has to do with this post!

  8. Christie says:

    I am an American who now lives in Israel, and I must say that the one thing that I love most about Israeli women is their confidence in their itty bitty bikinis that they wear. It doesn’t matter if you are size two or 22, they put on their swimsuit and they walk like they are the hottest thing around!

  9. Maisie Lau says:

    Gosh, you look absolutely gorgeous. Can I have your DNA please? Hehehehehe… Thanks to my ancestor and the not-so-happening DNA I inherited, I’m absolutely curvy (38-29-40) and not very tall (5 feet 4 inches). Bummer.

    By the way, love your blog… xxx

  10. Dang, girl! You look smoking in that bikini! If only I looked that way… hehe (: I like these tips, confidence is indeed key!

  11. Maisie Lau and Kich — Ah you girls are making me blush! Thank you.

    Maisie… I wish I had my 17-year-old DNA as well! Haha. And WORK your figure! Curvy is hot as hell. x

    Kich, I am SURE you look amazing in your bikini as well. Like you said, confidence is key!

  12. First, I want to commend your confident body for posing fierce!

    I’m going 27 next week and I tell you I wore bikini, (like what you wore in the pix) just Feb this year- first time in public, in one of the nicest beach we have in PH.

    I thought to myself, if I’m not going to wear it now, when will I ever learn to wear it? and I’m not getting any younger, I would not want realizing and regretting that I let all the opportunities that I had to wear a bikini when I’m in my 50′s already, and I would not want to have that confidence on my 50′s that would be awkwardly rare.

    I definitely agree with you, all those thoughts were just thoughts – thoughts that we created to keep us inside our shells. Aren’t we crazy? we required ourselves to create our own monster to scare us? haha!

    It was my first time, and though I have fatty armpits, bulgy love handles, and wiggly thighs my boyfriend love the fact that I dared to show myself in a common lingerie on the beach.

    Very nice post and I know you have inspired a lot of women Renee!

  13. i think your adive was great but i still feel ungly and well i blame it on my age (14 years old) but i still feel it i am 5″7 and weight 10stone 7 can you help me ? xx

  14. And if all else fails… Cheat! There’s nothing wrong with board shorts, if you ask me, and they can be really flattering. Pair ‘em with a cute bikini top, and voila: the cheater’s bikini! :D

  15. OMG Renee, you are so insightful, sweet and empowering….and of course gorgeous. I used to have a problem with bikinis as well but for a much more uncommon reason: me bellybutton! I hate it. I’ve always been self-conscious of my odd seashell-shaped navel. But when I was 14 or 15 and wore by first bikini it was all ok. I’ve never been overweight, actually always had a lean frame and I’m grateful for it. But it doesn’t make or break a person. This is another cliche that holds true: It’s what’s on the inside that counts. And how true. A children’s story, The Twits, by Roald Dahl has a very meaningful part that has stuck with me since childhood: “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

    Keep on with the positive body outlook, we need more of that these days. With all the airbrushed and photoshopped stick-thin models that imperfect girls out there want to emulate, I appreciate your blog and look forward to more interesting and helpful tips.

  16. OKay… seriously. You’re gorgeous. Why would you feel uncomfortable with your body? :)

  17. I wear bikini’s just because they’re the most convenient thing to buy, but I always feel self conscious about them. I’m really tall and skinny so I worry about how I look, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing them. I can’t be bothered buying any new swimwear so I’ll stick with the bikini’s I have and not worry :)

  18. marjorie says:

    When I was 6 I was raped ever since i have been afraid to wear booty shorts and skirts and swimsuits because he beat me so bad that he left scars and bruises. My friends are throwing a beach party for her birthday and they told me i had to wear a bikini or I couldnt go. I don’t know what to do. HELP ME

    • Oh my goodness… I dont know what to say. I am so, so sorry to hear that Majorie. :(

      Does your friend know this? It isn’t really nice if she does and then says you have to wear a bikini or you can’t go. If you are not comfortable then you shouldn’t have to go and be forced to wear a bikini. If you really want to go, why not wear a sarong around your legs of a tunic top? Bikini coverups can definitely help, depending where your scars are.

      I hope this helps a little, take care xx

  19. HannahRose says:

    Renee I loved what u wrote and it’s true! Every but of it! But no matter how many times I read it I feel bad about wearing a bikini. I have a couple older sisters who are athletic and a perfect “bikini body” and they seem perfectly fine wearing it. They seem exactly like how u were in the article u wrote. They didn’t care what other people thought cuz those people were strangers and minding there own business anyways! But i have a thick bone structure and I’m more on the muscular side so my thighs ruin my self confidence when I wear a bikini. Please help me! I need more help on how to overcome my fear with this!!! :(

  20. yeah we shouldnt care what people think..they made u feel conscious about being tall and make me feel conscious about being small!! looking at ur gorgeous body at 13 gaves me confidence to reaaallly not care about others opinion.. u were perfect!! it’s sad that they got to u back then i won’t allow them to get to me now and imma looove my healthy body :) I’m glad that u turned out to be this beautiful and confidant .. thanks for sharing, really inspirational x

  21. You know.. I’ve always been one to worry about what people thought about me.. Always thought that If I went out there in a bikini, it would be one of those moments where a guy would yell “Da Damn!!” or some crap like that. I’m only 16 going on 17, but I am over the fact that I am overweight just a little bit.. But, I do feel more confident in my body. So this year, I am getting a new swimsuit.. But I am going to put a crop top on over it.. That’s just my biggest fear.. is someone saying something like that to/about me.. Do you have any advice about that kind of thing? Please, help me.. I could use all the help I can get!<3

  22. This is great advice. I have a pretty okay body and I know I shouldn’t complain, but I still feel a bit uncomfortable in a bikini. Especially my derriere worries me… :-) Hopefully with these tips I can get over it!

  23. I remember reading this the first time but its always a great reminder (:

  24. I was wondering if you had any tips for me. I am on the swim team and I’m wearing a sport twopiece and my top feels like when I push off the wall you can see right up my top I know that its probebly in my head but do u have any tips? Thank you:)

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