7 Tips That Will (Actually) Make You Feel Confident in a Swimsuit

When you get that first taste of 70-degree days, the excitement of summer is palpable. But it’s also the time of year when I become more aware of how my body looks. Through fall and winter, I live blissfully, free of anxious feelings about what I look like. But like clockwork, as soon as the warm weather hits, bathing suit anxiety sinks in. And, quite frankly, I’m over it.

Bathing suit anxiety is more than just not feeling confident in a bikini. The way we view our bodies can have a serious impact on how we live our lives, and developing a positive relationship with our bodies is important for our well-being. According to the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, women are more likely to opt out of important life activities when they don’t feel good about the way they look, and 17% of women claim they won’t even go to a job interview when they’re not feeling good about their appearance.

Between societal expectations and the Ozempic world we live in, talk of having a “summer body” is common jargon, but every body is a summer body. Despite what we may have been told, doing workouts you don’t enjoy or trying quick-fix diet plans isn’t the path to loving your body more. You have to learn to feel confident in your body as it is now by going inward, and these are the steps that will help you get there. 

As soon as the warm weather hits, bathing suit anxiety sinks in. And, quite frankly, I’m over it.”

1. Connect to your body

Like most things in life, it’s hard to connect with something you don’t fully understand, and your body is one of them. Our bodies do amazing things for us: They allow us to move, breathe, nourish, and pleasure ourselves, yet we often take them for granted. The good news is there are a lot of different ways to connect to our bodies and appreciate them more. One way is through the breath: Breathing is something we do subconsciously, but taking time every day to scan the body, notice how breath moves through the body, and where you may feel stagnant can be so powerful. This practice allows you to further understand your emotions and strengthen your mind-body connection.

Another effective way to tune into your body is through self-pleasure. Masturbating can serve as a reminder that you deserve to feel pleasure and you value yourself enough to take the time to explore and take care of your body, which can boost self-esteem. If you don’t already engage in it, try incorporating masturbation into your routine using a vibrator you can keep in your back pocket (literally) because you never know when you might need it. Just remember, the best way to develop self-love is by practicing it.

2. Change your internal narrative

Blame it on diet culture or the media, women have been told for decades that they have to look a certain way to be happy, find love, and be successful (it’s no wonder we feel unworthy of respect if we don’t meet unrealistic beauty standards). We have to unlearn the stories we’ve been telling ourselves and flip the internal script. After all, it lays the groundwork for how we experience life and what we can achieve. Take note of your daily thought patterns. The moment you have negative self-talk about what your body looks like, try replacing it with healthy alternatives, like “I am more than just my appearance, weight, and shape” or “My worth doesn’t depend on how I look or how much I weigh.” Have a list of affirmations ready for whenever you’re not feeling good about your appearance. Change your narrative in your favor until you start to believe it.

3. Keep promises you make to yourself

Having self-confidence is more than just having pride in how you look or your capabilities. It also comes down to self-assurance that stems from your appreciation of your qualities. When you follow through on your commitments, you reaffirm your value and self-worth and show yourself what you’re capable of. Maybe you promised yourself you would say “no” to screens before bed for quality Zzzs, go on a walk first thing in the morning instead of stopping for coffee, and create a budget (because financial wellness is a form of self-love). No matter the promise you make to yourself, make a plan and see each promise through to build trust in yourself. And the more you can trust yourself, the more you reinforce your self-respect.

4. Practice self-compassion

We know that confidence takes changing the inner dialogue, but the other puzzle piece is showing yourself empathy. Showing yourself the same kindness and grace you show your friends will translate to becoming your best, more confident self. But just like happiness, it doesn’t happen overnight—empathy is a skill. By continuing to practice it, honoring your authenticity, and taking note of when negative self-talk comes into play, you’ll build resilience and make progress on your ambitions. The result is creating a positive feedback loop where being kind to yourself strengthens your self-esteem and motivates you to go after your next goal.

“Don’t take yourself and life so seriously. There’s only one you, and you’ve only got one chance to live your life, so be uniquely yourself and savor it.”

5. Adopt the “F*** it” attitude

When you say “eff it!,” you’re letting go of fears and control and developing the courage to act in ways that bolster your self-esteem, rather than undermine it. It pushes you to be who you want to be and do what you want to do. Sure, it’ll be uncomfortable at first, but with discomfort comes growth and confidence when you keep showing up for yourself. So you gained a few pounds—no one actually cares! You’re afraid to try a new workout—do it anyway! The first date could be a disaster—so what?

Not everything is as big of a deal as you make it in your mind. And it may feel like everyone cares as much about you as you do, but they don’t. No one is paying attention to how you look. They’re too preoccupied with themselves and how they look themselves. A national study conducted by Planet Fitness found that 76 percent of those surveyed said they’re more critical of their appearance than they are of the way others look. The bottom line is don’t take yourself and life so seriously. There’s only one you, and you’ve only got one chance to live your life, so be uniquely yourself and savor it. 

6. Wear clothes that fit your body

Your clothes can say a lot about you: If you wear something that makes you feel good, it’ll show. You’ll exude confidence. But if you’re uncomfortable with your outfit choice, your body language will tell that same story. Your clothes should fit your body, not the other way around. If that means having to go up in size, so be it. Size is just a number or letter, and what matters is wearing the one you feel most confident in. The only thing people will see is the confidence you radiate, not what size you’re wearing. So get rid of any item in your closet that doesn’t make you feel good when you put it on, whether it’s because it is uncomfortable or no longer fits. The same goes for buying new clothes: Choose the bathing suit or pair of jeans that make you look and feel good, even if that means going up a few sizes.

If there’s one surefire way to sabotage your confidence, it’s scrolling the highlight reels of other people’s lives. We put the filtered versions of us, our homes, and our activities on display while keeping the unglamorous BTS (think: laundry piles, break-ups, and doctor’s appointments) offline. But somehow, we forget that other people do the same. Your social media feed should be a place you go to feel inspired, laugh, and be entertained. If you only feel down on yourself every time you open Instagram, it’s time to cleanse your social media. Unfollow or mute those fitness influencers who make you feel like you’re not “toned” or working out enough, or the friends who have you thinking twice about how you’re living your life. Instead, only follow accounts that inspire and motivate you and bring you joy whenever you click through their feed or stories (hi, @theeverygirl—just a suggestion).

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