Forget Self-Consciousness: Why You Should Bare Your Soul At The Beach
There are a myriad of wonderful things to look forward to in the summer: sunshine, fun nights, juicy fruits and, usually, a glowing tan.
There are also a few other things we tend to be not-so-excited about when the hotter months arrive: bikinis, fitness and expectations.
I won't go into the hackneyed message on "preparing your bikini body" because in truth, a bikini body is your body in a bikini.
A beach body is just your body … on a beach. Instead, let's take a step back and realize what we should be wearing to the beach (in the same quantity as sunscreen, ladies) is our soul.
This may sound kind of ominous and paint a terrible mental picture, so let me clarify.
Your soul is that intangible part of you where the essence of all that is you resides. It's home to your sense of humor, and the part of you that gets tickled when you are in a place of absolute joy, wherever that may be.
It is a breeding ground for love, compassion and generosity. Your soul is also the birthplace of the rest of you, including the very fallible and overrated physical body.
Think of it as the seed that sprouted into the great tree you are now.
So, why wear your soul to the beach? Well, because it is the only thing that truly matters.
In 20 years, will you ever look back and say, "It was a great idea to skip out on doing that fun thing because I felt insecure about my [insert body part]?" No.
Think about how absurd it is to miss out on feeling the ocean breeze and the salty waves because of your own mind's judgment.
It's also important to remember that the things we find subpar about ourselves tend to go unnoticed by the people we love.
When you look at your best friend, love or parent, you're not thinking of his or her flaws.
You see the whole person, right down to the kindred spirit. So why are we so harsh on ourselves?
Why don't we stand on a beach with our stretch marks (You've grown!) and cellulite (You've eaten yummy foods!), amazing souls and embrace how lucky we are?
As you walk down the beach, think of how amazing it is that your legs are strong enough to hold your whole body. Those babies can take you from one side of the globe to the next.
They will gladly hold you on trampolines and uneven pavement and, guess what else? Sand.
Our arms are limber enough to hug, hold, give and do cartwheels. Abdomens are brave enough to keep us upright and hold babies and help us laugh.
And faces are the luckiest of all because they have eyes and ears and mouths to take in the beauty that surrounds us every day.
This is the difference when we wear our soul to the beach. We are coated in a discerning mechanism that separates the important from the useless. Shame is a useless emotion.
Regret is right up there with it; both shame and regret tend to stem from things we have done in the unchangeable past, so there is no point in wallowing in the present.
To be embarrassed of the only thing that allows us to do all the things we do? Come on now, ladies.
This is not to say that striving for a healthier or stronger body is a bad thing.
Rather, let this serve as a gentle reminder that we should never pass on a miraculous moment because of some negative (and untrue) message we have sent ourselves.
And you, alive and powerful, laughing and splashing in a deep blue ocean that has touched the land of places you have never been, are nothing short of an absolute miracle.