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It's Ok to Not Look Like Every Girl in a Bikini On Instagram

The comparison game is strong this summer.

Too much time scrolling on instagram can only lead to focusing on what you don’t have rather than embracing what you do.

Body image is a tricky thing for all of us and what fuels it is the mentality that there is only one kind of body type deemed acceptable and everything else around that is not enough.

It’s funny. I have moments when I look at myself and I love what I see but if I look at myself after spending some time scrolling instagram the view changes and becomes distorted. Over the course of a few minutes my opinion of myself can change from positive and uplifting to self-destructive. This is the side effect using this app can have: Comparing yourself to other people’s highlight reels.

We can live in a world where bodies can be thick, tiny, fluffy, skinny, plump, small, curvy, thin, or full-bosomed, and all of them can live under the same umbrella of “beautiful”.

That is possible.

The only thing getting in the way is what you think of yourself.

If we could wake up with no main stream idea of what the “perfect body” is supposed to look like than we’d have no negative concept of our bodies.

We were taught growing up that if you did not have the flat stomach, the perfect size boobs, the small waist, then you would never be on the front cover of a magazine. And if you could never be on the front cover of a magazine then you were not considered beautiful.

So then you create this concept of yourself where yeah sure you’re “pretty” but you could never call yourself “beautiful” because you’d never be on the front cover of a magazine.

At least, that’s what I did. I grew up thinking of myself in a very conditional way. Because I had one image in my head that was universally acceptable and no matter what I did I couldn’t magically make my thighs smaller so I thought of myself as pretty enough. Or “pretty for a” as of course, skin color plays into that as well.

I was scared of the word beautiful for fear that others wouldn’t feel the same. Or maybe I was afraid that if I really thought that about myself I would look out of touch with reality. But at the end of the day, this decision was about what I thought other people thought of me, not what I thought about myself.

So for every summer, or holiday, or special occasion I would give myself these "goal weights". These celebratory reasons to work out. So that by this day I would wear an outfit that earned responses like "wow, look at you!" "You're so tiny!" Because, in my brain, if I received those compliments I would be in that category I always dreamed of being in. What makes this problematic is that it teaches you to always focus on what you don't have because you're looking at yourself through someone else's lenses. You only think you should look this way because you think other people want you to look this way. You think boys will like you more. You think you will be more photogenic. You think you will get more likes on Instagram. All of this actually has nothing to do with you.

But what if we could create our own category. The category of "This is what I look like and I love it. Period." And maybe the only thing you need to do to be in that category is to treat yourself with respect. To learn how to love the parts of yourself you were taught to want to change. We have the power to make our lives more simple by learning to accept and love ourselves from the inside out.

These thighs belong to a girl who loves people very deeply. This stomach belongs to a girl who lifts people up with her positive attitude and sunshine demeanor. These legs belong to a girl who walks straight into the future she knows she deserves.

You are so much more than the look of your body parts. You are full of beauty, wonder, hope, and love. Remember these things the next time you compare yourself to the body parts of someone else.

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