Body beautiful: 7 ways to unlock bikini confidence

May 16, 2023

Body beautiful: 7 ways to unlock bikini confidence

Please join us in rolling your eyes at every single mention of getting ‘bikini ready’ or having a ‘bikini body’. We’ve heard these phrases every summer for our entire lives and we’ve had enough. Why? Because it promotes the insidious message that our bodies are a) open for public comment and b) not good enough.

We’re here to tell you otherwise. Your body is yours. It’s the only body that’ll carry you through your life and, as such, it is utterly brilliant. What’s more, it deserves to feel the warm sun and the cool water, and you deserve to wear whatever the hell you want.

But we also know that it can be hard to break free of a lifetime of oppressive messaging about what you should look like and how you should behave. That’s why we ask some of our wonderful body stories participants to share their tips for finding the confidence to rock a bikini.

Deakin & Blue Swimbra Bikini

1. Demystify your body

“When I look at myself in the mirror and I see my scars on my breasts, gallbladder and c-section scars and I see my c-section overhang, I just look at my body and I accept it for what it is,” says Ellie.

“I do look at it. I think it's really important to demystify it, to not hide from mirrors because what's the point? It's done, it’s doing its job, it fed me, it created two children, it's able to experience a lot of pleasure. It's sometimes a bit sad. But it's a human body and it is fine."

Deakin & Blue Swimcrop Bikini

2. Enjoy what your body can do

“I think I just had confidence in myself because you get that confidence from being a person who can do stuff – there’s a kind of underlying confidence that comes from that,” says Lucy.

“It's not often what I look like that makes me feel good or bad about my body, it’s how it feels like it's working. Has it been used and do I feel fit, do I feel capable? And if I feel fit and capable, I kind of look better in my eyes. I think that I stand up straighter when I'm feeling accomplished like when I’ve swum a cold kilometre.”

Deakin & Blue Plunge Bikini

3. Surround yourself with brilliant people

“Something that’s really important to me is my swimming community, SwimDem: a community-based swimming club. I’ve been swimming with them for two years. Prior to joining SwimDem I was an awful swimmer but actually learning to swim with SwimDem has given me the confidence to do so much more than just swim – it’s also changed how I feel about my body,” says Rabiah.

“I remember in that first session I didn’t feel at all confident in a swimsuit, even a year ago I still struggled with it a little. But now I change into my swimming costumes and feel so much better about myself. It has helped me to become so comfortable with my body and it instilled me with a mindset of ‘if I can do this, I can do anything’ – something I was definitely lacking.”

Deakin & Blue Swimcrop Bikini Beach Meadow

4. Curate your social feeds

“For me, social media has actually had quite a positive impact. I’m strict with what I consume and I really protect the inputs coming into my headspace. I’ve always followed accounts that I know have a healthy impact on my relationship with my body,” says Emma.

“I grew up in the Kate Moss, size zero era; the time of the wonder bra and diet culture, so social media, and Instagram in particular, was the first place I’d seen women of different body shapes and sizes having that sort of pride and power. For me social media has been a real force for good but I’m aware that this is only because of the relationship I have with it, and how I have curated it.”

Deakin & Blue Plunge Bikini

5. Speak to yourself kindly

“To be honest I think my body image is still something that I grapple with. However, a few years ago I decided to start telling myself that I loved myself, every day. I found that slowly, the more I repeated it, the more it became true. Now whenever I find myself being critical of a part of my body I actively notice it then try to say ‘that’s a part of my body that I love the most’,” says Ameera.

“For example, I used to hate a birth mark that I have on my leg. It changes colour constantly and never looks the same. Now I see it as my own personal mood ring, which changes with the seasons. I realised that you can be the one to change your perspective. At first, I was faking it but after a while it became learned and now my birth mark really is my favourite part of my body. You can train your brain. Your brain was trained before to think of something negatively, so you are effectively retraining it to think of it positively.”

Deakin & Blue Plunge Bikini

6. Appreciate your story

"I love that I’m liberated from worrying about my body and I love that my face shows my story. I feel proud of my wrinkles: they have felt my joy and my pain. I love that my face celebrates my knowledge and experience of life. I wouldn’t want to be young again – not because it was awful, it was lovely, but I’m glad to have the liberation and security that comes from being older," says Naomi.

"I remember being a student midwife in my 20s, I was shadowing more experienced midwives and they were mentoring me. I remember being very new and looking down at my mentor’s hands on a pregnant woman’s tummy and thinking ‘oh my goodness, look at those hands, they know so much. They are really experienced hands’. They were just old hands but I wanted hands like that, I wanted to be like that. Then 4 or 5 years ago I remember looking down at my hands on a woman’s tummy and thinking ‘I’ve got those hands’. The image had stayed with me all the way through my career and I realised ‘I know what I’m doing, I’m comfortable in myself and with women and that is my gift’."

Deakin & Blue Swim Shorts

7. Focus on the feels

“It makes me really angry and sad that we live in this culture where we’re told that fat equals unhealthy to the point that people don't want to do the things that will make them healthy because they think they have no place there,” says Rowan.

“And you know what the socially constructed idea of beauty is doing by putting women down and making us feel ugly and insignificant and powerless? It's actually taking away our self-worth and opportunities to enjoy ourselves and that's a tragedy.

“So, what would I say to women who really feel this? I would say, screw it, get out there and enjoy yourself. Find someone to cheerlead you and support you. Whether that's a coach or a friend, or a group of friends, or one of these wonderful organisations like Mental Health Swims, find someone who will support you.

“Enjoy your body. You don't have to love what you look like, but enjoy how you feel. Enjoy yourself and find the pleasure in just being you."