swimming

It's almost May, which means it's almost warm enough everywhere in the U.S. for people to start busting out the swim gear and heading to the lake or the river or the ocean. And that means it's also time for the Annual Body Image Battle a huge percentage of women wage with themselves when it comes to putting on a swimsuit.

Despite social discourse moving more and more toward body positivity and embracing ourselves no matter our size, a whole lot of us still feel self-conscious about our bodies. And nothing amplifies that self-consciousness like putting on a skin-tight swimsuit that exposes most of our skin suit to the world. Unless we are literally bikini models—and sometimes even if we are—standing in front of a mirror in a swimsuit prompts a million mental messages to kick in, with phrases like "muffin top," "saddlebags," "love handles," and "cottage cheese thighs," bouncing around like ping pong balls in our brain.

We are critical of our bodies partly because we compare ourselves to airbrushed bikini models—whether we want to or not—and partly because we fear the criticism and cruelty of other people. The former is something we each have to work through for ourselves, but a new video from vlogger Tiffany Jenkins perfectly illustrates why the criticisms of others shouldn't prevent us from putting on the suit and heading to the beach.

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