LOVE THE SKIN YOU'RE IN. Practice self-compassion // by HARRIET BROWN

I love being a woman. I love how my body lets me run, swim and punch through waves. I take care of my body by eating well and training hard. I also understand that it sometimes fails me when I get injured. I love to feel powerful and strong yet feminine and beautiful, too. In a world filled with so many images of the female body - just flick through magazines, social media, TV and online and you will be bombarded with pictures of photoshopped women projected as desirable, sexy and 'perfect' - it's hard not to be overwhelmed and question "is my body good enough?"

Even those girls who from the outside seem to have it all together have insecurities and body image issues.

Personally there have been times when I have been extremely self-critical and thought to myself..

I know I'm not alone with these insecurities. It is especially difficult in a sport where we run around the beach competing in swimwear, which is also televised on TV for the whole world to see. However over the past few years I have begun to realise that so much of your body confidence comes from your own thoughts, beliefs and mindset. I know you have probably heard that before. But it's absolutely true. We are all so different, all so unique, and it's impossible and unrealistic to compare yourself to someone else.

Has a friend proclaimed to you... I'm too fat, I have too much cellulite, my legs are too big, I wish I had a six pack... And do you automatically respond with caring words of positivity reassuring them that they look great, just the way they are? I know I do. However, when was the last time you were caring and positive to yourself about your own body? When was the last time you showed some compassion to yourself and said positive words about your own body?

Tell yourself you are beautiful, just the way you are. Be grateful for what your body allows you to do; run, jump, swim, cook, sleep, dance, every little thing that is easy to take for granted.

Don't let your doubts and insecurities dictate you living your best life. Get out there, rock your bikini, dive into the surf and chase your dreams.

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