June 21st, the official start of Summer, is just around the corner. And if you haven’t already done it, swimsuit shopping is staring you down. Because, it’s that time of the year, again. Groans can be heard coming from mall dressings-rooms across the globe.
“I hate shopping for swim-suits,” said my college-aged niece.
“I do, too.” I replied, secretly wishing to be a twenty year-old like her rather than a budding 50 year-old soon to face a 3-way mirror.
We’re not alone. 70 percent of Americans would rather go to the dentist, do their taxes, sit in the middle aisle on an airplane, or visit their in-laws than go swimsuit shopping, according to a recent survey.
But, rather than give sewn-together pieces of spandex cloth any power, here are Ten Tips for Swimsuit-Shopping Survival.
No 10: Talk to yourself. Confirm that yes – you are, in fact, the same person in jeans and a sweater as you are in a swimsuit. [Repeat step as needed.]
No 9: Code-Word Photoshop. Those grocery store checkout magazine covers that taunt us with “my new beach-body”… airbrushed.
No 8: Take Back-Up. Cagney had Lacy, Rizzoli had Isles – swimsuit-shopping dressing rooms are no different than most homicide crime scenes. Our thoughts can be notorious joy killers. So, grab a friend and be prepared to believe her. [Warning: Never try on swim-suits together – for obvious reasons.]
No 7: Look straight ahead. When perusing the rack, keep your eyes on your own paper. Don’t look at the shopper next to you, eye their size or suit choices. You are not that person.
No 6: Choose carefully. Be honest. Best to avoid wishful thinking.
No 5: Glasses. Bring and put on glasses, sunglasses or rose-colored if you have them. Never allow dressing-room lighting to ruin your mood.
No 4: Take control: Forcefully dispel negative thoughts. In 10 years, you’ll look back and wish you could look the way you do now. [Good time to repeat: I’m the same person in jeans and a sweater.]
No 3: Pick and pray. Just pick one. Get over questionable mirror angles and size tags that never deserve the power we give them to mess with our thoughts. Take your tag, scratch out the 1 and make that size 12 a 2. Instant boost. Pray for yourself and for the person in the dressing room next to you. She’s wishing for candescent over bright, highlight-every-flaw-that-is-or-isn’t-there fluorescent lighting too.
No 2: Perspective. My niece points us in the right direction:
“Yeah,” she continued. “I don’t like swimsuit or shoe shopping.”
“Yeah, swim suits and pairs of shoes – those really need to be something you LOVE – since you only have one or two for the entire season.”
For her – a disdain for swimsuit shopping has nothing to do with body-image or self-worth. Her thoughts have rarely, if ever, been held prisoner to an airbrushed ideal.
She doesn’t think that way because she doesn’t see that way.
She is visually-impaired. And though her sight is limited, she sees more than anyone I know. She is also one of the most content people I know – even when shopping for swimsuits.
No 1: Focus: Don’t allow racing thoughts to focus on limitations – especially if they have anything to do with body image. But if they do, let them be vague, “like a breeze among flowers.”
Your worth resides much deeper than any exterior image seen in a mirror.
Thanks for walking the road with me!
p.s. A special thanks to catholicmom.com for posting this article on their website. And THANKS to all the fun media outlets this week who felt like chatting about comparison and it’s assault on our contentment.