How to feel confident in a swimsuit

Three women wearing swimsuits.
How to feel more confident this summer. (Getty Images)

Meghan De Maria is a journalist and body liberation advocate whose work has appeared in Glamour and Cosmopolitan, among other places. When she's not writing, she leads the Plus Raleigh group in North Carolina's Triangle area, connecting plus-size people for support and community.

Summer is all about staying cool with day trips to the beach and afternoons in the pool. But for people of all genders and body sizes, these water-based summer activities often come with a side of anxiety. Swimsuits put our bodies on display, which can prey on people's body insecurities. Every roll and dimple stands loud and proud, for the world to see.

Pretty much everyone has dealt with body insecurity at some point in their lives, and there's no magic cure for loving yourself 24/7. (I'm a body liberation advocate and plus-size activist, and I have negative self-thoughts all the time!) That said, one vital thing to keep in mind this summer is that you don't have to love everything about your body to respect it — and to live your life to the fullest in it. Unwavering body confidence is fantastic, but you can still enjoy your summer, swimsuit and all, even if you're not fully there right now.

Whether you're firmly on the "all bodies are beautiful" train or you're struggling a bit more with self-love, here are five easy ways to feel more confident this summer.

No, this isn't a "good vibes only" situation. But if you're hyper-focused on what you see as "flaws," try reframing your mindset and focusing on what your body can do. Maybe you aren't at the point of loving your body unconditionally just yet, but you can still treat it with kindness.

Create a summer bucket list of all the fun things you want to do this season: lounge around with an inflatable unicorn, sip a tropical frozen drink, feel the sand between your toes, you name it. When you have your list ready, take a moment to be thankful your body can act as the vessel for those experiences.

Ideally, we'd all be able to tune out every negative body image thought that enters our minds. But if that seems unrealistic, start with recognizing the thought and countering it with something you appreciate your body can do (like fearlessly diving into the water, or cracking open a lobster like a pro). You don't have to love everything about your body to be grateful for it — and to know you're worthy of all the joy, regardless of your size.

For those of us blessed with full bellies, this hack is a game-changer. Plus-size TikTokers swear by wearing bikini bottoms backward for more coverage in the front — and a little surprise in the back. Not only will you feel like your — super-cute! — tummy is covered, but you'll also get to join in on the cheeky swimsuit trend. You don't have to wear swimsuit bottoms with full seat coverage just because you're plus-size.

With this easy hack, you won't be pulling at the waistband all day, and you'll probably get compliments on your fashion-forward fit.

It's no secret social media can be detrimental to mental health, particularly when it comes to teen girls and body image. And if the "hot girl summer" posts dominating your feed predominantly feature thin bodies, it might not inspire you to rock a swimsuit with confidence.

Following straight-sized friends and content creators is all well and good. But don't let your social media feed stop there — follow people in larger bodies too. The more photos you see of regular people living their best lives and experiencing fat joy, the more your brain will normalize it. And if those people deserve to be happy in their bodies, why don't you?

If you're holding onto an outdated notion of what a "flattering" plus-size swimsuit is, snap out of it. Instead of "dressing for your body type," dress for yourself, and show off your true taste in style.

Say you're someone who loves rocking Barbie-pink getups. You're not going to feel your best in a black swimsuit because you think it's "slimming." Unlearn the fashion rules you grew up with, and embrace the concept of taking up space, both literally and figuratively.

It doesn't matter who you are — we've all felt less than confident about something in our lives. If you're sitting by the pool fretting about cellulite or frizzy hair, the person next to you might be doing the same thing. It's impossible to be confident about everything, all the time — but what we can control is not letting our insecurities stop us from putting ourselves out there.

As for negative comments or glares from your fellow beachgoers who can't seem to mind their own business? We've all heard the conventional wisdom about bullies who pick on others because of their insecurities. If someone has a problem with you choosing to enjoy the season, that's on them, and it doesn't need to occupy any part of your mental real estate.

It's your summer. Get out there and enjoy it.