In my years since college, I have gone through a major inner transformation — from feeling like I had to dress myself to feel confident, to learning to embrace + celebrate my body whether I’m naked or in one of my favorite bikinis! After college, as I started my business I did a lot of soul searching and began to find that I wasn’t focused on being just the ‘pretty’ girl that I wanted to be when I was young. As young girls, many of us are focused on our outer appearances to feel confident and beautiful. Now, I realized I wanted to be the successful entrepreneur, the inspiring friend, the smart woman, the risk taker — the vibrantly alive soul. With this realization, I found how little my body type, shape or size was tied into ANY of my goals. . . It wasn’t an overnight switch, but instead a conscious effort to understand that my worth wasn’t tied to the way my body looked and also, that women I found beautiful, sexy and inspiring didn’t all look one certain way. They were different sizes, skin colors, body types and ages.
Here’s how Hawaii taught me to love my body:
Be Thankful for Your Body
Size Does Not Matter
Two years ago, when we packed up all of our belongings and moved to this little island in the sea, I had a wildly different perspective on size and the role it played in the value of my body (and myself). When we first moved here we would frequent the beach, still feeling like we were on vacation; I was in complete awe and kept thinking, ‘Do we really live here?’ (YES, Elana. HELL YES you do.) On those early beach trips, I would notice women in cheeky bikinis that weren’t perfectly tiny or sculpted – SHOCKING!
I was so inspired by their “courage” because I always felt that to dawn a swimsuit and feel comfortable you had to have zero cellulite, have tiny little thighs and perky boobs. Swimwear never made me feel comfortable, let alone beautiful! Women in Hawaii wear what they want with pride in their bodies and it’s been absolutely inspiring! There is no expectation of perfection. There is only an an invitation to show up as you are. Experiencing the confidence of women here first hand initially brought a ‘go girl!’ smile to my face. Then, the confidence started sinking in more and becoming contagious. Little by little, I started looking at my body differently and started to love my curves more, my smaller chest, my imperfect but perfectly strong legs. Everything around me told me that size does not matter, that you’re beautiful just the way you are. I started the inner work that it takes to have outer confidence!
This brings me to my next ‘aha’ moment. . .
Confidence Is Sexy
Beautiful Women Are Happy Women
Not the other way around! We’ve heard this messaging in advertising but after being on this island for many moons now, Hawaii has truly opened my eyes and enlightened me on this. When I first moved here, I would only notice gals on the beach who had these tiny, fit, perky bodies. I would look down at my very friendly thighs, always rubbing up on one another, and my soft belly that rolled when I sat down – not hating what I saw, but not owning it as entirely beautiful.