The journey to loving yourself is never a straight line, and it's not something that I think ever truly ends. There are bumps and bends and twists and turns, and sometimes it feels like you've taken 4 steps backwards when you were doing so well. But here's the thing, you can't undo years of social conditioning and self torment over night. Body positivity is an endless mission, and it can seem impossible, but I think it's all the little things that help you on your way.
Not that long ago I'd have been horrified to share a photo of myself in swim wear, and with so much thigh on show. But I've been pushing myself and take little leaps towards self love, and this photo is one of those steps. Getting my knees and thighs out was absolutely terrifying to me. To be quite honest, in the not so distant past I basically lived in full length leggings, getting none of my legs out, no matter the weather. I was miserable in the summer heat!
I'm not the sort of person who can just dive into something completely new. I'm naturally quite an anxious person and I've had CBT to help me deal with that. What that means is that instead of just rocking a mini dress and ditching the leggings, instead I slowly shortened my leggings. I opted for calf length leggings first, then eventually I wore midi dresses with shorts underneath instead, so you could almost see my knees. My knees! My dimply fat little knees. And then the dresses started to shrink, and now I'm all skies out, thighs out!
It took me about 3 years before I felt comfortable enough to go out pretty much anywhere I felt like with my thighs and knees out. And there is plenty I am still pushing myself to do. But rather than throwing myself into a scary outfit, I like to creep in, and that's ok too. Baby steps are absolutely a legitimate way to work towards self love. Not everyone is ready to rock their VBO or flash their skin in a bikini, but you might be ready to slink your way into a sleeveless dress for the first time. You might want to take a wrap or little cardigan with you in case you begin to feel insecure, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Learning to love yourself might take a little while, and that's just fine!