Sarah Swainson is the founder of Sarah Elizabeth lingerie and swimwear. Her aim is to encourage women to accept – and even love – their bodies, and wear beautiful garments with confidence

“I would estimate that 95% of the women that I speak to are critical about their bodies”

It might just be a passing comment, genuine concern or a real fear. There are very few women who really accept themselves fully.  I do not count myself as one of these; I am constantly looking at my stretch-marked thighs and my “very-cross-veins” and wishing they weren’t there.

Being content in your own skin seems to be the holy grail that we never actually find. We are conditioned to think that if we are little bit skinnier, tanned or toned that happiness and self acceptance will automatically happen. The reality is that day may never come, and maybe it’s more about a change in our mindset.

In my search to be more content with my own body, I have also decided to do three things differently. Perhaps they may help you along the way:

Don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards

Body positive women realise they are not perfect and that’s OK. Concentrate on your best feature rather than critiquing your worst. Celebrate being healthy or strong.

What you say to yourself matters

Stop the negative talk and start celebrating your gifts, talents or something that you do like about yourself. Our minds change our behaviour and our behaviour changes the outcomes. Don’t talk about hating your body, rather talk about the wonderful things you are going to achieve in that body of yours.

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Go out and do what you have always wanted to do, apply for a new job, wear that dress, dance like no-one is watching or whatever it is you want to do.

Be gentler on yourself and others

Body positivity means enjoying your body and not obsessing about the changes that might be happening naturally due to pregnancy, ageing or other uncontrollable factors. Take a moment… breathe and commit right now to be gentler on yourself.

I created Sarah Elizabeth to not only offer properly fitting bras and swimwear that fit perfectly. For me it is more importantly about empowering South African women to celebrate their unique bodies. That is the confidence I want to share #confidenceworthsharing #bodypositive.