As children, we were taught to love ourselves. We never cared about our hair color, how flat our stomachs were, or whether or not our legs looked good in the newest brand of jeans. Instead, we simply embraced our individual selves and celebrated our friends as well. However, as we continue to grow into tweens who would soon transform into teenagers, this strong self-confidence began to fade.

I began taking notice of my appearance when I was twelve years old.

I became obsessed with the way my body looked and I worked out excessively. I even attempted to cut out junk food and sweets from my food intake, which was incredibly rare for a middle school student. This insecurity continued for months on end until my mom sat me down and asked why I wouldn't eat a cookie for dessert after dinner one night.

When I told them about my growing insecurities about my body, my mom brought me complete reassurance. She reminded me that comparison is ineffective and it will only create a negative atmosphere. She also provided me with the reassurance that my body was in my control, and it was important that I treat it with care. I now use this phrase as a life mantra.

A vast majority of teenagers and young adults, most commonly women, have negative perceptions of themselves due to comparison to peers, social media, and celebrities. When we see perfectly toned Victoria's Secret models walking down the runway on television, it can sometimes make us feel bad about ourselves and question why we don't look the same way. However, we are not meant to look that way.

As my mother told me, we are in charge of our own bodies. We were all created to be authentic beings and embrace our beauty unapologetically, no matter how that may look to each individual person. We, among all people, have the right to pursue our passions, dress how we want to, and feel comfortable in our own skin.

All in all, the one person who feels concerned about your appearance is you.

On that note, embrace your flaws! No one is perfect, but no one is you. To keep my self-confidence in check, I refrain from spending too much time on social media. By keeping my phone down, I feel much more at the moment when spending time with my friends, and there is only a positive effect from this action.

I also make a point to look at myself in the mirror each morning and smile. Smiling has proven to be contagious (trust me, I've tested it) and it ensures me that I'm starting my day off on a positive note.

Another way to improve a healthy self-perception is self-care. Put on a face mask, light your favorite candle from Bath and Body Works, and watch your favorite show on Netflix to complete the ultimate self-care night. These simple things help your body feel loved, and more importantly, it helps you love your body. Despite what media may say, we are all beautiful in our own way. Now is the time we celebrate one another.