Bodies are amazing things. I know that I am fortunate to have a body that can breathe, dance, run, and keep me healthy. When I stop to think about all that it can do, I am rather impressed. However, I know too many relatives, friends, and acquaintances who constantly belittle themselves because of the way they look. Instead of focusing on the wonderful things their bodies can do, some focus on the things their bodies cannot do. Of these people in my life, I would say a majority who see fault with their bodies are female. Why do so many of us continuously list all of our flaws in front of the mirror?

I have never truly been taught how to love my body. I am taught to idolize certain body types. I have learned how to despise my body. I will never have a thigh gap. My body is not built for that, and logically I know this. That does not stop me from wishing for a flatter stomach, or fewer stretch marks. Those things wouldn’t change who I am as a person. My quality of life would not increase, nor would I automatically become popular. I would simply be myself. This is why less emphasis needs to be put on the “prefect body.” Guess what? A perfect body doesn’t exist without the help of Photoshop and fantastic angles. I would go as far to say that a majority of people realize that nearly all of the pictures we see in the media are doctored in some way. This does not stop individuals from wishing they looked like someone else. Learning how to appreciate and love your body for all of the things it does for you is one of the most important things to do to promote self-care.

When I become a parent, I will tell my children how wonderful they are every single day. That their worth is not dependent upon their physical appearance. I will teach them that being healthy is more important than being “perfect.” Although I know that this is true myself, it is difficult to separate myself from my appearance. I know I struggle with loving my body. I won’t say that it is an easy process. But I challenge everyone to stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself one positive thing about yourself every morning. It doesn’t have to be about your appearance. It can be “I’m a great friend,” or “I am strong enough to handle today,” can be enough to brighten your mood. Learn to value yourself both inside and out, and your postitivity will spread to those around you. You are wonderful enough just the way you are.