It’s heart breaking to consider how many of us girls are so hard on ourselves in terms of appearance. It is especially difficult when we think about how we were raised and what we have been taught since we literally walked into kindergarten.

In kindergarten, did we choose not become friends with people who we didn’t view as physically beautiful? Did we judge people based on their appearance? Did we look deeply into the way that people looked on the outside? Not from what I recall…

As kids, we were raised to be good people. We were raised to treat others the way we would like to be treated. We were raised to be caring friends and taught that what’s on the inside is most important. But when did these lessons and notions lose their significance? When did we forget that we were all individually born to stand out?

To the girls who don’t feel like they’re "enough," please sit down and listen closely.

We are all meant to be different, and yes, we are meant to look different from the outside. We are built with unique structures that make us who we are. Unfortunately, the generation that we are living in has an unhealthy misconception of what the ideal body image is "supposed" to look like.

Why do we all aim for the same unattainable physique? As there is so much out there that makes us the same, why don’t we find peace with what makes us original? We’re all guilty of focusing on those little flaws that no one else see’s, but why don’t we take some time to appreciate the little things that we adore within ourselves?

Some of the most intelligent, independent, and genuine women I know see and feel nothing but emptiness; they self-compare like it’s their day job and stare into their mirror for hours at a time, literally tearing themselves apart. I’ll admit that for a period of time I felt consumed by the flaws I see within myself, but I believe this is completely normal and common. Nonetheless, it irked me that “the way I looked” was bothering me so much as appearance is such a superficial variable.

The only way I knew how to kill this mental image was to take a step back and really think about my perspective. I thought about the qualities I appreciate and value most in people—what I see in my friends, family members, peers, and those who surround me daily. As I contemplated, I created a mental list and I found something in common with all that I thought about; nothing on my list had to do with looks. Since that moment, I decided I would no longer degrade myself for things that I do not find valuable in others. No longer would I be hard on myself for not getting to the gym due to immense amounts of homework, nor would I cringe at the way my complexion looked in sunlight, but I would learn to appreciate all things good within myself.

Just like we learned in kindergarten, its what’s on the inside that matters most. At the end of the day, your true friends will not remember whether you gained some weight in college. They will not recall the days when your hair looked like a full-on rat’s nest. But what they will remember is the way you were there for them on their worst days, the times that you put them first even when you were busy as hell, the moments when you understood them with every ounce of your being, the late hours of the night that you answered their phone calls-- and simply, they will remember you for you.

So, turn your head at the lengthy mirror, smash the scale, and breathe. Recognize and analyze what makes you uniquely you while taking time to see what attributes you appreciate in others, because before you know it, you might learn to appreciate yourself.