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When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Maybe you see the stretch marks, the old bike wreck scars. A hundred million freckles and that weird little wart. Curvy in the places we don’t want to be, and a chin that juts out just a tad too far. The list can go on and on.

We all have things we don’t like about our bodies. When we look in the mirror, sometimes we see things we don’t want to see. And then the negativity seeps in. “You’re not good enough. You’ll never look as good as that other girl. You should just give up trying.”

There was a time where I always offered to take the photo so I wouldn’t have to be in them. I didn’t want to remember what I looked like because I didn’t love my body.

Why?

Have you ever asked yourself why you don’t love your body? Why don’t you love the big ears that were mapped in your DNA thanks to your dad? Why don’t you love the stretch marks you got while pregnant with your sweet little baby? Why don’t you celebrate the freckles that make you YOU?

I want you to ask yourself this: why not? Why not love these parts of ourselves?

Who says you can’t love the so-called bad parts with the good? Who decided that looking a certain way was beautiful, anyway? Re-imagine in your own mind what is beautiful. Because that beautiful is you.

We are way too hard on ourselves. When I think of the people I love most in my life, I never think of them as fat or ugly. I just think of the best parts of them. So why do we think of ourselves in a negative way? It’s time we learn to love our bodies. All of it! For some of us, it can be a long journey of letting go of all the negative feelings we have about ourselves and turning them around.

It’s not going to happen overnight, so give it time. But make that choice to love your body, every day.

When you look in the mirror, try to be happy with what you see. Look for the positive things. Smile at yourself. Be goofy. That person looking back at you is beautiful and full of life. That person has every possibility in front of her.

On your journey to learning to love your body, do these six things:

1. List the things you like about yourself and put them on your mirror. When you look at yourself, focus on the good things about you, inside and out.

2. Take care of yourself. Eat the best you can, get plenty of rest, exercise, go to all of your doctor check-ups, take a bubble bath, get a pedicure and a back massage, and anything else that your body needs.

3. Don’t obsess. The number on the scale goes up and down for everyone. Remember that it’s just a number. Some days you have bad hair days. That’s why people invented hair ties and hats. The frumpy days come and go. You are allowed to love yourself anyway.

4. Be grateful for what your body can do. You can do so many things! Your body really is amazing. Focus on what your body can do. Maybe you can’t run 10 miles, but you can start with 1. And that’s pretty amazing.

5. Don’t compare yourself with others. This is your body you are living in. Not someone else’s. So don’t compare yourself with others! It will only make you sad, because there is always someone else who you think might be “better” than you. But what you don’t know is their personal struggles or how even though they look good, they don’t love their bodies.

6. Just laugh. Be happy. Happiness is a choice. Sometimes it’s a hard choice, because we have so many things that make us sad. But if we decide, “I’m going to be happy despite this,” then things start to change. As we keep making that choice, being happy gets easier and easier. Life should be fun, so let loose and laugh.

You have one life to live. And right now, you only have today. Make the most of it! You don’t have time for negativity. When you wake up each morning and look in the mirror, hold your head up high, smile, and say, “Hello, Beautiful.” Maybe at first you won’t believe what you say, but keep saying it. Because it’s true.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

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