Hating your body is exhausting. I know this because I am a female who shamed her own body for years, until one day when I decided that I was beautiful. By no means am I the CEO of Body Image, but I do know that I ought to be better than tearing apart my appearance after 23 years on this Earth. I should be celebrating what I was given, rather than inspecting and dissecting my faults in the mirror. Nobody sees these supposed “flaws” as I do. The only real flaw is the one that exists in my mind when it comes to appearance. The female body is a work of art. It is God’s work of art, and I don’t think he would appreciate everyone pointing out self-proclaimed “flaws” in his impeccable crafting. I have a body that allows me to climb out of bed every morning and face the dawning of a new day. It has been with me through every accomplishment and heartbreak in my life, and it is the only one I have ever known. My body isn’t just a shell that exists simply for the purpose of outer beauty; it is what keeps me alive each day. When an appreciation for everything your body allows you to do is formed, that is when true – inner and outer – beauty develops.

Like the majority of females (and probably many males), I have always been too quick to judge myself, and too quick to compare what I see in the mirror to what I see in the media. Why do females obsess over the fact that our body parts do not look like someone else’s when we should be celebrating our own eccentricities and rarities? Rather than targeting all of our energy on what part of our bodies we dislike today, we should be focusing on our mind, and the perception it has of our bodies. Like it or not, my body is married to my mind, and instead of enduring constant warfare for the rest of my life, I would appreciate them being harmonious. Life is not meant to be a continuous struggle with self-hate and self-destruction, and it definitely is not meant to be an endless fixation on what I don’t have.

I fully understand that achieving self-adoration is a lengthy, arduous process. It took me 23 years to fall in love with myself and to admire all the details that magazines and television constantly tell me are unsightly or that I should work to “improve.” I realized that I do not have anyone to please other than myself. If I feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, approval/disapproval from the media, from men, or from other women is irrelevant and powerless. True beauty lays in the appreciation I have for what my body is capable of, and the self-assurance and courage I possess from doing so. For many years I attacked my appearance and severely struggled with body image, and today I can say with pride that I deem my body as flawless.

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