Ah, the most common of topics I am encountering on the internet as of late. I’ve been reading a lot of articles on self love, and I think it’s really important to keep the ball rolling. I’ve been on a roller coaster of body issues my whole life, so this rising community of support has helped me a great deal. I thought I should share some love.

I’m so obviously not a model, not a skinny girl by any means, and I manage to love myself a little more each day. Not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that everyone should love themselves – with acceptance and care. I follow a few rituals that help me love myself one bit at a time:

Be Naked
To some of you this may sound easy, to others, you may have already hit a brick wall. What I mean by “be naked” is not in the shower (duh) or the 30 seconds between getting out of your pyjamas and into work clothes. I mean really, truly be naked. Lay around the house (or your room, baby steps!) and embrace what you have, how it moves or doesn’t move. Look at yourself, no really, look at yourself in a full length mirror. Longer than a quick 2 seconds. Trust me on this, you are your biggest enemy. You will discover parts of you that have character and those interesting curves, dimples, freckles, birthmarks and whatever else are what make you beautiful and different from me and everyone else. You should flaunt those.

Take Care
A friend of mine has a Pinterest board called Take Care. She posts inspirational quotes, workouts and just all around uplifting things to that board. I love it! (Shoutout to Laura!)
Basically the entire premise to this point is; take care of your body. I’m not saying you have to work out every day, have rock hard abs and be a vegetarian. That lifestyle is just not for everyone (myself included). But cut back on the junk, maybe find something that makes you active. It doesn’t matter what activity you choose, just get moving! When you start to invest time into your body, you stop taking it for granted. Cliche warning: Your body is a temple.
Oh and, if you want that donut, you go for it! (I said cut back on junk, not cut off)

Smile too, but laugh. Laugh and embrace the hilarity of a stupid situation. Basically, keep a light heart. If you let everyone and everything get you in a grump, how are you ever going to see the beauty behind the clouds? How will you ever appreciate the small and beautiful things? It’s a simple mantra to repeat to yourself, but it is hard to remember when you get caught up in life. Tattoo it on your face, maybe. No don’t do that.

Check it Out!
I bet you don’t know where I’m going with this one. Maybe you do. Check women out! Not in the lusty fashion but take a long look at other women in the real world. They aren’t models either. They have quirks and dimples and freckles and anything else you could think of. Maybe you really hate your wrists, you notice a woman on the streetcar that has the same shape as you. Hey, look at that! I bet she hates bracelets too! (an actual thought from my brain). If the woman on the streetcar can deal with the same wrists I have, then I can too. Chances are, no one cares about your wrists but you anyway.
This also works for appreciating other women, which is important. Instead of criticizing other women for their body differences, appreciate them for their differences. My hope is that maybe we will stop looking at other women as a threat because they have bigger boobs, or a smaller frame. I’m still working on this myself so don’t worry if you’re not there yet. If you are, good for you!

I think I’m going to keep this as an open manifesto of sorts. Feel free to add to it, make your own, whatever! I hope this has uplifted some of you to appreciating yourselves, because you’re all beautiful.
I can’t forget to mention that these are mostly lessons I learned from my mother when I was a teenager, and only truly learned them as I got older. It takes time to learn self-love but it’s important in order to let yourself be loved by others.

Happy Tuesday, by the way.