A poor body image is often connected to low self esteem: We don’t like not having a perfect flat belly. We hate our poor thighs and ankles because we want them to look differently.

We squeeze every pore and rip the skin off our cuticles to try and gain control over what is so hard to control:our emotions.

When we are anxious or feel critical of ourselves, it seems that we have to do something. We have to distract ourselves from our negative thinking, and since we have a hard time getting a grip on our feelings, the body becomes the battlefield of our endless self improvement projects.

Rather than having to change or bodies, how about we change our attitude?

If you are a member of the crowd who would feel fine if you could just lose those five pounds you’ve gained since high school, how about just accepting those five pounds as a part of yourself and make yourself look good with them?

In our endless striving to have a perfect body, we completely neglect to see how well it has served us all these years.

To most of us, our health and beauty are freely given. You don’t have to earn it. All it takes is a little upkeep.

Our body serves us every day and most of the time requires only little attention. When we are healthy we take it for granted that our organs, our limbs and our brain tirelessly do their job.

We don’t usually practice gratitude towards our bodies. Be grateful for what it does for us, how well the sum of its parts is functioning, instead of criticizing its every flaw.

Pay attention to the breath, and how it effortlessly provides the most basic means for us to survive. Put your hand on your heart, or your belly, your muscles, your eyes. Try to appreciate the work that’s done to keep us alive.

Create a fantasy of yourself; how could you make your body look good just the way it is, and love it unconditionally?

Let go of unrealistic delusions of perfection and embrace your imperfections.

Most of us are not models. We don’t have to have the body of a professional. Our life is worthwhile as it already is.

Stop comparing yourself to others who seem to look so much better. They struggle too, even if we don’t know about it.

You are you with your innate talents and skills, and only you have them. If you refuse to share them with the world, they will be lost.

photo credit: Wendy Nelson Photography.