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Things that happen as you start loving yourself

“I love myself…I love you. I love you…I love myself.” ~ Rumi

There is no greater love than self love.

As you begin to embrace and accept yourself fully, you will be able to embrace and accept the world around you fully.
We give what we have and the more love we have for ourselves, the more love we will be able to give to those around us.
True love starts with you. If it flows through you abundantly, it will flow back to you abundantly.
Give more of it to yourself and you will have more to give to others.

What I will share with you today is a list of 10 magical things that start to happen as you begin to love yourself.

1. Authenticity
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

2. Respect
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

3. Maturity
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.

4. Self-confidence
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

5. Simplicity
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

6. Love of oneself
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

7. Modesty
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

8. Fulfillment
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

9. Wisdom of the heart
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

10. Knowing
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!” ~ (attributed to) Charlie Chaplin on his 70th birthday: As I Began to Love Myself.

Are you ready and willing to start loving yourself more and more each day? What is one thing you will do today to move yourself in that direction? You can share your comment by joining the conversation in the comment section below 🙂

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How to gain Confidence

I’m passionate about the topic of confidence and there are so many different aspects to it and so many different levels.

The first point to look at is around your focus. If you feel that you are lacking in confidence, my guess would be that your focus is on what you can’t do, where you failed, and how you feel that you’ve got things wrong. What would happen if you changed your focus? What would happen if you shifted your perspective from where it was into a new one, which you maybe have to your imagination with, but what if you focused in on what you have achieved, things that you have been successful in, and things that you have done? So for example, what if you started to think about all that you’ve achieved in your life from learning to talk, learning to walk, learning to pass an exam, swim, ride a bike, drive a car? The list I am sure is endless of all the things that you really have done. What would happen and how do you think you would feel if that was your focus on a daily basis?

The second aspect to look at is around your language. How are you actually talking to yourself both internally and externally because that’s a real key indicator of how you feel about yourself? If you want to grow your confidence then if you make a mistake and then you’re telling yourself what an idiot you are or how stupid you are.., then really is that going to inspire confidence in you to have another go or even have an attempt at something new? Look at how you’re speaking to yourself, language is so important. Start to use kind language, give yourself a break, and actually be nice to yourself.

Would you really speak to a best friend or a family member or even a child the way you speak to yourself currently? Yet you would probably want them to have confidence in themselves so because you want them to have confidence, you speak kindly to them.

How about if you turn that around and started speaking kindly to yourself? I know the difference that it’s made in my life and I’m sure that if you started to put that into practice you’ll gain even more confidence in yourself, which again is what you want to do, is it not?

My final thing for you to think about is rather than thinking about what’s gone wrong and thinking about the mistakes that you’ve made, think about the lessons that you’ve learnt. Every single day we’ll trip up, fall over, say the incorrect thing, and get something wrong. All of those things are there to help us learn so instead of focusing on getting it wrong and being a bad person, why not stop and at the end of the day ask yourself what have I learnt today? What have I have learnt today, and not only that, how can I use that information in the future? I know that when you learnt to walk as a child you would have fallen over at some point yet you didn’t sit there and stop. What you did is you decided to learn and use the information from falling over to get back up again and have another go, and you use that information to inform your next step. So at the end of every day, take a moment to think about how you can use the information from that day, those lessons, to help you in the future.

How to give up victim mentality

At some point in life, everyone has had to do something against their will. Everyone has experienced a difficult time when he felt humiliated or betrayed in some way. Many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one, or even of our own health. Some of us have been victims of violence – at home, in school, or in life…
But while some manage to cope with pain, self-pity, anger and guilt, others come to see themselves as a victim. The victim mentality is formed not only as a result of sustained violence or humiliation, but also by the environment. Often people do not recognize and do not even realize that they are acting the victim.
What is the victim mentality?
Seeing yourself as a victim does not necessarily mean that you have been subjected to physical or psychological abuse. A victim is a person, who believes that something or someone is externally controlling his life. Victims see themselves as impotent, believe that external factors control their life, and see life as a wall of insurmountable circumstances.
They feel compelled to do things against their will. They might complain, but they will still do what they do not want to do, thinking that there is no alternative. It seems like that the whole world is against them. Victims always feel dependent on the mercy of external forces and blame them for everything that happens in their world.
The victim mentality can be seen in all areas of our lives:
Relationships: When victims are led to give up their priorities, aspirations, dreams and desires, they lose self-esteem and self-confidence and give up power. Imagine, for example, a man, who gave up the job of his dreams to please his loved ones. He will feel internal resentment that this happened, and anger at a perceived lack of appreciation and gratitude. Even if he feels offended, humiliated or unappreciated in the relationship, rather than take control of his own life, he will instead complain about how he has been treated. In this way, he assumes the role of a victim.
Everyday life: Even in the most minor situations, some people manage to make themselves a victim of circumstance. For example, you might ask a colleague for a small favor – say, getting you a cup of coffee. He might complain terribly, saying that people are freeloaders and lazy and live off of others and so on… In the end he will do you the favor but continue to complain internally about the “injustice.”
But the reality of the situation is this – he has been asked for a favor, and he has to make a choice. He could say – “I’m sorry, I’m not passing by the coffee machine;” he could say he is too busy or he could even say that he forgot. There are many ways to respond. In this case, however, he chooses to feed the feelings of self-sacrifice – “I’m so pitiful, people are always taking advantage of me… ” – This is a victim mentality.
The person with a victim mentality has a habit of complaining about everything – for example, he/she always has to cook, he/she is forced to work for that terrible boss, traffic is always awful… These complaints are hiding something – that he/she waits and hopes for someone else to fix things. The person doesn’t realize that it was all the result of their own choices.
Often, people with a victim mentality will not say anything directly to the friend, who manipulates them or to the boss, who insults and humiliates them. Instead, they go to someone else to complain and to vent their anger with dramatic tales about their rude and arrogant boss, or their selfish and ungrateful friend. People, who see themselves as a victim of circumstance are always complaining and whining. Rather than taking political action, they vilify political leaders and blame them for the problems in society.
Victims are constantly asking WHY: “Why me? Why are people are so evil? Why won’t the boss give me a raise? Why did he/she leave me?” As they look for answers to these questions, they torment themselves and their resulting self-pity only reinforces their identity as a victim. The question they should ask themselves is: ” Why did this happen now? What can I learn from this situation? How can I avoid this in the future?”
How can you give the victim mentality?
First, it is important to understand why we take on this mindset – what benefits does it bring?
The victim mentality brings :
Attention – when we are in the victim position, we get attention, sympathy and support from people.
When we are a victim, there is no need to take risks or responsibility.
Being a victim gives us an excuse to explain our life circumstances. It is an excuse for the fact that we have not achieved anything. We continue thinking that other people have held us back, they haven’t seen our potential, etc.!
Sometimes being a victim makes you feel part of a community. This community grows out of the very sense that they – the others – are ” bad” and you’re on the “good ” side. Your anger about the injustice of their speeches gives a dramatic and even heroic sense to your suffering.
“Poor Me” gives you a sense identity (albeit false). It makes you feel special. This gives you a passive power that calls people to give you attention and pity.
To be able to part with your victim mentality, you must give up the benefits that it brings.
You should also know that creating a new pattern of thinking and behavior takes time, effort and discomfort. Furthermore, when you first begin to change, you may feel unstable, insecure and vulnerable…
But you have to go through this period if you are to regain power and change your life!
Are you ready to give up the victim mentality and live with confidence?
If the answer is “yes,” you can start taking the first steps now:
1. Release the pain of the past.
To overcome your victim mentality, you must release the pain of all those past experiences, buried deep inside. You need to release negative feelings – fear, guilt, hate, anger, self-pity – because they keep you in captivity and reassert your identity as a victim. Forgive those who have hurt you. As I have written elsewhere, forgiveness does not mean justifying the actions of others. It is a purely internal act of letting go of painful feelings. Only when you forgive will you be free.
2. Take responsibility for your life.
The main thing you need to do to regain power is to take responsibility for your life – for the feelings, thoughts, and reactions you choose to experience. Realize that the complaining, unhappiness, and blaming does not solve your problems. Think about what you personally can do and take action.
3. Remember that you always have a choice – we can always, in every situation, choose how to react. At any moment we can regain power by making the right choice.
4. Change your vocabulary.
Change the words in your vocabulary that make you feel like a victim. For example, instead of ” should,” think ” choose to;” instead of “I hope,” say “I will;” instead of “There’s no way out,” think “I know there’s a way and I will find it;” instead of ” I can’t” say “I will try.”
5. Learn to say “no.”
People who have a victim mentality, often have difficulty saying “no.”
6. Change your attitude.
Change the focus – from what you don’t have or what makes you feel wronged – to what you do have and your strengths. Keep a notebook, listing everything good in your life and practice being grateful about it.
7. Taking small steps outside of your comfort zone.
Begin with just one small step outside your comfort zone, and you will begin to change from a victim into a confident and self-respecting person.
The floor is yours – are you ready to gain more awareness as to when you are slipping into the ‘victim mentality’? What do you usually do when you catch yourself doing it? How do you take responsibility for your own creation? You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below :)

Reasons You Have Nothing to Prove to Anybody

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” ~ Maya Angelou

Most of us walk through the world with the sole agenda of proving our self worth and purpose for being on this earth. While I know we all want to make a difference, and it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out in today’s crazy world of social media, I feel it’s my duty to remind you of why you have nothing to prove to anybody.

I’ll start by saying it simply.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.

A hard concept to grasp I’m sure, but it’s very true and only you can deny it. No one can tell you how much value you have to offer, and there are certainly to “guidelines” by which we can measure a person’s worth.

Where we all run into problems with issues around self worth and value is when we attach our sense of self to what we do and how well we do it. We incessantly compare ourselves to everyone else, which leads to feeling less than, and insufficient.
We learn that if we are attractive enough, smart enough, funny enough, nice enough, giving enough or talented enough that we will be accepted and belong.

The idea of being accepted and loved for who we are without including what we “do” is a novel concept for all of us.

I’ll say it again in case it didn’t go in the first time.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

I can say this without even knowing you because I truly believe that each and every person walking along side of me is worthy, valuable, perfect and enough.
Here are 5 more reasons you have nothing to prove to anybody.

1. Your standards are all that matter
Stop using others as a yardstick for what and who you need to be. Set your own standards for yourself, and if those are too high then check in with yourself about how you developed these unreachable ideas about yourself in the first place. Having realistic and attainable standards for who you are and how you want to walk through this world will keep you grounded in your own authentic worthiness.

2. External validation is fleeting
It feels good to get the gold star or affirmation from someone you respect or admire. No doubt that this is a good thing for anyone. However, this kind of validation is fleeting simply because it’s not yours to own. It’s on borrowed time, and if you don’t do your own work on owning your own value this goodness will slip away. You want to hold this part of yourself sacred so it’s always available when you need it.

3. You’ll never please everyone
There is a hamster wheel for everything in life, and that includes your desire to please others by proving yourself. There will inevitably be that one person who never really sees how great you are (usually a parent) leaving you going back to the empty well over and over. Know that your honorable acts of seeking approval will be futile with a few if not many.

4. You are good enough
You don’t have to be perfect or more than, you just need to be good enough. Good enough has to be determined by you, and you alone. Striving to be perfect or more than you need to be will exhaust you and ultimately leave you feeling defeated because it’s unsustainable.

5. Inadequacy is an internal experience
Recognize that your feelings of not being enough or needing to prove your worth are inside of you. You may experience the feelings when you are around other people, but it’s most likely a projection of your own internal struggle. Work on this in therapy or with a trusted mentor because feeling valued and worthy completely starts within.

What constitutes approval seeking behavior and why do you think so many people are after it?

I really want to know what are your thought on this. You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below 🙂

How to give up your inner critic

If you constantly tell yourself you how much you suck, how not pretty you are, how much smarter you should be, and how much more you should be doing, you are not alone. Every one of us has an inner critic, and success depends on breaking up with her and getting into bed with your true inner voice.
My inner critic shows up often and uninvited. Already, this morning, it told me I haven’t gotten enough work done yet (as I write this article), and that I should have had a healthier breakfast (when it was already healthy enough).
For most of my life, I believed that I was not good enough, that other people were smarter, prettier, more intelligent, more talented… I never acknowledged my successes because in my mind I could have done better. None of those accomplishments mattered because all I could hear was the negative chatter of not having done as much as everybody else.
The truth is, unless you learn to master this voice, you are never going to be satisfied with your life. This can lead to downright emotional exhaustion. You can become a doctor, earn millions of dollars, but if the voice inside tells you it’s not enough, you’re going to want to get another shiny degree, or become a billionaire and you still won’t be any happier once you get there.
Here are 5 ways to drown your inner critic and let the real you shine through.

1. Make a list of all your positive traits and successes

List 30 things that are positive about you. Then, list another 30 of your major successes. Keep this list close to you. Refer to it when your inner critic rears itself. Focusing on the positive qualities and successes helps you feel better about yourself, and feeling better about yourself makes you more productive, happier, and healthier.

2. Keep an inner critic page in your journal

Awareness is the key to beginning to curb your negative thoughts. Pay close attention to when your mind starts to trail off. Write down the thought in your journal so that you can begin to decipher thinking patterns and begin to shift them. A negative thought pattern may sound like “Gosh, I’m stupid. I’ll never do anything right. I can’t get it together. I’m a mess. I’m scattered. I’m not as good as she is. I’m a bad hostess.” Once you’ve got a list going, proceed to the next step.

3. Use thought rebuttals

We’re prone to making blanket statements about ourselves that aren’t true, hearing only what we want to hear when others compliment us, taking things personally, blaming ourselves for not being enough. We use ‘should’ and and ‘never’ without thinking of whether these things are true. Next time you write a negative thought in your inner critic page, ask yourself if it’s true? It most likely isn’t, so write down what is true. Learning to get in touch with reality will help your true voice come out.

4. Create 3 positive mantras from your list of positive qualities

Choose 3 positive qualities from your list. Create 3 positive affirmations you can recite to yourself. Or write them down on post-it notes and leave them on your bathroom mirror, in your car, or in your purse. Having a visual aid will help remind you there are some wonderful things about you even when you’re not feeling it.

5. Visualize a time when you felt successful

Think of a time when you felt successful. Recall the smells, colors, and feelings you felt that day. Visualization is a surprisingly powerful tool that helps reconnect you to a specific feeling, and the more you can connect to that feeling, the more you begin to see yourself as perfect the way you are.
It’s easy to disregard the good parts of you and minimize your accomplishments. But the more you can make space to find the positive, the more you grow, thrive, and become the human you were meant to become. Breaking up with your inner critic and learning to listen to your inner voice isn’t easy, and takes real effort and work, but doing the work and breaking free is the most powerful thing you can do to become your best self.

Resisting the negative emotions

People, who subscribe to the power of positive thinking, tend to have extreme resistance to negative emotion and negative thoughts. We resist suffering, but resistance on top of suffering equals more suffering.

When we get in anger, we feel guilty immediately. The standard in the spiritual community has been that when anybody’s feeling strong intense negative emotion, we’ve got to get them out of it as fast as it’s humanly possible. But the only reason somebody would discourage somebody else from feeling negative emotion is if they themselves have suppressed emotion they don’t want to acknowledge. 

It’s impossible to focus positively when we have something that we’re trying to avoid. When we’re feeling strong negative emotion, we’re feeling desperate. We always get that desperate feeling when we’re trying to get away from something and go towards something else. And obviously, any time we’re trying to get away from something, we’re resisting it and therefore focusing upon it in a subconscious way. Whatever we resist persists. If we would quit resisting it, it would cease to exist. And so, there’s only one option: to positively embrace the negative emotion.

We can’t throw negative emotions out. To say that positive emotions are contrasted beautifully by negative emotions is a bit of an understatement. If we only had positive emotions, they would cease to have their beauty. Without negative feelings, thoughts and experiences, we would never know what happiness and love and freedom really is. We would not have any awareness.

Suffering is a human created event. Suffering is not what we’re supposed to experience here. We’re supposed to soar through the contrast and soar through the negative emotions for what we would prefer to feel. But all the contrast was supposed to do was to give rise to the preference within us. We weren’t meant to then hold ourselves in opposition to that preference. Which is what we are doing. And that’s what we are doing, especially when we make an enemy out of negative emotions. So if we’re capable of seeing the beauty in negative emotions, capable of seeing the beauty even in sadness, then we would move quickly from sadness into the higher emotional states. Then we would see the value in sadness. We wouldn’t feel like there’s some aspects of life that are out to get us and another aspects which we really want. 

Negative emotion is part of our guidance system, which means that negative emotions are valid. We should be encouraging people, when they feel strong negative emotion, to embrace and explore those negative emotions before encouraging them to then focus positively on something that makes them feel better. 

When you can feel that you’re resisting negative emotion, stop running away and just be with yourself and the truth of how you feel and what you’re thinking right here and now. Be with what you’re trying to run away from. Take time to sink into the feeling and really let yourself experience it and question it. And express those emotions instead of suppressing them. Embrace them in any way you can.

Let’s all stop being ashamed of our negative emotions and thoughts and experiences. If we can learn to do that, we will no longer be resisting them and thus, they will transform our realities into something better.

How to develop a positive body image

Considering that our body is the only place we have to live in, it’s very important that we build a positive relationship with it.

Today’s article is a guide to love your body. These are the steps I have taken in moving from someone who didn’t love her body at all, to someone who fully embraces what her body is today and continually improves it to be better.

My wish is that those of you with poor body images will find this guide helpful. Sure, you may hate your body today. Sure, you may have body parts which do not match your ideal body vision. Sure, you may wish that you have an entirely different body altogether. Regardless, it is possible to develop an unconditional, unadulterated love for your body—just as I have. This guide will show you how.

1. Identify the things you do like about your body and start loving them.

Someone with self-body-hate has a tendency to zoom down right to the hateful parts of his/her body whenever he/she sees the mirror. Even if there isn’t anything to hate about a particular body part, he/she can look at that body part and spot imperfections. I can relate because this was the lens I used to wear.

If this is the case for you too, I want you to try something different. The next time you look at your body, look for things that you do like instead. Maybe you have lips that are nice and pouty. Maybe you have killer curves. Maybe you have beautiful eyes. Maybe you have a great smile. Maybe you have nice cheeks.  Maybe you have nice teeth.

Whatever these things are, notice them. Then, celebrate them. Give them credit for being what they are.

Then, make this part of your daily routine whenever you look into the mirror or see images of yourself.

This appreciation process was what I did in my early phase of overcoming my negative body image. My natural tendency then was to notice my body “fats” and put them down repeatedly. This would include my tummy, my “thick” thighs, my double chin, my baby fats, and my round hips. Imagine how tough it was when I gave myself the challenge to look into the mirror and spot things that I liked instead.

While my mind drew a blank for the first few seconds, something soon got my attention—my complexion.

I have a natural, fair complexion which many people often compliment. I realized how lucky I am to have the fair skin as I do today.

Next, I noticed my lips. I suddenly noticed the beauty of my lips in a way I had never noticed before. People have often praised me on my lips before; they would say I have a nice shape to my lips.

Then, I saw my eyes. Oh yes, my eyes, I thought. How could I have forgotten about them?

And the list went on.

With each feature I noticed, something new would catch my attention. Suddenly, I realized there are so many things worth liking about my body—perhaps even more than the number of things I was hating about it. I just had not noticed the former because I had been so busy hating on my body all this while. I felt sad, as it meant that I had been denying my body of the appreciation and love that it deserved.

What did I do then? I began to celebrate the things that I liked about my body. Every time I looked into the mirror, I would dedicate time to appreciating my face and body. It came to a point where the celebration of my looks is now part of my daily routine—not out of narcissism, but out of self-appreciation.

2. Recognize your body is not at fault.

I realized that my body is simply a neutral entity with no emotions. So what if I hate it? So what if I keep scolding it? It’s not going to look any different (as a result of my hating and scolding). If anything, looking back, I actually felt that my body probably looked more haggard than it should because I was harboring so much negative energy against it.

I eventually realized that the only way to address my body issues was (a) to take responsibility for my body woes and (b) to work through them. This meant addressing my self-hate issues. This meant fixing my eating problems and increasing my activity level so that I would achieve a slimmer physique.

While it’s natural to finger point at your body and blame it for all your body woes because it is the one carrying the objects of disdain (such as your fat thighs, chubby cheeks, flabby shoulders, and so on), it’s futile to do so. That’s because your body is neutral. It has no mind of its own. It was created to support your existence and to let you live on earth.

Take responsibility for your body issues and work through them instead of sitting around and hating on your body all day long. This is where the next point comes in.

3. Get to the root of your self-body-hate issues.

Your self-body-hate arose as a symptom of a separate issue. To eradicate your self-body-hate permanently, get to its root cause.

Here are three questions to get started:

  1. What do you dislike about your body?
  2. Why do you hate/dislike your body / body part?
  3. (For whatever answers that come up from Q2…) Why?
From Q3, keep drilling into the answers until you get to the root cause of your self-body-hate. After that, devise a plan to address this root cause.

For example,

  1. What do you dislike about your body? — I dislike my eyes, my large thighs, and my big belly.
  2. Why do you hate/dislike your body / body part? — Because they are so ugly.
  3. (For whatever answers that come up from Q2…) Why? — Because they don’t give me the attention I deserve.
    • What do you mean? — Because guys would pay attention to the girls with big eyes, small thighs, and a flat tummy.
    • Why does this bother you? — Because I want guys to pay attention to me too.
    • Why? — Because guys have rarely paid attention to me since I was young.
    • But is this the fault of your body though? — No it isn’t. My self-body-hate is merely an expression of my frustration of my lack of appeal to the opposite gender.
    • What can you do about this? Firstly, I can work on being more confident. It is said that confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can ever have. Secondly, I should embrace the natural beauty of my looks. Thirdly, if I have an issue with my body weight, I should work on losing weight, rather than hating my body on it. My body is an innocent party that has nothing to do with my self-body-issues.

Notice how the answers started off as surface-level responses (ugly features). Then, they quickly moved down to a deeper-level issue (not being appealing to the opposite gender) through strategic probing. This is then followed by a wrapping of the issue with proper next steps.

For whatever you may seem to dislike/hate about your body, chances are this emotion stems from a deeper-level issue, with body hate being a symptom of the problem. You need to uncover this deeper-level issue by repeatedly challenging the surface-level answers you receive from this exercise.

For me, my self-body-hate was driven by three factors: (a) my fixation with one notion of beauty, in part due to media conditioning and my childhood stories, (b) my lack of respect for my body, (c) my hatred for myself.

4. Work towards your ideal vision of your body, not anyone else’s ideal vision.

One of people’s key motivators to lose weight/change their appearance/look better is to appeal to the opposite gender.

Yet, I want you to always remember to work towards your ideal vision of your body. Meaning—what do you see as the best version of your body? What do you see as your ideal weight (factoring in the healthy height and weight guidelines)? What do you see as your ideal fitness level? Work towards these visions, not other’s visions.

For example, many girls (including me in the past) strive to be skinny because it’s supposedly an archetype of beauty.

However, a skinny body is merely a vision projected by the media. Yes, perhaps some guys do like stick-skinny girls. But if your ideal vision of your body is to have a wholesome body with nice curves, then get that body and rock it! There will always be different guys with different tastes, and whoever likes your body will be drawn to you, and whoever doesn’t like it, won’t.

The most important thing to note is that this is your body, your life. Don’t mold your body just to match others’ visions. Work towards a body that you love, first and foremost. You are the key target audience of your body; everyone else is secondary. Look good for yourself first, then worry about what others think (or better still, don’t worry at all).

5. Embrace the individual beauty of your body. (Unchain yourself from media’s conditioning.)

Size zero. Big eyes. Sharp nose. Sharp chin. Big, pouty lips. Flawless complexion. Long, thin legs. Small waist. Big boobs.

The above is a standard list of criteria for what is perceived to be beauty for a female.

All our lives, we have been fed a certain image of beauty by others. All our lives, we have thought beauty to mean having set features, a set look, and a set height/weight.

However, what if that isn’t true? What if beauty has always been in us all along, just that we are not privy to it due to our conditioning?

Our perception of beauty has been narrowly defined by the media all our lives.

For a while I bought into this image as well. I thought beauty was a class reserved only for people who met that stringent list of criteria.

But then I realized that beauty is more than just about being a certain size and looking a certain way. It made me realize that—hey—beauty doesn’t just in one form, one shape, one color, and one size. Beauty exists everywhere—in all forms, all shapes, all colors, and all sizes

Meaning: there is no one look that is more or less beautiful than another; all looks are beautiful in themselves. This includes your look: whatever features and body type you have. It’s a look that is beautiful and unique to you, in your own special way.

The unfortunate thing is that most people are so fixated on that one notion of beauty that they fail to recognize how beautiful they truly are. And this is such a waste.

Here’s something I want you to do from now on: Rather than stack your body up against a certain mental image, see your body as is. See every single feature of your face/body as it is, without expectations of what it should be or shouldn’t be. Look. Observe. And feel.

Who knows, you may start seeing something you have never seen before. A realization of how beautiful you actually are. A new-found appreciation for your beauty.

6. Be Grateful for Your Body

Are you grateful for the body you have today? Or do you take it for granted?

I find it sad that there are fully able-bodied people berate their bodies endlessly, while you have people who are disabled who utilize their bodies in ways better than those fully able-bodied people ever will.

Take for example, Nick Vujicic. Born with no hands and no legs due to tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder, he struggled mentally, emotionally, and physically as a child due to this condition. He eventually came to terms with his disability and started his own non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs, at the age of seventeen.

You can watch a video about him when you visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLDBgRAvmew

Today, Nick is married (as of 2012), has a son (as of 2013), and speaks all over the world, inspiring people with his personal story of disability, personal struggle, and success.

Another example is Lizzie Velasquez. You can watch her inspiring speech here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c62Aqdlzvqk. She is one of only three people on Earth born with an unusual genetic ailment that prevents her from gaining any weight. She discovered a video of herself on YouTube labeled “The World’s Ugliest Woman” in high school. Unfortunately, the video had already received four million hits on the website. Instead of suffering from anger, hopelessness and depression, she took a different approach to her attitude. After educating some high school freshmen about her rare disorder, she challenged the issue of bullying face-to-face and generated a schedule of dialogue arrangements. As a result, she appeared on multiple television programs which allowed her to produce three books, including “Be Beautiful, Be You.

Think about Nick and Lizzie, then think about how you can better appreciate your body today. Despite being disabled, they have embraced their bodies and accomplished so much in their lives. It’s a sign to us to be grateful for the bodies we have today and put them to better use.

7. Be the best owner of your body.

Last but not least, be the best owner of your body.

You may be given this body at birth. However, have you justified your place as your body’s rightful owner? Have you cared and treated your body in a way that’s in its highest good of all?

Chances are you haven’t. So many of us abuse our bodies. We smoke, drink, eat junk food, laze around (or exercise ferociously for some), hurt ourselves, deprive ourselves of sleep, etc.—without considering the damage we are doing with each of those actions.

Myself, I used to abuse my body with binge eating, ferocious exercising thereafter, and minimal rest due to my constant self-pressurization. In retrospect, I was such an unworthy owner of my body. I was blessed with this body, and yet I failed to take good care of it.

The good thing is that my previous episode of body abuse and self-body-hate made me truly treasure my body. Today, I longer abuse my body. I rest when I need to. I consume the best food for my body. I regulate my eating. I engage in a healthy level of physical activity to keep my body fit. I don’t drink except at specific social outings, and even then that only happens once every few months.

I’m proud to say that I now manage my body in a way that’s to its highest good, and I can’t think of anyone who can be a better owner of my body than me myself.

Here are some questions to get you going in being the best owner of your body:

  1. What is your ideal, healthiest diet for your body?
  2. What is your ideal level of physical activity that will keep your body at prime condition?
  3. What lifestyle habits/changes will make the biggest difference in your life?
  4. Do you have any bad habits which are jeopardizing your body and which you should cut right away? What are they?
  5. For your answers to Q1–4, how can you start realizing them today?