When's the last time you looked in the mirror and genuinely thought to yourself, "Wow, I love my body so much"? If you can't recall the last time you felt that way about yourself, that's OK. You're not alone at all: So many other women are in the same exact boat.
Learning how to love your body in a world that constantly tells you about all the things you should try to change, shrink, or perfect in order to be "enough" (whatever that means) is exceedingly difficult — but, that doesn't mean it's impossible.
First of all, it's important to say here that loving your body doesn't have to be something you do or feel every single day of your life. We
all have those days when we're not feeling our best, when even looking in the mirror feels a little too overwhelming. Still, the power of positive self-esteem can't be understated: According to the Marbella International University Centre, people with higher levels of self-esteem have an easier time trusting their own judgment, approve of themselves despite what others might say, understand and appreciate their own value as human beings, and are much less afraid of failure than those with lower levels of self-esteem.
Again, having a high self-esteem and a positive outlook on your appearance doesn't have to come naturally every single day — and the reality is, it won't. Take these 20 women, for example, who are on the long and difficult road to loving their bodies, just like you are. While they've definitely struggled along the way to achieving self-love, they've also found some pretty astounding and stunning things to love about their bodies.
Some Women Love The Way Their Body Moves
I’m 25 years old now. I’ve seen my body change and how it changes day to day, even hour by hour. It’s not something static; snapshots on social media don’t do anyone justice to the dynamic, amazing bodies we have. To answer your question though, I love how my body moves. Not in pieces, but all together. This fleshy home of mine is by no means perfect. It’s getting cellulite in new places, I have stretch marks and belly creases, and my joints makes bizarre noises, but it moves, and it looks good when it does. That’s what I love about my body.
— Melanie, 25
Others Appreciate The Simple Things, Like Their Hands And Feet
I have learned [to] love and appreciate my feet and my hands. While these are two very useful parts of me, most of my life I didn't like that my toes were too long and my feet too big or my fingers were too long and skinny. However, about two years ago when my father had gotten really sick with cancer, I began to learn to love these parts of me...because they looked just like his. I had never taken the time to see that all along my hands and feet I had gotten from my dad. I learned to love something about myself that used to bother me because since my dad has passed, I am reminded every single day that he will always be a part of me. While his hands and feet were far more tough than mine will ever be, I will cherish them just the same and hope to someday be half the person my father was.
— Megan, 23
Some Women Love Their Booty
Honestly, I love my butt. I feel great when I find outfits that show it off instead of hiding it.
— Daylyn, 25
Some Love How Good Their Body Is To Them, No Matter What
I am 22 years young and I love my body! I love the stretch marks on my thighs, I love the freckles all over my skin and I love lines I have on my tummy from the cute little belly rolls. But what I love the absolute most about my body is how good it is to me no matter how bad I can be to it. I have overworked my body. I have starved my body. I have burnt my body in the sun. I have overstuffed my body. I have under appreciated my body. I have been ashamed of my body. I have abused my body. I have failed to love my body in the past. But it still loves me, and every day I am learning to love it the way it loves me.
— Mary, 22
Some Women Love Being Tall (Even After Years Of Hating It)
As a 14 year old girl I felt too tall. Now, at 5'10, I feel extra beautiful.
— Leysi, 20
Some Women Simply Love That It's Their Body, And No One Else's
I’m 22 and a half and can say, without a doubt, that my relationship with my body is entirely different now than it was five years ago. Back in high school I struggled with my self-image in multiple ways. Firstly, I struggled to find positive representation that looked like me, an Asian American. Then I struggled with the fact that even as a teenager I was taller than most of my classmates (I’m about 5’11 now) and this not only made me subject to ridicule from women, but also men. I also had cellulite and stretch marks, two things we struggle to see represented in the media to this day. These factors resulted in unhealthy coping mechanisms in order to deal with what I deemed “unattractive” about myself. After years of struggle I’m finally in a healthy relationship with my body and give it the love and care it needs. I don’t care if my weight fluctuates anymore, it’s okay if I go for that second slice of cake, it’s fine if my stretch marks show in my bikini. This is my body and I won’t let anyone tell me I shouldn’t love it just the way it is.
— Tessa, 22
Others Look At Their Body Like A Powerful Warrior
My teenage years were filled with bits of distain for myself. I told myself I need to look different, I needed to be different, I needed to be…someone else. My later twenties have looked different. My body has birthed babies, fed and sustained them. It has learned and grown and has scars to prove all of [the] pain. When I look in the mirror now I don’t see someone who needs to be any different. I see someone who has been a warrior and stood through obstacles that some say wouldn’t be overcame. I feel strong and healthy, beautiful and loved. I wish someone would have told me as a teenager to stop searching for what the world may or may not bring you, but to find satisfaction with and of yourself. Smiling into the mirror looks so much better than tears falling at your feet.
— Danielle, 28
Some Love Everything From Their Hips To Their Calves
My hips, my eyes, my breasts, my calves, my back.
— Beatrice*, 24
One Woman Loves That Her Body Allows Her To Flourish
I love how I can look at my body — whether I’m sitting slouched over, posing in front of the mirror, bloated from my period, or just finished a great workout — and no matter what be able to say with confidence: "You are beautiful, thank you for enabling me to flourish in this life, I love you."
— Jordan, 23
Others Love How Mindful Their Bodies Have Grown To Be
I just turned 27 and what I’m loving about myself right now is that there have been more veins popping up around my arms haha this might sound weird but I’ve always thought the veins on your hands and the tiny ones on your forearms were so cool and had never had any until now haha but another thing (that’s not as weird lol) that I love about my body is my mindset lately, it has been super mindful especially the past couple of years, about the environment and how we treat it as well as how we treat others. Being respectful is necessary! How we act towards others is crucial to how our future will act 100’s of years from now.......so my mindset lately on a variety of topics/situations have been very opening and loving but also pushing towards this positive movement, encouraging others to be more happy and uplifting rather than negative and angry.
— Nicolette, 27
But You Can Also Love Your Body For Its Most Basic Functions
I am now in the last year of my 20's and what I appreciate about body has changed, because my health and therefore perception has changed. What I appreciated at 13 was my flat stomach, at 18 it was my golden tan skin. Yet those things can fade as quick as a spring flower. Just within the last eight years I've struggled with an unknown chronic illness. There are days I'm good and days I'm tired and in pain. I am often bloated and tired, my skin is pale, I always have dark circles under my eyes. A healthy diet affords me more good days than bad, but this body is not the "ideal" package. However what I NOW love about my body is its ability to perform what may seem like the most basic functions. Yet in reality these actions/functions, like the ability to breathe, laugh, cry, eat, drive, cook, clean, dance, rest, plan, create, go for walks and watch the rain are in and of themselves extraordinary. We are amazing creations and I am thankful for this vessel even with all its cracks and bruises.
— Chantelle, 29
And For All Of Its Perfect Imperfections
What I love about my body is the smoothness of my skin on my hips, the way my arm hairs stick up when I’m passionate about something that I’m talking about, the way my eyelashes look with or without makeup, and I love that both of my pinky nails are different sizes because it makes me feel unique and reminds me that no matter what, nothing in this world is perfect or the same, even our fingernails. I also love my long scarred up legs because every scar is basically my skin telling my stories.
— Cristina, 25
Your Body Can Also Make You Feel Empowered And In Control
I like my body because it's a medium for me to shape, through yoga and exercise, to understand and appreciate myself better and de-stress! It makes me feel empowered to control my mind through what I'm physically born with.
— Francesca, 21
Some Women Love That Their Face Allows Them To Express Themselves
I have a great face! It's fun and expressive and a little rounder but it speaks the words I sometimes hold back.
— Chloe*, 29
Others Love That Their Body Is Part Of Their Identity
I like my body because it's mine. Since I've grown up I've become much more appreciative of what my body is — it's me! Its been with me through everything (obviously) and once I started realizing that I didn't see it as an object with "space for improvement."
— Nina, 21
Don't Forget, Your Body Also Allows You To Travel The World
I am a 24 year old woman who has struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember. Up until the age of 20 I thought of myself as overweight and so did many other people who’s opinions were usually irrelevant. Slowly I began to shift my perspective about my “thick” legs and broad shoulders and view myself as a woman with an athletic build. I’ve always been active in sports, working out, and yoga so it became less about what my body looks like to others and more about being thankful for what it is capable of. I love that I can push my mind and my body is strong enough to follow. I love that my body is mine and I’m the only one who has the power to change it. I love that no matter how fat or skinny I appear, I know that my heart, mind, and soul remain the same. I am beyond grateful that I have a fully functional body which allows me to stay active and travel the world.
— Alyssa, 24
Some Women Love Their Back And Shoulders
Although strange, I love my back and shoulders, I have broad shoulders and a wide back and it took me many years to stop slumping over to hide it and to stand up tall and proud!
— Holly*, 22
Others Love That Their Body Can Be Strong And Soft At The Same Time
I love that my body is strong and soft at the same time. That it allows me to show emotion when words aren't enough. I love the way I can dance when I'm out with friends, or take long walks and enjoy nature. I've never loved the way I look — but that's secondary to everything my body allows me to do and experience.
— Dina*, 24
Some Women Embrace Their Curly Hair And Freckles
At 22, this is hard to answer.... But I’d have to say my curly hair, freckles, lips, and my lil A cup boobies.
— Susanna, 22
And Yes, You Can Love Your Body's Scars
I love my scars, [they] make me feel like I had an adventurous life. It is more of an anxiety scars type of thing yet it makes me happy that I survived all the sadness.
— Fiona*, 23
* Name has been changed.