By previous writer Lianne Figueroa

Something I can say for a lot of women is that it has gotten a lot harder to feel completely confident in our own bodies lately, and most of us have social media to thank for that.

From the girls who think their lips “don’t look full enough” to the girls who feel their skin tones aren’t light or dark enough, it sounds to me like nothing is ever going to be enough these days. Our brains have already been programmed to want more than what we have in order to reach a certain level of satisfaction, perhaps because we are constantly bombarded with images of often unattainable standards everytime we log into a social app.

Of course, there are plenty of men and women who are comfortable in their own skin, and that is a beautiful thing. But, I want to focus on the importance of loving the skin you’re in for those of you reading this who aren’t happy with what you see when looking in the mirror.

Some of us believe our hair isn’t pretty enough because it doesn’t grow very long or isn’t straight enough, or that our skin is too oily or too dry. “If only my waist could look like hers,” we think to ourselves as we scroll through our news feeds.

To the girls who don’t feel pretty enough because they’re too thick or aren’t thick enough—you’re beautiful as you are.

It gets to be very disappointing to realize that so many girls I know, myself included, spend more time feeling embarrassed about appearances than being happy.

I want to acknowledge that insecurities come in various forms, and even someone whose figure you would kill for might not feel beautiful inside. For a long time, a couple of my friends and I were under the impression that women who were on the skinnier side of the spectrum had no obvious insecurities, or at least not as many as other girls had. I don’t think we were the only ones who made these assumptions.

After all, any models we saw while growing up were skinny, tall, and portrayed as “beautiful” for those reasons. But a lot of us, including myself, forgot to stop and question whether or not skinny actually meant happy and healthy—those traits are not synonymous.  

I’ll be the first to admit that I was seriously fooled by some of the beliefs that our society instilled in us through magazines, television shows, music videos, and now especially Instagram. I fell into the trap on

many occasions of comparing myself to other girls.

Yet, after hearing some feedback from girls I grew close to, I realized how wrong I was. Hearing their confessions opened my eyes and my mind to the fact that skinnier girls were allowed to feel insecure too: for not being able to put on any weight, and not having the kind of curves we were made to believe make us “prettier.”

Even recently, after reading Jhene Aiko’s “2Fish” poetry book, I learned that she did not feel pretty because she had always felt she was too skinny compared to others. Could you imagine that? A woman as brave and soulful as Jhene Aiko feeling less than beautiful for something that is out of her control? And I know a lot of girls who do the same thing—letting things beyond our control and that make us unique break us down.

It is important to remember that you can be heavier and still be healthier and more in shape than someone who weighs less, and you can still be beautiful without all the curves. You can have oily, dry, or combination skin and be whole.

What matters most is how energized you feel, how cleansed your body is, and how much love you allow yourself to receive. Look in the mirror and take in the color of your skin and the texture and length of your hair, and understand you were made to be you.

Love the weight on your bones, no matter how much or how little, and love your beautiful smile—and encourage yourself to show it whenever you look at yourself in the mirror. After all, no matter what you are going through, you have made it here alive. Smile for that if nothing else.

I’m here to remind everyone that we owe it to ourselves to be a little less focused on everyone else’s looks, and a lot more content with shaping ourselves into the healthiest and happiest we can be ON OUR OWN. We owe it ourselves and the beautiful individuals around us to be more accepting and more loving.

So here is what I want more than anything for every girl to know for sure:

1. Our appearances do not define us because our circumstances do not define who we are.

2. We were not brought into this world to decide that our looks are the only things that can truly make us happy.

3. We were meant to be diverse and we were meant to accept the different colors, shapes, and sizes we come in because these are the things that paint a better, more holistic picture of our world.

Have you struggled with body image? What do you do to make yourself feel beautiful inside and out? Talk to us in the comments below.

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