This is the same old song that has been sung by so many – Dove, my mother, Tyra Banks – but I don’t feel like women get it all of the time, at least this woman doesn’t. But we really have to stop hating ourselves. We have to stop looking in the mirror and seeing all of the flaws and none of the beauty.

I am trying to be intentional about loving myself. I think negative things about me all the time: I look at my thighs and think “cellulite”; I look in the mirror and think “zits”; I look at my hair and think “not curly enough” or “not straight enough” or “too dry” or “too oily.” I’m just a mess, a terrible mess. And sometimes thinking all of these negatives things about me makes me hate me a little. It makes me want to hit something – hit it hard.

But I have to stop doing that. I have to stop doing it because the bottom line is I am imperfect, and I am going to do imperfect things and look imperfect and be completely imperfect sometimes. But imperfections are not flaws; imperfections are not ugly; imperfections are not unworthiness.

Once I realized how much I was hating myself, I knew that I had to stop. I have a niece; one day I might have a daughter. The last thing I want is for them to get bogged down with self-hatred. So, I have been intentional about looking in the mirror and thinking, “You’re pretty,” instead of, “You’re hair is a hot mess.” I’ve taken to looking at my thighs and thinking, “I’m so glad that I have these thighs; they are beautiful and they complement my body so well.”

It’s about way more than saying, “Your hair isn’t that crazy today,” or “You’re thighs aren’t that bad looking.” In fact, I don’t like that at all – saying “not that bad stuff” is just hating yourself to a lesser degree.

What intentionally thinking we’re beautiful is about is looking at yourself – myself – and seeing ourselves, thinking about ourselves as beautiful. This is about more than becoming “okay” with your flaws; it is about not seeing them as flaws anymore. It is about recognizing your flaws and calling them beautiful.

This photographer took these pictures of regular women in the nude around their houses – women of all shapes and all sizes, and I imagine that would be so terrifying because you just know that someone will look at your body and think, “What the hell was SHE thinking doing that? Just leave some things to the imagination.” But I love it – I love it so, so, so, so, so much. These women’s bodies were not perfect – they had stretch marks and cellulite just like my body; breasts were sagging and bellies were not flat, but their bodies – their imperfect bodies – are so far from being flawed. I look at the pictures and see how beautiful they are, every single one of them. And I am working on seeing myself like I see these women – beautiful with my flaws, not in spite of them. 

So, I’m working on loving myself. The Bible tells me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, and I believe that. I believe that hating on myself does not honor my creator at all, and I want to honor him as much as I can. This is a good place to start.