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The media makes it hard to love yourself, but you don’t have to listen.

Your body, health, soul, and spirit are a beautiful gift all together, but the world doesn’t always tell you that.

On one side, an exquisitely photoshopped women stands in front of a mirror, posed precisely to accentuate her already-thin waist and strong-yet-lean body. She has thousands of Instagram followers, all of whom adore her online personality.

They call her “health goals.”

Her hair is perfectly messy, her arms are perfectly toned, and her entire image is perfectly filtered. The only imperfections on the scene are:

  • A: The gross gym bathrooms in the background.
  • And B: The ever-so-slightly, almost impossible to see warped scene around the edges of her figure, evidence of a computer’s intervention in her waist. 

That small, secondary imperfection really makes you think. “Neat! I had no idea a wall could bend like that!”

(I’m kidding.)

The other side of the “beauty” argument is the one I love with every fiber of my being: the overtly positive viewpoint, the one that calls for you to love yourself, accept yourself, and celebrate yourself.

Personally, I choose to subscribe to this new method of thought – the one that asks for kindness, patience, and love.

However, loving your body isn’t always easy.

Serial photoshopping, false health information, unsustainable weight loss schemes, and body shaming run rampant like a disease across the globe. These are the factors stand in the way of self love. They demand that we give up our battle and give in to the tiny demon that whispering in our ears, the one telling us that we’re incapable and inadequate, that we don’t look perfect and are therefore undeserving of joy.

It’s easy to forget that your body is a gift.

In the face of all that negativity, you might fail to remember just how remarkable your are. Your gift, like an old friend that you stopped checking in with, gets forgotten. Your body becomes the Christmas gift you opened but never quite got around to appreciating.

This can manifest itself in a few ways. You might start wearing baggier clothes, hiding your body away for later. You might not allow yourself to use your body in ways that are fun and liberating, like dancing by the pool or on tables. These scenarios build up and start to have an effect on your life. You start to feel inadequate just because you’re told you are in imagery.

However, when you look at the facts, you’re truly incredible. And mind you, I haven’t met you. I can’t speak to your double-people-over-with-laughter sense of humor or your unique set of talents and abilities. I can’t compliment you on your strong soul– the one that gets up again and again after being pushed down.

But, I can tell you this: your body is capable of amazing, amazing things.

I stumbled upon this pretty epic slideshow of body-centric facts and discovered some very incredible things. Did you know that you – yes you, are made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms? All of those atoms exist to make you who you are, which is really kind of epic. 

Those atoms and molecules and proteins and more give you a brain and a heart. Your brain is full of knowledge, wonder, and creativity, and when you’re awake, it produces enough electricity to light up a light bulb. Meanwhile, your heart controls its own orchestra: a system of 100,000 miles of blood. It produces enough energy to pilot a truck down a scenic way for 20 straight miles.

Not only is your heart powerful, but it is also perceptive: your heartbeat responds to music, and will adjust its pace to accompany your earbud symphony.

Humans have engineered light out of nothing, have conquered land, air, sea, and even space. We have traveled to the most ancient parts of the world, and have seen incredible things with our eyes, which, by the way, can see about 10 million different colors.

People can complete 100-mile races. They can climb to the top of the Earth’s peak, and lift weights over three times their own mass. Humans have found hope in the darkest of times, and have persevered through terrors beyond belief.

We have made it so far. Your existence is a product of grit, tenacity, and effort. Your existence is beautiful, and epic, and startlingly awesome. Look at all that others have accomplished – surely there is no reason why you are not capable of greatness.

What, just because of what you look like? No.

You are tough as nails (seriously, your body contains enough iron to form a 3-inch nail), powerful as thunder, and a scientific wonder. It is your right and your duty to love yourself, for to do anything else would be a disservice to the greatness you encompass.

I implore you to treat your body as a gift.

The next time you want to give in to the demons in your mind, fight them off. You are fully equipped to conquer all the trials and tribulations that come your way, including the challenge of practicing self-love.

But, I believe in you, as do those who love you most. So treat your body as it deserves to be treated, and think about yourself as you deserve to be thought about.

Your body is a gift, and most importantly, so are you.

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Author Casey Douglas

Casey Douglas is a junior year at Boston University, where she studies public relations and anthropology. In her free time, she enjoys lifting weights, getting lost on runs in the city, and eating grapes. Casey hopes to one day work in the communications industry and represent a company in the field of health and fitness.

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