I see tall ladies stooping down, short ladies raising themselves up with heels, flat-chested women padding their bras, voluptuous women hiding behind baggy, dark clothing. How comfortable are you in your skin? As a Nutritional Therapist and Eating Psychology Coach, I listen to women's stories. I hear the self-limiting beliefs, the struggles, the battles with body and food.
Where does this idea of 'not good enough as I am' come from? In my experience we are usually our harshest critics. We become hypersensitive so that even a hint of criticism from someone sticks to us like Velcro while a complement washes away like grease on a Teflon pan. We manipulate comments to validate our own beliefs. But the truth is that we are looking through a distorted lens and not seeing the beautiful reality as it is.
So here is my tuppence-worth on International Women's Day: let's celebrate ourselves unconditionally, exactly as we are, right now.
Here are my six keys to help shift the distorted lens through which we so often judge ourselves:
1. Stick paper on the wall and ask a friend to draw your outline. You might be surprised that you are not as big as you imagine yourself to be.
2. Put a paper bag over your head (with holes for the eyes!) and see your body. When we can't see our face we can look objectively at our body. Start with your feet. Notice something beautiful about them. Then look at your legs. See how your thighs give you strength. Reframe every part of your body into a positive - no criticism is allowed!
3. Do the happy dance! Dance in front of the mirror saying in your head 'this is me. I accept myself as I am.' Choose an empowering song like Alessia Cara's Scars to You're Beautiful or Robbie Williams I Love My Life and sing along!
4. Hold the body part you feel most uncomfortable with every day for at least a couple of minutes. Make peace with it.
5. Look at old photos. Take stock of the journey you have been on. Many ladies are shocked to see that they weren't as overweight as they believed themselves to be. They were gorgeous! Recognise what a waste of energy all the self-attack is.
6. Celebrate your lineage. Do you have the same body frame as your mother or grandmother? Did they feel inadequate? Recognise the qualities you have inherited. Celebrate them if not for yourself, then for your daughters.
Like a snake maybe it's time to shed our old skin and emerge accepting ourselves as we truly are. Our longest relationship is with ourselves - let's make it a harmonious one!
HuffPost UK is running a month-long project in March called All Women Everywhere, providing a platform to reflect the diverse mix of female experience and voices in Britain today
Through blogs, features and video, we'll be exploring the issues facing women specific to their age, ethnicity, social status, sexuality and gender identity. If you'd like to blog on our platform around these topics, email firstname.lastname@example.org