Are you one of the 91% of women who are unhappy with their bodies (dosomething.org)?
Have you ever resorted to dieting to achieve your ideal body shape?
And where did this picture in your mind of the 'perfect' body come from?
Let me guess - the media?
If you're someone who actively engages with popular magazines, TV shows and social media, it's highly likely that your idea of what is and isn't beautiful will be skewed.
Gossip magazines are filled with unflattering pictures of celebs along with pages solely dedicated to 'fat-shaming'; while fashion magazines promote and praise nothing but a slim body shape - a shape which only 5% of women naturally possess.
Reality TV shows such as Love Island offer a huge misrepresentation of our world and seem to readily award people who are obsessed with their looks and fame hungry. To the young girls consuming it, they're being told that if you get breast implants, wear extremely revealing clothes and have sex on TV, society will reward you. Screw working hard or doing something meaningful with your lives, when you can get your kit off and never have to worry about money again - if, of course, you're deemed 'attractive' enough.
Are we genuinely claiming to be surprised when we hear that 90% of 15-17 year old girls want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance (statistic brain)?
The majority of us are easily influenced, not only by what we see but by the opinions of others too. All it takes is one group of gossipy teenage girls or women making snide comments about your appearance, for you to begin questioning yourself and the way you look. All it takes is one comment, one insult, one cruel person to make you feel worthless and unattractive.
It's no wonder that girls and women endlessly struggle with self-confidence and self-love.
Here's the deal - none of what you're consuming through the media is real, and none of it matters. Everything they create is done with the sole purpose of making as much money as they can. They don't care how they do it and they definitely don't think twice about the damage they're causing in the process to young women.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you made a vow to yourself to stop consuming this garbage? To stop checking the Daily Mail? To stop scrolling endlessly on Instagram? To stop indulging in celebrity culture? If you took a week off from all of it, how different do you think you might feel?
When did you start allowing your worth to be determined by the way you look?
What about all of the beauty that lives inside of you?
The next time you look in the mirror, look past what you're met with at first. Look past the outline of your figure, the lumps, bumps, and stretch marks, any roundness you wish to be gone, anything you've been convinced to see as imperfection.
Pay attention to everything else. Your beautiful mind. All of the wonderful things your body allows you to do. And the quiet murmur of your heart-song. Because I promise you these are the only things that truly matter.