By Kristen Donia

The original title for this article was “What Does A Positive Body Image Look Like?” That was until I realized that in the context of our bodies, it isn’t about what a body looks like, contrary to what the media might have us all believe, it matters how it feels. So the title became, What Does A Positive Body Image Feel Like? When was the last time you took a step back and considered what you “say” to your body on a daily basis? Do you berate it? Do you praise it? Do you tell it it’s not good enough while comparing it to so many others on social media? Me, too.

What if, even for the next minute or hour, you were grateful for everything your body did for you? The breaths it takes without your awareness, providing your heart with the necessary oxygen for basic function. The thoughts that lead to action, carrying you throughout your day, allowing you to wake, remember the minuscule and important details of your life, think, love, imagine, communicate, and much more. Just think of all the ways in which our bodies perform without our direct attention. It would be amazing right? To live in a world (and a body) where we constantly praise and reinforce the pretty fricken amazing things it does, rather than constantly find ways in which to criticize it.

So to answer the somewhat rhetorical question I originally posed…a positive body image does not look like anything in particular and that is where our society has in the past, got it all wrong. Only now are we coming around to the fact that our culture has cornered us into never feeling quite right in our own skin. When it turns out, [spoiler alert] we are good enough. You, my dear, are you, and that is perfect and just as it should be. In this series, which will occur monthly on Teen Strong, we will discuss The Body Positivity Movement, the effects social media has on positive body image, and the ways in which we can feel good and even begin to celebrate our bodies.

You are the only you, no one can be your beautiful combination of cells, thoughts, and words – only you do that. So let this serve as a reminder that you’re good enough. Let’s start there together, where we could have been all along. Feeling good about ourselves, together. Not torn apart by comparison of our differences.