I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot lately. It’s something that affects both men and women and it’s especially important at this time in our lives. We hear our friends talk about it, read magazine articles and watch news reports about it, and we look in the mirror every day and think about it; body image. I’m talking about being comfortable in your own skin and loving the body that you have. I honestly have never been happy with my body which is so incredibly silly. Being a dance major or dancer in general makes it difficult to avoid being nit-picky about how you look. We are forced to stare at ourselves in mirrors for hours on end, every single day. But I honestly believe that we all struggle with thoughts of unsatisfying body appearance no matter how hard we try and no matter who we are.

About a year ago I was forced to discover (after spending way too much time worrying about how proportional my lower half was to my upper body) that what my view of perfection was, was actually unsatisfying to most normal people. So I quickly decided that all of that worrying energy could easily be used to remind myself of all of the wonders that my body has to offer. I began looking around at every single person I knew, female and male, and realized that there literally are no two bodies alike. Now, I know that we hear that same phrase all of the time as we’re growing up but honestly it’s difficult to admit that you can’t make yourself look like someone else. We all develop our own personalized image of perfection through viewing celebrities in movies, on the television, and on the internet (and pictures of random beauties on tumblr *cough cough*) and then we set about striving to become these people but it takes the fun out of so much of life!

If we can focus on achieving our personal best rather than achieving the look of the beautiful girl sitting next to us in class, we can reach a new level of happiness. In the past several months I have started to make some key changes in my life. The first change came in August when I was in a rehearsal with 5 gorgeous ladies. I distinctly remember looking around the room and thinking to myself, “Wow we all look awesome!” Granted, we are all dancers so we train hard but we literally all have different bodies; VERY different bodies. After that day I tried to think that same thing every single time I started to feel bad about myself. Some of us have toned muscles, some of us have a little extra in certain areas, and yes some of us have small waists and really big hips but if we’re all healthy then we’re all beautiful!

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The other thing that I began focusing on was simply being healthy and taking care of myself. If we stress out about calorie counting and working out until we’ve burned more calories than is humanly possible then chances are we aren’t ever going to be happy. Being healthy takes a lot more than just looking a certain way. There’s a certain glow that a healthy and happy person has throughout their daily lives. I have been consistently working out and eating healthy for at least an entire year, if not longer and let’s be honest, my body looks good! However, since about May/June of this year, I started to let go a little bit because indulging every once in a while is not bad! Food is essential to life and if you’re taking care of yourself you should love what you’re eating and enjoy the amazing things that can happen with food. There is way too much to stress about when it comes to your body so instead of looking at it as a chore or an unreachable goal start to simply take joy in knowing that you’re taking care of your body both inside and out. Because eating well and working out makes you look and feel happy. And truthfully, nobody looks good when they’re stressed, underfed, overworked, and unhappy with themselves. I can say I have never felt better than I have since making this discovery of living happy, healthy, and free! Our bodies are all that we are!

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