hug yourselfsmallThroughout history the “ideal” female body has changed quite a bit.  While women during the Italian Renaissance (1400-1700) were considered beautiful if they had large breasts, rounded stomachs and full hips, hundreds of years later, flappers in the 1920’s were idealized if they had flat chests, slim waists and boyish figures.  Today, society considers the ideal woman to have a flat stomach, be “healthy” skinny, have large breasts and butt and a thigh gap.

If the ideal body shape and size is always changing, how can women keep up?  The simple answer is that       unless we want to be miserable trying to strive for an unrealistic ideal that we may never reach, we can’t.  And, why would we want to?

This Valentine’s Day might be the perfect time for you to begin loving the skin you’re in instead of wishing you looked like someone else.   If you need inspiration to get started, check out Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign.  This campaign has been helping women and girls embrace their bodies and build self-esteem for over a decade.  One of their most popular and viral campaigns is called Real Women with Real Bodies.  It depicts woman of all shapes and sizes posing in their bras and underwear and is meant to debunk the stereotypes that only thin is beautiful.

Reading motivational poems, watching empowering music videos or searching Pinterest for inspirational quotes and affirmations are all actions you can take to help you feel better about yourself.  One poem that always makes me feel beautiful and sexy is called Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou.  Colbie Caillat’s song “Try” reminds us all that we are naturally beautiful inside and out and search the words positive body image on Pinterest and you’ll find a plethora of body positive inspiration.

But, one of the most powerful things you can do to show yourself some love this Valentine’s Day is to make a  list of 100 things you love about yourself that have absolutely nothing to do with what you look like.  Check out the Harper Honey Blog to see the 100 things she likes about herself to get some inspiration for your own list.

Leave me a comment below.  I’d love to hear about the items you put on your list.

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About the author:

katieKatie FitzGerald is the Director of Communications at Walden Behavioral Care. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Framingham State University in Framingham, MA and her Master’s Degree in Journalism from Emerson College in Boston, MA. She is the editor of the Walden Blog and maintains the company’s social media pages. Ms. FitzGerald enjoys exercising and wellness writing, and is passionate about using technology to help people with mental illness get the help they need.