One way to be less critical of your body is to appreciate the amazing things it can do: run a marathon, or a mile; paint a house, or a chair; deliver a baby, or a meal to a neighbor in need.

What about your body pleases you?
Lips and Hips
As a small girl, I was teased constantly about my large lips and big legs. As an adult woman, those are the things that I love the most about my body. My legs allow me to stand up, run away, or race towards people and situations. My lips allow me to express my thoughts, feelings and emotions. In addition, both of these blessings are a daily declaration of my ethnicity. I am ethnic and proud. Once I accepted full lips and big hips, then I accepted myself, my ancestors, and all my glory.
Rayana Mariland
Detroit, MI

See the Real Me
I will never be a beauty queen or Hollywood starlet, but at least when I look in the mirror I can see that I have lived! The skin covering my stomach is that of a mother. I have four wonderful children and was blessed with twins the last time around. Most of the baby weight is now gone, but the sagging skin is a daily reminder of the amazing journey my body has taken in bringing new lives into the world. My breasts too, evidence the tell-tale signs of childbearing. Cosmetic surgery could be an option, but why go through all that when a simple push-up bra will do the job? Besides, I find it much easier to continue my running regime when I don't have to suit up the "gals" in body armor. At the ripe old age of 38, I finally love my body. The unhappy days of trying to mold myself into a media-driven, idealized image are past. I embrace the healthier, fuller, satisfied woman that has emerged. That is the real me, and she is beautiful.
Stephanie Hicks
Bend, OR

The Skin I'm In
My skin pleases me. At 35, I believe I still have smooth, radiant skin. I was diagnosed with melanoma at 22 years old (I used to be a lifeguard and swim instructor). Ever since then, I have been extremely diligent about sun protection (I have several pictures of me over the subsequent years in a very large-brimmed hat), and I believe that the care I took in those early years is paying off now. While I can be overly critical of every other part of my body, I am especially proud of my skin.
Michelle Wynne
Sarasota, FL


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