“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” – Coco Chanel

A few years ago, a dear friend of mine told me something that totally took me by surprise. I was complaining about my hair, I wanted it to be thicker, brighter and longer. She looked at me with compassion and said: “Dear, maybe if you start loving it, it will love you back?” That was mind-blowing. Loving my hair? What did she mean by that? Today I get it and I want to share what this “hair love” meant for me with you.

We’ve been conditioned by society to believe in beauty standards of the moment in order to fit in. We intuitively know that the definition of “good-looking” is very personal and subjective, but it is a basic human need to be liked and accepted, to feel a sense of approval from the group or community. So if someone you trust once told you your nose was too big or your legs were too short, you believed this subjective judgment and it became your own truth.

Loving our bodies is a necessity. Your body is the only place you have to live in.  It is the temple of your soul.

Here’s what helped me redefine the relationship with my body and find my own kind of beautiful:

Make friends with my body. I have learned how to take good care of it. Give it enough sleep, nourishing foods and plenty of water. Sleep well and, despite my busy schedule, find time to charge my batteries and relax. If I don’t have the time I need, I make sure I make it. We all get 24 hours a day.

Healthy is beautiful. I have started to use exercise as a way to build feel-good hormones, be healthy and have fun, not get “the perfect body.”

Stop criticizing any aspects of my body. Words are powerful. I came to understand that, the more I complain about my negative body image, the more I start to believe it.

Stop comparing my body to others. No two bodies are the same: we are all unique and it is our uniqueness that makes each of us special.

Not everyone is watching! I stopped imagining everyone passing by on the street have their eyes on me and judging me. In most of the cases, it’s only a story created in my mind. People have many other things occupying their minds rather than the way I look.

Beauty is subjective. I know I will never please everyone, no matter how I look and how much I might try.

Focus on what I like. Whenever I go into “flaws thinking,” I find a positive thought to counteract it:

“I might not like my butt, but I do like my face.”

Being grateful for my body. I once asked a client to list down the things she liked about her body. It wasn’t easy and she could hardly come up with three different things. Then I asked her to spend the entire day after with her right arm tied behind her back. She couldn’t resist more than one hour. After this exercise, she realized how lucky she was for having two healthy arms because some people don’t.

I am not my physical appearance. Aging is a natural process, and my human worth does not come from the way I look. Besides my body, I am a successful professional coach, someone’s daughter, wife, or friend, and someone who wants to make the world a much better place. I would rather focus on my current achievements, my future wants, and desires. Go from my mind to my soul.

Practice positive affirmations and fill my body with thoughts of love.

“I am grateful to have a strong body.”

“I love every single piece of my body.”

“I approve of my body exactly the way it is.”

And now, I would like to hear from you. Is there any new practice that you commit to implementing in your life from now on, to help you feel good in your own skin?

Sara Fabian is a Women’s Empowerment & Career Coach and inspirational speaker, on a mission to help professional women to discover their unique strengths, gifts and talents, boost their confidence, find their calling and live a meaningful life of purpose. For weekly inspiration, subscribe to her free newsletter at www.sarafabiancoaching.com or follow her on Facebook.