This weekend, my sister and I were talking a lot about body image and being happy about our bodies. I felt our conversation was something that just had to be shared.

Positive body image is one of the hardest things to achieve, particularly for women. Even though I usually have a lot of self-confidence, I wasn’t always that way. It took a lot of hard work.

What I see as a problem for most women is that they live for their future bodies. They think once they lose that 10 or however many pounds, they will be happy with how they look. But in reality, once they achieve that 10lbs weight loss, they will want to strive for more. We live in a world where we see impossible standards on magazine covers and it’s in our nature to want that. I can guarantee, there is no place where you will feel you have achieved the perfect body. That place does not exist, so if we stop waiting to reach that place, then we can start appreciating and accepting the body we have right now, regardless of the weight we are currently at.

Like all good things, this acceptance won’t happen overnight. It takes work but it is possible if you work at it.

Make the Decision

The first step is to make the conscious decision to be happy with your body, right now. It may not be your ideal, but it doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. Wasting a life worrying about not having the perfect body only brings sadness into our life and it’s simply not worth it.

Look into the mirror and pick out the positive aspects that you like about your body. If a negative thought starts to creep in, stop it in it’s tracks and find something positive to say. Say these things out loud if it helps. Start doing this every day. Negative self-talk that has gone on for years is hard to reverse, so it takes work to make your thought processes change.

Dress for the Now

Next, stop waiting for that goal body and start accepting the gorgeous body you have right now. That means dressing for your current body. So many people have a closet full of clothes that make them unhappy. Clothes that are old and don’t really fit right but they don’t want to buy new or nice clothes because there’s no point since they are working towards their goal body. But there is a point, because good clothes that fit your current body will look better. And if you look better, you will feel better about yourself and you will walk out your front door with confidence rather than hiding away in baggy clothes.

Learn to Accept Compliments

Women are terrible at accepting compliments. If someone compliments your hair, you say something like “oh really, I was in a rush this morning so I didn’t get a chance to do it that well”. Instead of accepting a compliment, we find a reason to tell someone why it isn’t true. It’s not being humble, it’s undercutting our worth.

So the next time someone offers you a compliment, simply say, “thank you.” Soak in the compliment and allow it to boost your self-confidence. It feels uncomfortable at first because we are so used to not accepting them but you will get better at it. And it will feel so much better.

Look for the Positives in Others

Most negative and catty comments from women come from a place of jealousy and insecurity. These negative thoughts and words, bring negativity into your life. Instead, bring positivity into your life. Looking for the good in others or complimenting others can actually make you feel better about yourself whereas negative thoughts and comments only act to make you feel worse about yourself.

So the next time you’re people watching, instead of thinking oh look at that girls shoes, they’re hideous or oh my goodness doesn’t she own a brush, look for positive aspects in the people that walk by you. Point these out to the people you are with. Positivity attracts positivity.

Do you struggle with body acceptance? Do you have any further tips to love your body?

This is an excerpt from the article Accepting Your Right Now: The Key to Positive Body Image which originally appeared on http://www.prettylittlegrub.com/.