There are plenty of reasons we might feel shitty about ourselves: From a probably-not-even-crooked nose to that thing you wish you said in your meeting to the fact that Joe Schmo on the corner told us we needed a new pair of jeans (for the record, Joe, they’re meant to be ripped, but thank you for your observation). As someone who has deeply struggled with body image and the myriad issues that accompany it, I’ve done quite a bit of reading over the years and can confirm I’ve seen enough cheesy, uplifting quotes for all of us combined. So, ahead are words that get straight to the heart of the issue—no cheese involved.
1. “Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.” –Glennon Doyle Melton
2. “What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” –Anne Lamott
3. “Your self-esteem won’t come from body parts. You need to step away from the mirror every once in a while, and look for another reflection, like the one in the eyes of the people who love you and admire you.” –Stacy London
4. “Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.” ―Cheryl Strayed
5. “I never felt pretty. I don’t feel pretty now. I’m not a pretty person. I don’t like pretty. So I don’t feel badly. And I think it worked out well, because I found that all the girls I know who got by on their looks, as time went on and they faded, they were nothing. And they were very disappointed. When you’re somebody like myself, in order to get around and be attractive, you have to develop something, you have to learn something, you have to do something. So you become a bit more interesting.” –Iris Apfel
6. “Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world no matter what you look like.” –Unknown
7. “Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this.” –Cheryl Strayed
8. “You are still you whether you are 190 or 90 pounds. Your soul still lives in the same fucking house.” –michellekpoems.tumblr.com
9. “The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the storyline that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step towards transforming your experience of the world.” –Oprah Winfrey
10. “The relentless attempts to be thin take you further and further away from what could actually end your suffering: getting back in touch with who you really are. Your true nature. Your essence.” –Geneen Roth
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