We live in a revolutionary time where we are breaking all kinds of expectations of what women are supposed to look like. As the moral goes, the most important kind of love you can give is love towards yourself. So why, as of 2017, are 91% of women unhappy with their body image? When we live in a culture making strides with body representation in ads, magazines, and models, why are 81% of 10-year-old girls afraid of being fat? While we live in a culture of emerging awareness for men’s body issues and health, why are 25% of boys teased about their weight, 12% using steroids, and 20% want plastic surgery in the future?

Well I say screw it. Body image schmody image. Your existence does not demand you to be “pretty” “thin” or otherwise at all times. You, as a person, are made to be intelligent, talented, loving, laughing, learning, not to conform to dumb old beauty standards. Your body is a vessel in which you pilot. It does not mean as much as you think.

Devaluing the importance of body image is the first step of loving it. When you realize the only person criticizing your body so much is you, that you make yourself your enemy, is when you can finally grow and blossom into yourself. Banish hurtful words from your language about yourself: too fat, ugly, weird—and replace them with the truth: beautifully shaped, unique, perfect. The images in which you strive after, the stick-thin models, the super strong men, are 1.) usually manipulated pictures, unlike any natural human form; and 2.) are NOT your guidelines to a happy life. Whether you strive approval from peers, crushes, family, whatever, these things are superficial and, when you look at the big picture, dumb. The only person who should dictate how you look is YOU. And you, as cheesy as it might sound, are perfect the way you are.

Self-love is the most important kind of love, and the relationship you have with yourself is the most important kind of relationship you can have. Lovers will come and go, friendships can end, but you will always be stuck with you, whether you like it or not. You might as well befriend your reflection, you are going to be with her for a long, long time.