Most of us grew up with photoshopped images in magazines staring us in the faces. And as we’ve gotten older, photoshop on social media has become even more prevalent and realistic.

You could be looking at a picture and not even realize it is highly edited. Seeing such unrealistic appearances so often can be incredibly damaging to one’s psyche.

Not only have women been bombarded with unwanted comments and criticisms about their looks for ages, but society continues to push those ideals. Everything from school dress codes to the lack of inclusive sizing can lead to low self-esteem and poor body image.

One’s body image is how they see their body and feel about it, regardless of how it actually looks. Sadly, most women do not have a healthy body image.

Diet culture, editing apps, rude comments, and the neverending idea of the “perfect body type” continue this bombardment.

But things are getting better. Many brands once known for their exclusivity have launched inclusive size ranges, feature models of all sizes and shapes, and have even encouraged others to make the same changes.

Seeing yourself reflected in the media you consume daily and the products you spend your money on is so important for your body image. Representation allows people to feel seen, heard, and worthy.

Along with the improvement from brands, there is a growing community online of people in the body-positive community. These people share their progress with loving their bodies and inspiring others to do the same.

Joining this community, no matter your stage of body acceptance and love, can remind you that you are worthy no matter your size or impressions of yourself.

You don’t need to have all great days and feel perfect constantly, but loving your body for all it does for you is a great start.

Improving your body image takes practice as well as dedication. You need to learn how to retrain your thoughts, feelings, and actions surrounding your body image and the bodies of those around you.

By unlearning the incorrect assumptions, you’ve been exposed to all your life regarding diet culture, weight, and size, you can begin to learn the truth.

Speaking with friends and family about your feelings regarding your body image can be a vulnerable but rewarding experience. Bonding with others about each other’s worries and supporting each other in your growth is so important.

At the same time, it is important to avoid negative self-talk. Catch yourself when thinking or speaking about the bodies of others, even celebrities.

Also, advocate for yourself. If someone makes a comment you find rude, unnecessary, or uncomfortable speak up. Let them know you are not taking any comments on your body and would appreciate it if they didn’t comment on others’ bodies around you either. Starting these conversations may not be pleasant, but it encourages a much-needed change.

Nurturing your body with everything it needs to function reminds you that your body is your best friend, not your enemy. Eating food you enjoy, moving your body, and getting enough rest are so vital to having a healthy relationship with what you see when you look in the mirror.

Enjoy your body and yourself outside of your appearance. Make a list of the things you love about yourself and add to it.

Step away from social media when it gets overwhelming, or you find yourself comparing yourself to others. There is no shame in unfollowing those that don’t bring you joy.

Find creators that make your feel confident and help your move forward in your journey to self-love. Also, be aware of the editing, lighting, and poses that social media can trick you into thinking are normal. Reminding yourself that these ideals are not realistic or even healthy can help you stay on the right path.

Finally, take care of yourself. Do things you enjoy. Take time to care for yourself because you deserve it.