All throughout the United States and throughout the world, women have issues with body image. Every day, we are bombarded with thousands of images of the media’s interpretation of the ideal woman. Models who all have the same body type are photoshopped to look even thinner than they already do, setting an impossible standard of beauty for women to live up to. Because of this, women often end up having a negative body image.

I would like to tell you, however, that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have a positive body image and a healthy view of yourself. Here are six things to keep in mind when it comes to your own body.

1. Every woman is different. Throughout the world, there are women in all shapes and sizes, and all bodies are beautiful in their own way. Seek out images of real women, and you will start to see how you are unique and beautiful.

2. You are not an object. So much of the negative body image that is imposed upon us is a reflection of society and the media sending us the subliminal message and playing upon our fear that we will not be seen as attractive by those who we desire. In this way, the patriarchal society would have us believe that we are only valuable as sex objects for men. But as a woman, you are not an object. You are a subject. Claim your own beauty, not because of the way others see you, but because of the way you see yourself.

3. Inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. It’s good to have a positive body image, but placing all of your focus on your looks is not healthy. There is so much more to being a person than appearance. Instead, place your focus on the inner you. Feel beautiful on the inside, and it will radiate to the outside.

4. The world needs you. You are an individual and no one can offer the unique gifts that you bring to the world except for you. Do not compare yourself to anyone else. You are the only woman like you.

5. Be grateful for the body you have, and focus on what you appreciate about yourself. Maybe you are insecure about your body, but you have always loved your long red hair. Maybe you feel unsure about your thighs, but you have always had beautiful bronze skin. Find the aspects of your body and your features that you already love and begin your self-love by focusing on those features.

6. It doesn’t matter what size a body is as long as you are taking care of it. Some women who eat healthy foods and are active simply have a bigger frame. Some women who are inactive and eat junk food constantly look remarkably thin. Women who suffer from debilitating anorexia or bulimia are not healthy at all, but they often live up to the ideal standard of beauty imposed on us. You cannot judge a body by its size. Instead, focus on treating your body the right way and taking care of yourself.