How to love the real you

In a world full of Snapchat filters and photo editing apps, it's easy to lose sight of the real you. You know, the you without puppy ears, the you with a pesky zit on your forehead, the you with crow's feet by your eyes. The you that hasn't been retouched or filtered or changed. The you that looks back when you look in the mirror.

No matter who you are, it can be super tough some days to like your reflection. And when we get bombarded by perfectly airbrushed selfies on Insta, it gets even harder. Even when those selfies are our own, just edited to the nth degree.

Because you start looking at what, in your mind, you could be and comparing it to what you are. And suddenly what you are is not nearly enough. 

Take the pictures above, for example. The one on the left is me with zero makeup and bedhead. I was actually feeling okay about it until I put it side by side with the one on the right (aka me with the "pretty filter"). Suddenly, the one on the left was awful. I started picking apart *every* little thing. It was like a magnifying glass on all of my flaws.

Talk about a major pity party over here. So I (figuratively) slapped myself on the face and woke up! We don't live our lives in filters. Or on social media. Or to be perfect.

We live our lives to laugh with our friends, to hug our families, to enjoy a big cone of ice cream on a summer day. We live our lives to wake up to the smell of coffee, to feel the cold ocean on our toes, to sing along to Selena in the car with the windows down.

We live our lives for *so* many amazing memories and experiences. And guess what they all have in common?

They have nothing to do with how we look or what we weigh.

That truth is such a big part of why I recover, why I want to be free of any stupid food rules and why I try to help the people around me do the same. Learning to love the real you as you are (aka without a filter, without Photoshop and without restriction or diets) is super tough...but if you keep in mind how insignificant your outer appearance is, it helps. At least it does for me.

Remember that no amount of perfect selfies can ever make you smile the way a slice of birthday cake celebrating your mama can. And that's more important and more valuable than the number of likes on your Instagram.