Let’s be completely honest with ourselves: girls tend to have a more difficult time with acceptance, especially with their appearance. I myself have battled numerous fights, trying to come to peace with my body. I’ve tried tons of fad diets, spent more and more money on clothes and make up and yes, even gotten to that point where I had become upset with myself and how I looked on the outside.

In retrospect, I know that I seemed superficial, and to this day, sometimes I feel the same disappointment: too many zits, not skinny enough, no thigh gap… it seems like there isn’t one right thing about my body and my appearance!

But hold on, take a second to stop and think.

Our bodies are one of the most powerful machines. We have to power to think and operate and we can do many things that other machines cannot. We are all different in appearance, and we are special that way. Just because we may be a different size, shape, hair colour or skin tone as your best friend, it doesn’t make you any less beautiful or vice versa. If we all looked the same and uniform, like robots, how will you ever find someone to fall in love with? You would just be falling in love with yourself, and that might be kind of boring!

The other day I heard on the news that even guys are beginning to feel more self conscious about their appearance. This is a sad reality that now, pretty much everyone is paranoid about how they are perceived by others based on their outward appearance.

Now, it’s one thing to want to look good, but it’s another thing to be completely obsessed with looking “perfect”.

What is perfection, though? How much money do we have to spend on clothes, cosmetics, and even the extreme surgeries until we are good enough?

The point is, as human beings, we will never be satisfied. Where we will fix one aspect about ourselves, there will always be something else to correct. The first step to acceptance is to be content with what you have, and the rest will follow suit.

For me, I had always been afraid of showing my legs. During the summer it became a challenge, because I found the weather to be too hot, but at the same time, I found that my legs were far too fat. I tried numerous work outs and tried to eat less so as to make my legs look skinnier. I was always disgusted with them: they were fat and jiggled when I walked. But after hearing about Spencer West, a man whose legs were amputated below the pelvis because of a genetic disorder, I knew that I had nothing to complain about. I had the opportunity to listen to him speak at the 2013 We Day in Vancouver, and the way that he was able to walk on his hands onto the stage, and then onto his chair, made me realize how lucky I was and how strong he is. Spencer even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012, with his two hands!

After reading this article, I felt ashamed to hate my legs. If Spencer climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with no legs, what complaints should I have? None whatsoever.

Now is a good time to move forward. Now is a good time to be thankful for our bodies and what they help us do. I have a cut out from a Seventeen magazine that has a simple question on it: “Have you thanked your body lately?”

And so, I have a challenge for you, should you choose to accept it.

We are beautiful, and I know it. We all have our differences but that’s what makes us special. None of us need to be ashamed of who we are. None of us should be feel that we are any less beautiful because we don’t look like Victoria Secret models.

Tomorrow is Monday, and I challenge all girls to go makeup free. I’m not sure what guys can do, but for girls, tomorrow will be “Make-Up Free Monday”. Why should we let this dictate how beautiful we are? We are all unique and genuinely beautiful, and we should remember that true beauty comes from within.

Tomorrow, I will be going make up free, and I hope you will too!