This post is written mostly for girls from a girl's perspective, though there is a bit at the end for guys to read.
Something I've realized in the last couple months is something concerning body image. Our culture surrounds us with magazines and movies that we can never live up to. It even seems at school or work all the other girls have it together. However if everyone else around you is so beautiful, chances are you are too. Sure you've seen days when your hair has been better, but that doesn't make or break your overall appearance.
First and formost, you were made by God, and he doesn't make mistakes. Second, and this is a big one, self-confidence is much more attractive anyways. Think about the girls you know who are "beautiful." Isn't there a confidence about them? Imagine them shy and withdrawn. Doesn't some of that beauty disappear?
When you relate to guys, your beauty should not be his motivation for the relationship, so if a relationship breaks off, it's not because you're not beautiful. If a guy is interested in you, it's tempting to try to help him along by showing off your body a little more. However, is that the kind of guy you want? Really? A good guy will be interested in you for your personality and lifestyle- not a short skirt. This is a surefire way to attract the wrong guys. If some of our male readers want to leave comments about their opinion on this matter, please do.
I've never had severe body issues, but I don't think many women see themselves as truly beautiful. I actually have a good friend who has been dealing with an eating disorder for the last couple years. I think the first thing is to let go of culture's expectations and realize that there can be beauty in both straight and culy hair, skinny and not so skinny, tanned and glowing white skin. Beauty isn't something that can be ranked like sports, though tabloids and beauty pagents give us that idea.
Guys, you can help too. Your words make a bigger impression than you know. Don't make pointed remarks about a girl's looks, even if you are joking and she would know it. We all really have self-image issues to some degree or another (and if we don't, your comments will create one). If you have a sister, when she dresses up tell her she looks nice. Compliment us when we earn one (ie. not an empty compliment). Furthermore, when you're married, you should believe your wife is the most gorgeous person on the planet. To help you believe it, don't compare her to culture's standards. Don't spend time looking at picutres of other "beautiful" computer enhanced "women" (you know what I mean.) That just kills a woman who loves you, because she feels that she isn't beautiful enough for your time. Start those habits now, while you're unmarried, or it's going to be very, very hard to stop.
To end, here's a clip of Jonny Diaz singing "More Beautiful You." It's a very uplifting and inspiring song. And if you like this one, let me know because I can email you my playlist of "beautiful" songs. :)