You are a beautiful woman
And you may scoff and roll your eyes
With a list of "but"s at the ready
But that doesn't make it a lie

You can name those things you don't like
Your belly is too big and your breasts are too small
Your thighs touch and your teeth are crooked
But hose things are too small to contain your beauty

Your beauty can't be contained or defined by such little things
It is held in your laughter, in a sound that carries
In the touch of your hands that soothe and comfort
In the power of your words that can change the world

So I  say "You are a beautiful woman."
And I ask those words to root within you
To sprout, to grow, to flourish and to nourish others
Because you are a beautiful woman

Each week I like to make inspirational-like graphics for the Facebook page. In case you've missed them or you aren't on Facebook, here ya go! Feel free to share, pin, download, print out, whatever your lovely heart desires!

I had a crap week. I had to deal with a situation at work that challenged so many aspects of my self. When someone offends you and is inappropriate towards you how do you react? In the past I would have buried my head in the sand, tried to pretend it didn't happen, while feeling shame and beating myself up about it.

It's really hard sticking up for yourself sometimes. 

I don't like rocking the boat. I don't like causing problems. I don't like being forced to stick up for myself. Maybe you understand how my little shy and introverted heart works and how hard it is to stand up and tell the world that something is not okay. I'm learning though, every year I become more confident in who I am and what I deserve.

Today we have a guest post from the fabulous Jo over at the Twisted Sleeve! Not only is she sharing her wisdom with us but she's also giving us an almost 50% discount on DIY Self-Esteem: How To Start Liking Yourself! if you use the discount code: BLESSINGMANIFESTING by midnight on August 24th MST!

Without further ado, here she is!

Just over a year ago, I resented my slight resemblance to Matt Lucas. I wished away my practically see-through eyelashes. I tore into myself for taking about half an hour to park in a multi-storey car park. I wasn’t my biggest fan.

Fast-forward to now. I smile at my lack of spatial awareness because I see it as a trade-off for being good at writing. I don’t worry about my eyelashes but focus on my growing muscles. I laugh when my friends joke about my looking like Matt Lucas because I can’t look that bad when so many people compliment me on my smile. I like myself.

In just one year, I’ve gone from beating myself up on a daily basis to smiling my way through the week because I’m just so “me”. In this post I’d like to pass on my tips for doing the same thing yourself.

I'm sitting here in my jammies eating orange sherbet and watching the Golden Girls (A Piece of Cake) to celebrate my birthday. Whoohoo, celebration! Later today I'm going to have lunch with my bestie and his three kids at my favorite restaurant, (not gonna lie, it's Burger King) and revel in their energy and laughter.

I spent a lot of time last night reflecting on where I am and where I've been and wearing I'm going. This last year I've done a lot of growing up, more than I thought I had left to do really. Don't you love when you have it all figured out right up until you don't? While those challenges and changes were on the whole, rather unpleasant, they were all desperately needed. I enter my 29th year feeling grateful and joyful and happy to be here.

Here's a message I think we all need to hear.

Happy birthday. You've made it through another 365 days of loving, living, laughter, and tears. It seems unbelievable that so many life experiences can be held in something so passing as a day, yet those experiences do not pass. They sink inside of your skin, slowly molding and transforming you into who you are.

You are an extraordinaire human being. The years that you have lived have changed the course of the world for so many. Do not ever doubt that you've made a difference, a good difference, a needed impact on the world around you. Your presence has touched lives. No difference made is too small.

Is it just me or has there been some really amazing body positive music coming out lately? Not just inspiring lyrics but videos that really showcase different body types? It's bad-ass and it makes me so happy to live in a world that is embracing all types of bodies and body acceptance. It's so re-affirming to see different bodies represented in the media. I remember the first time I saw someone with my body type on tv as a teen, it's sad that it sticks out isn't it?

We still have a ways to go. I would love more emphasis on all body types being equally worthy and sexy but the fact that body inclusivity is part of the conversation is great. I hope for the day that we can all look at each other, as women, and not see how we are "supposed" to be, but instead see how we are and acknowledge it as beautiful in all of its varieties.

I wanted to share some of my favorite jams and I want you to share yours!

Colbie Caillat - Try

Stand Out Lyrics: Why, should you care, what they think of you? When you're all alone, by yourself, do you like you?

India.Arie - Video

Stand Out Lyrics: My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes, I’m loving what I see.

Mary Lambert - I Know Girls

Stand Out Lyrics: Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral.

Freckles - Natasha Bedingfield

Stand Out Lyrics: Why waste a second not loving who you are? Those little imperfections make you beautiful, lovable, valuable.

Sara Bareilles - Brave

Stand Out Lyrics:  Honestly I wanna see you be brave with what you want to say.

Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass

Stand Out Lyrics: Cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.

John Legend - You & I (Nobody In The World)

Stand Out Lyrics:  You fix your make up, just so, guess you don't know, that you're beautiful.

Firework - Katy Perry (Boyce Avenue cover; my favorite version)

Stand Out Lyrics: You don't have to feel like a wasted space you're original, cannot be replaced.

Which is your favorite? Do you have any to add?

Without further ado, here's a post from the lovely Danielle Yeager.

Most of us experienced a love-hate relationship with our bodies throughout our life. You started out not even thinking about your body; you just used it. You learned how to move, to run, to jump, and to play with your body’s help.

Then you started to feel awkward in your own body. It changed and has continued to change as you have gotten older. You became more aware of what you look like and, more importantly, how you feel about what you look like. You looked at another’s body and judged them for being too fat or too skinny, too short or too tall, but mostly you were judging yourself. You started hiding your body, avoiding clothing that showed your insecurities. But you do know what it feels like to love your body. You have looked in the mirror on a good day and thought “hot damn girl” or you got a compliment that made you hold your head a little higher.

So why aren’t you holding on to those feelings? Why do the negative feelings seem to dominate? Because you have been letting them. Not to worry love, I can help.

Selfies have been getting a bit of a bad rap lately. You'll see articles about how selfies are linked to mental illness, narcissism, and addiction.
Selfies are also linked to liking the way your face looks, a good hair day, a happy moment, or an act of self acceptance. It's really what you want it to be. Celebrate your face but don't spend 10 hours a day trying to take the perfect selfie, ain't nobody got time for that.

Join is for SEVEN days of selfie prompts.

Before I started my self love journey I absolutely hated having my picture taken. Hated, despised, loathed it. It made me want to have a panic attack, seriously. Very few pictures are in existence from the age of 15-25 and the ones that you will find were taken covertly by my little sister and were quite unflattering as I was likely to be in the midst of eating or making a funny face.

Self love happened and I realized something.

Look what I made!

You can download, print, cut out these cute little cards and brighten someone else's day! Tape them up around town, put them in library books you're returning, leave them around your favorite grocery store or in public restrooms or at bus stops.

Don't be afraid to brighten someone's day!

Download it here!

I'd love to see what you do with them! Share your pictures on the facebook page or tweet me!

Image by ribena_wrath on flickr
This is a guest post by someone who wishes to remain anonymous! Without further ado...

I love my body.  I love my thin bones and my stretch marks.  I love my fair skin and my toes shaped like turtle heads.  I love my unique blend of smallness and roundness that changes subtly all the time.  I love the shape of my legs and even the fact that my thighs sometimes rub together when I walk.  I hear people complement each other for weight loss and say “you’re disappearing” like it’s a good thing, and I cringe.

I cringe because that used to be me, and it hurts to live life like you want to disappear.

As a young girl I wanted boobs so much.  I would try on my mom’s bras in anticipation for the day they would actually fit.  I felt beautiful then, and knew I would feel even more beautiful when I had the body of a woman.  When my boobs showed up at the age of 13, I did not expect the barrage of guilt feelings that arrived with them.  Guilt was a huge bummer that became a big deal for me for a very long time.

Depression set in as I was sure I was failing to live up to the social pressure around me to look “perfect” but be “modest”, both of which I felt were impossible to identify and achieve.  I tried to listen to and watch everyone around me, to do what they did, so that I could feel good about myself, about my body.  My efforts to copy everyone else’s advice resulted in an eating disorder and misery.

Finally, after years-and-years of this, I hurt so much I couldn’t stand it.  In a moment of grace I stepped back and took a good look at myself.  I blocked the outside voices.  I blocked the pictures I was comparing myself to.  I blocked out what people said I should and shouldn’t do.

I just looked at the naked truth about me, and I fell in love.  

I decided in an instant that I was no longer going to give a shit what anyone else thought I should or shouldn’t look like.  I realized it was better for me to run the risk of offending a few people here and there, or be ignored, or whatever else I was afraid of, than to continue torturing myself all day, every day, forever.

So here I am, perfectly happy to be in my body, and to be me.  The eating disorder is long gone.  I am alive for however long God is willing, and I’m going to enjoy every last thing about my body while I have it.  My unique body is constantly changing in how it looks and feels.  I’m done trying to control it.

I’m in a relationship with my body, one in which I get to love, honor and cherish it. 

I listen to it.  I am allowing it to take its full place in the world and it feels spectacular!

It has served me well to love the skin I’m in, right here, right now.  Looking at my naked self in the mirror and falling in love is one of the best things I’ve ever done.  It was a fabulous choice.  No one made it for me.  I won’t betray myself by choosing differently now.  I choose self-love all day, every day because it lights me up.

With so many voices you could be listening to, I hope you listen to your own.

Remember this: You are gorgeous, and you are on earth to fill it up with your beauty.   

You can take up as much or as little space as you want.  It’s your choice.  You only have to weigh your own opinion.  Love yourself.   Make your choices from that place of love.