Human beings get swept up in life far too often, being carried away by its busyness and becoming overwhelmed by it all—the constant ebb and flow of our world. We try to mould ourselves to fit the gaps that life presents for us while forgetting that we were born with everything that we need to thrive on this beautiful planet.

How often do you accept yourself for who you truly are? So many of us find it difficult to do so. We feel there’s more we could be doing, or something different that we could be occupying our time with. Time itself seems to go by faster with every passing year, and it’s easy to get lost in the idea that we always need to be doing more, saying more—that we need to be more. We need to find better jobs and become more successful, find a partner, have children and pass on our DNA to the next generation before it’s too late. Everything in life is rushed, a race to the finish line, and along the way we judge ourselves, pitting ourselves against each other in a competition to be successful. We think we can never be perfect. We need to be more, more, more.

But, none of this is true. We’re perfect in this present moment.

For most of my life, I’ve struggled with my body image. Vacillating between self-judgement that said that I was too large or too small, too tall or not tall enough, I fought valiantly against disordered eating, disliking the body I lived in. I know many people have felt the same way at some point in their lives—at war with their bodies, constantly struggling to prevent them from being what the world considers to be “too much” or “too little.”

Over time, however, I’ve been able to see that the present moment is all I have. Perfection isn’t attainable—the only achievable goal is self-acceptance and self-love. When I’m able to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see, I’m no longer living in the past or the future but in the present, accepting what I cannot change and allowing myself to put goals or wishes aside and love myself as I am. We’re able to do this with other people, seeing them as beautiful in the moment without thinking about past appearances or future goals. Doing this for ourselves is more difficult, as it involves momentarily leaving our mind behind and existing only in the now.

Sit still and silent in a room by yourself and listen to the air filling your lungs as you inhale and then leave again as you exhale. Be in the present moment, letting thoughts slip in and out of your mind like water, acknowledging them but never allowing them to settle. Feel your body, connected to the furniture, connected to the ground, and accept it for what it is, fallible, flawed, but uniquely you and thus perfect. You’ll never again be who you are in this present moment. Embrace yourself as beautiful in this moment. Leave the past and the future behind. This moment will never happen again. Be in it. Feel it. Accept it.

Only when we accept the present moment, no matter how flawed it may be, will we ever be able to fully accept ourselves.

by Samantha Murphy-Laevens
image: I love myself phrase handwritten on blackboard via Shutterstock