Growing up, I was taught to value my body for what it looked like and not what it did. But, as I became an athlete, I started to realize how much more my body really was. My calves allow me to tackle sprints. My arms help me paddle out a surfboard to catch waves. My abs keep me balanced when I dance.

Acknowledge strength

We often forget just how powerful our bodies really are. Your body is strength. It has the power to climb mountains, swim in seas and walk through valleys. It can dive into the depths of the oceans, scale cliffs and run marathons. When we take the time to love our body, we are acknowledging the strength it has — and that creates empowerment within us. So, next time you criticize your body for its flaws or weaknesses, consider all that it’s done for you and be thankful for your strengths.

“Strength comes in all shapes and sizes, and it helps to define our individuality.”

Let’s strive to appreciate our body for all that it does, and for the one-of-a-kind experiences it gives you, instead of just focusing on aesthetics. What else can make you feel pleasure, joy, power and more, all in one place?

Acknowledge individuality

Each of us has our own strengths, which makes each of our bodies even more special. What your body can achieve is unique and makes you, well, you. Strength comes in all shapes and sizes and helps to define our individuality. After all, what fun would it be if we could all play the same sports? The Olympics would cease to exist.

As women, it’s easy to be afraid to voice love for our bodies. People argue that it comes off as arrogance, but I believe it is confidence. We’re giving our bodies the props they deserve. Why shouldn’t we be proud? Why not express gratitude? Why put ourselves down when we should be building each other up? Real strength and empowerment comes from being able to proudly celebrate our bodies.

So here’s to our bodies and all they do for us.