I used to hate my toes. I know it sounds odd, but I was so convinced they were ugly that I wouldn’t even wear sandals during my early 20s. Truthfully, I wasn’t really fond of anyone’s feet, but I thought mine were particularly hideous.

And then I had a baby. Like many infants, he fell head over heels for his tiny toes. He stared at them in awe, wiggled and kicked them, touched them and tasted them. Even I thought his itty bitty toes were undeniably adorable.

One night, while giving our firstborn a bath, my husband and I lovingly pointed out parts of our sweet baby’s body and decided which gene pool they came from. “Where did you get that thick head of hair? Mommy! Where did you get those almond eyes? Daddy!”

When we got to our baby’s toes, there was no question: they looked like miniature replicas of mine, without the polish! And that’s when I had an epiphany. How could I love every inch of this baby, I wondered, without accepting and embracing every inch of me? His toes, like mine, were perfectly formed in the womb to help him walk, run, and dance. If I hoped to teach my children to love themselves, inside and out, I knew I had to live by example. Fretting about my feet was not serving me and it certainly wouldn’t help them.

That summer, I discovered the relaxing power of a pedicure and the sweet comfort of sandals. How had I deprived myself of those little luxuries for so long? Don’t get me wrong; it was uncomfortable at first to step out in open-toed shoes. But I realized pretty quickly that it was wasted energy; no one seemed to be concerned with my toes but me.

We all have parts of our bodies we’ve deemed to be less-than-beautiful. And it feels perfectly natural – even a relief – to gripe about our thunder thighs or flabby arms. But every time you focus on those so-called “problem areas,” it saps you of your confidence and positive attitude. Negative self-talk chains you to old beliefs, drains your energy and convinces you that your story – like the one in which I thought my toes were ugly – is true. Change your story and you'll have a change of heart.

So, what part of you will you learn to love today?

Author's Bio: 

Liv Lane is a successful writer, radio host and founder of Choosing Beauty™, devoted to helping others live with joy by learning to redefine, recognize and appreciate the beauty in their midst. Her One Year of Beauty blog has received worldwide media attention and multiple online awards. In 2010, a book based on the blog will be released by Fairview Press. For more information, go to choosingbeauty.com and visit the blog at oneyearofbeauty.com.