We frequently hear that imperfections make us unique and beautiful, but this idea of the importance of individuality is incomplete. Imperfections are what make us gorgeous, but only when we embrace them unconditionally. All too often, however, we exaggerate and obsess over our perceived “flaws,” thereby confining ourselves to a mentality akin to slavery. We allow ourselves to be consumed by silly externalities that no one else actually notices. Our keen eyes seem to be constantly searching for something to be unhappy about.

Who cares if your hips are big or small? Maybe you’re on your way to loving yourself unconditionally and regardless of your “deviant” waist-to-hip ratio. You’re beginning to feel that it’s the way you’re supposed to be — completely and uniquely you. Then a friend who is secretly wearing devil horns steps into your happy situation and starts making snide comments about you. These remarks stem from her envy of your ability to simply adore yourself, but you still feel guilt and shame. All of a sudden you’re the odd girl out just because your friends all settled for self-hatred whereas you are on track to an emotionally healthy state.

Loving yourself seems like it should be easy — I mean, it’s you, right? It’s never that easy. It takes time, patience and space to foster confidence and a healthy self-image. However, here is a simple step-by-step guide to get you started on the journey to embracing yourself.

Step One: Cut out females who call themselves your friends but constantly undermine your self-esteem.

Step Two: Don’t allow the comments of your frenemies — or anyone else, for that matter — to bring you down. They are the ones who are lacking. They wish they could be as happy about their thighs as you are about yours.

Step Three: If you have friends who are obviously struggling to check “Step Two” off their list, you might need to offer a heaping pile of comfort and support. Be careful, though. Your friends in this category might be tempted to take their own problems out on you. If so, deflect their comments with happiness and help them see their own beauty. When helping others discover their beauty you feel happier — which multiplies your already giant confidence streak.

Step Four: Take time to look in the mirror. If you’ve never done this before, try it. Put on a bikini and stand in front of the mirror. Then list five things you love about your body. Try not to see what hurts you but rather what heals you. Look away from the cellulite and behold your divine body.

Step Five: If you wear make-up, try not to think about it as a means of covering up your flaws but instead as a way to accentuate your natural beauty. If you don’t wear make-up, you might like to try it on some time just for an extra perk in the morning.

Step Six: Regardless of the methods you choose to help you feel better about yourself, make sure you’re doing them only for yourself. At the end of the day, if you’re doing it to make men notice you or women envy you, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. You will never satisfy everyone with respect to your appearance, but you can satisfy yourself — and that’s all that really matters.

The Two Solutions: “I will never be the woman with the perfect hair who can wear white and not spill on it,” Carrie Bradshaw once said. You can take one of two approaches to the white apparel quandary. You can choose to only wear dark colors so spilt coffee doesn’t ruin your day. Alternatively, you can wear white and if your latte spills, proudly strut your way down the sidewalk, smiling at everyone you see. With the first solution, the stain is invisible, but the stench is not. You may have managed to “hide” your flaw, but your lack of confidence will draw the unwanted attention of onlookers. However, the latter solution allows you to embrace your clumsiness and any other flaws that come with being unique. You might not be the woman who projects perfection in a white sundress devoid of spilt Starbucks stains, but you can make spilt coffee look damn good.