Published June 6, 2016

Society subtly–and not so subtly–tells us how we should look and behave, then asks us to chase this ideal. But we can all get to a place where we fully own our own unique beauty. It starts with knowing that we are lovable and desirable, says Agapi Stassinopoulos, motivational speaker, author of Unbinding the Heart and Gods and Goddesses in Love and regular contributor to the Huffington Post. When asked to describe herself in three words, Agapi chose loving, warm, and vital. Her shape? Voluptuous, feminine, curvy. How would you answer that question? While you think about it, read Agapi's empowering, insightful, and thought-provoking wisdom, as told to Weight Watchers US Editor-in-Chief Theresa DiMasi:

On valuing your body now: “A woman’s body is a living, breathing miracle, and if we don’t value it just the way it is and wait for it to be perfect, we’re denying ourselves the greatest gift of all—which is the miracle of how our body is now.”

On assessing the whole you: “We’re made of 37.2 trillion cells, and if we are going to judge ourselves because our nose is too big or our breasts are too small or our hips are too wide or our belly isn’t flat, we’re announcing to the world that the form—how we look on the outside—is the most important thing about us. We’re so much more than that. If you lose those 20 pounds, you won’t be more beautiful or be loved more. Start from ‘I love who I am, and I’m making a choice to lose 10 or 20 pounds, because I love myself—not as a condition that I’m then going to love myself.’ ”

On achieving that outer glow: “The only way to get to the glow is to get back to your spirit. Get back to your heart. You can’t glow if your heart is feeling judged. Or your life is being judged. I put this expression in my book and I use it all the time: You can wear Spanx on your hips, but don’t wear Spanx in your heart. Don’t restrict your heart and expression because you’ve gone up two sizes. It has nothing to do with who you are.”

On lavishing yourself with love:  “Love yourself as if you were someone inexpressively dear to you. Appreciate every single part of your body. Shower it with good thoughts, good emotions, with laughter. Move as much as you can. Dance freely in your home! Get wonderful massages. Take luxurious baths. Dress your body with love and at night before you go to sleep, listen to it. If it wants rest, give it enough rest! Treat it as you would treat the most honoured VIP guest.”

On feeling lovable: “When you believe you are lovable, you do the things that support, enrich, and nourish your lovability. And yes, it does include shopping!”

On the endless appeal of confidence: “It’s so invigorating to be around women who are not apologetic about being a little overweight or having a different shape or size. There’s nothing more attractive and more beautiful than a woman who feels good about herself. Who feels confident in who she is. Who shines from the inside out.”

On knowing yourself absolutely: “If you’re not connected to who you are—your belly, your emotions, your heart—you’re not going to take care of yourself. You’re not grounded in who you are. Once you’re grounded, you’ll start to take time out to do things that give you joy. My doctor has hundreds of patients, she’s a wife, a mother, and every Tuesday she takes a 6 p.m. dance class.”