By Melissa Boyd (Whetstone staff writer)

A couple of weeks ago, I held a tiny human – you know, a baby.

Her face was all scrunched up while she slept, and her eyes closed peacefully. Her tiny little hands were balled up into fists, while her little legs sprawled over my arms.

Photograph of Melissa Boyd

Melissa Boyd

I don’t know about you, but when I see a baby, my whole day brightens up. I’m ecstatic, and the world is just a big ball of sunshine, with rainbows and little bunny rabbits.

How come I don’t get like that with adults?

Nobody ever thinks of an adult or a teenager as someone to get particularly excited about, unless it’s a specific person, and even then, not many people change attitudes completely. It’s never the same for an adult the way it is for a baby.

You look at the baby, and think of how beautiful he or she is, and what wonderful things they might accomplish in life. Not many people think this way about anyone older than the age of about ten. Nobody’s cute after ten.

Except that’s wrong.

Every person, no matter how much they weigh, how many pimples they have or do not have, what color their eyes and hair are – they’re all beautiful.

According to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, about 8 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. In addition, 75 percent of girls ages 8-9 said they liked their looks, while only 56 percent of girls surveyed ages 12-13 liked their looks.

People have poor self-images for all kinds of reasons.

For myself, I can think of a billion and one reasons why I don’t think of myself as “stunning.” I’m four-eyes, my eyebrows are too bushy, my legs aren’t long enough – the list goes on.

But unlike the 8 million Americans who starve themselves to maintain an image they prefer to their own, I have optimism about me. I can write well, I’m educated; I have a loving family, and great friends. This list goes on.

Nobody’s perfect. But nobody’s only filled with flaws either. Everyone’s beautiful, and, without becoming narcissistic or egocentric, I wish people would look in the mirror and say, “I’m alive today. I’m going to make a difference somehow, and I’m beautiful in the way God made me.”