Looking in the mirror, it’s sometimes hard to see what others see. No matter how much hair gel you put in your hair, regardless of how much foundation you apply, you can still look in the mirror and feel disappointed.

Thousands of young guys and girls from all across the world suffer from low self-esteem about the way they look. Very few of us can look at ourselves and say “I love what I see”. It’s human nature to find flaws in yourself, however the key is to know your flaws and to learn to work them in a way that helps you.

Company magazine recently launched a “Pay it forward – Body Confidence Campaign”. The aim is to help people to learn to love themselves by you, their friend, telling them exactly why you love the way they look.

Whilst body confidence is often a mental “issue”, it can also affect people on a physical level. 20-year-old Emily Stevens has suffered from eczema since she was born, and knows that sometimes it’s a struggle just to go outside:

“Twenty years of scratching at myself has led to a lot of my body now having large amounts of scar tissue. This serves as a personal reminder that despite what I wear, how I do my hair or how much weight I may lose, I don’t feel that I could ever say I feel comfortable in my skin.

“That is what I see as my greatest flaw. I constantly daydream about having one day of no eczema and completely flawless skin, that would be my dream,” she says.

New research by St. Tropez and The Prince’s Trust charity has revealed that body image is a major concern for young people, with nearly three quarters of 16-30 year olds saying that they regularly do not feel self-confident.

Confidence comes in all different shapes and sizes. Tips for improving body confidence from ivillage, a website designed to help improve body issues, include accepting compliments graciously, binning unflattering clothes, and looking beyond your body to find the bigger picture.

Jordan Morley said that although people tell him there’s nothing wrong with the way he looks, he’s still unhappy with some parts:

“I wish I was taller and had more body muscle on me. My friends tell me that the things I worry about are fine, but I am unhappy with those parts. I never know if they are saying this just to be kind or because they know I am self-conscious about being skinny and short. If they are telling the truth then I guess that the issues are in my head but I truly believe that the ‘problems’ are physical.”

Bethany Wells, 20, has been told by doctors that she is obese but says that whilst she is doing something about it, if other people could accept the way she looks then it would be easier for her to accept it:

“All of my issues are linked to my weight. I have been overweight since about the age of seven, so for 13 years of my life I’ve dealt with a lot of bullying. I can’t tell if my issues are mental or physical anymore. However this is the way that I am, and I guess that I’ve ended up accepting that.”

As Emily, Jordan, and Bethany have shown that whilst nobody is perfect, you are the way you are. To make your life a happier place, it’s important to embrace and accept your flaws. If you have a friend who isn’t completely body confident, why not make them feel a little better and tell them why you love the way they look?

So when you pull on your favourite pair of jeans and stand in the mirror, ignore those negative thoughts. Step outside confidently, hold your head up, and know that your friends adore you just the way you are.