Social media is awash with female self-hatred. Lurking amidst the instagram accounts of pouting concave stomached ‘look at me’ types, there’s a million tales of woe from the low self-esteem crew. Thighs carrying some post Easter egg extravaganza wobble? Boobs too titchy? The internet overlords (of which I believe there are several) must be turning heads at the sheer volume of anxiety expressed online.

So why all the hating ladies? You could blame it on media imagery. You could blame it on the ‘deep as a puddle’ values peddled by reality TV stars, glamour models and those curvy bottomed grammatically incoherent Kardashian types who are continually either marrying, divorcing or injecting Botox into bodily orifices I didn’t even know existed. Or you could blame it on our British sense of modesty gone a step too far. Remember how popular Samantha Brick was when she publicly declared herself a slamming hottie? Admittedly the dramatic front page assertion of self-adoration was a little much to take. But a de-sensationalised version, where a woman in her forties genuinely feels like an attractive sexual beast whose arse could still crack walnuts is surely something to be celebrated?

Whatever the reason for our low self-esteem, we need a time out. Here’s a little story for you. At the age of 15 I was, according to popular opinion, ‘ugly’. A foot shorter than the other kids my age, twig thin, translucent skinned, bumpy nosed with pre GHD toilet mop hair, popular nickname choices included ‘anorexic freak’ and ‘wiggy’. One boy used to ask me (on a daily basis) ‘whether I’d grown tits yet’? (The answer was always no. I was at sixth form college before I could fill an A cup with anything other than toilet paper.) Fourteen years, several hundred haircuts, outfit disasters and weight fluctuations later and I don’t feel ugly. Because frankly, if someone doesn’t like my face, body, personality or sound of my voice, there’s pretty much nothing I can do about it. And (for the most part) I couldn’t give a monkey’s vajayjay. Yes I still have my insecurities.  I’ll continue to be disappointed when I fail to get writing contracts or men reject my little self for a more conventional beauty (who doesn’t think cheese melted onto anything edible constitutes a rocking Friday night.)  But overall I don’t feel too shabby.

I appreciate it’s a hard time to feel the love, especially for our bodies. Expectations for personal appearance seem to get higher by the day and sometimes it feels like you’re hard pressed to find a man without a detailed list of non-negotiable preferences. Must have perky gravity defiant breasts. Must have fanjo plucked like a recently slaughtered chicken. Must have ‘pale’ bottom hole. (I overheard this in a pub once. Sadly I’m currently without comprehensive data on the preferred variant of anal colour so I’m unable to advise which shade to plump for.)

If you’re a single girl not in possession of a face like Cheryl Cole or beer flavoured nipples, the dating scene can become disheartening. And even those with a devoted man in tow seem to suffer from poor body confidence and constant comparisons.

I urge you to stop. Cold turkey. Everyone (yes even the annoying ‘I *totes* need to go the gym even though I look like I’ve recently recovered from amoebic dysentery’ girl) has their body hang ups. But rather than focusing directly on flaws, Sam Brick and irritating instagram girl flaunt their positives. Got super fluttery eyelashes like a Disney princess on heat? Focus on it. There’s no need to shout it from the roof tops or upload enough selfies to cause an international Twitter meltdown. But whenever you feel down about your arse/boobs/cellulite/tendency to clam up in awkward situations and start singing a Beyonce remix, remember those fluttery eyelashes. Or your long swishy hair. Or your ability to create culinary masterpieces with three ingredients. (Pasta with beans and cheese counts.)

I’m not suggesting you stop all self-improvements. When you’re struggling to differentiate between a recently beached Amazonian Manatee and your own reflection, it might be time to swap the Nutella jar for a Gillian McKeith inspired raw plant  smoothie. But before you purge your fridge of all things cardiovascular disease friendly, ask an honest friend for advice. Is your BMI really higher than it should be? Are you actually unfit? Have you been excessively gorging on roast potatoes dipped in mash and gravy? (It’s definitely a thing. Try it.) Or are you comparing yourself to a 21 year-old beauty blogger with an advanced degree in Photoshop?

And if you’ve tried all self-love attempts  but you’re still worried about your cellulite fear not. I’ve found a cure. Stop looking at your bum in mirrors. Hurrah. Instant body confidence.