Flipping through beauty magazines and music videos one is met with slender figures, flawless faces, cellulite-free skins that make you think that some of the models are out of this world. A simple search on Google of the word beauty gets you pictures of groomed eyebrows, spotless faces and perfect smiles.  A walk into any beauty shop gets you all manner of products that promise to enhance your breasts, your hips, your complexion and others promise you will ‘recover’ your virginity.

These are tempting offers especially in this society that has impossible standards of beauty; a society where, a figure eight is a must-have and that extra weight around the waist just has to go!

The S.I. unit of beauty is, to some, synonymous with Kim Kardashian, Halle Berry, Ajuma or Iman. Indeed these ladies are very beautiful but they do not define what B.E.A.U.T.Y is. Theirs is simply a perspective of what beauty looks like but not beauty in itself.

Growing up, I was teased about my looks. You see, I have a slightly longer lower lip. Children my age would make funny faces; pulling on their lower lip when we would meet. My mum would insist that my sister and I apply lipstick, which would offend me. I would rub it off to avoid my lower lip being more  conspicuous than it already was.

By 13 yet another obstacle grew, literally. I had some soft growths on my upper gums. I did not know they were teeth, molars actually. The other teeth in my mouth had already grown leaving no space for these two ‘late comers’. A further nose dive to my self esteem, as this meant I would not smile nor talk.

I avoided jokes, people and buried my head in books.

However, high school was my turning point. I met teachers who looked beyond looks and appreciated me for my talents and capabilities.Although it was hard in the beginning, I managed to break out of my shell. I became a public speaker in symposiums and exhibitions and tried student leadership. I transformed.

As cliché as this sounds, you need to believe in yourself. Self-esteem, self-image and beauty are triplets. They are your talents, your energies, your positive spirit and what we see outside is really a whole package.

By looking and dressing like what we see in movies, music shows and magazines we are losing our true selves to someone else’s view of what is assumed to be beauty. And in this aping, we are denting our self-esteem.

Self-esteem is an overall reflection of an individual’s self worth, beliefs about oneself and the emotional response to those beliefs.

About 95% of the media we experience is designed and presented with one purpose in mind: to make you feel and want the charisma, looks, and products of actors and models. This only punctures your self-image. This then leads to depression, anxiety, suicide, seeking acceptance and becoming a people pleaser. This puts one at high risk of being manipulated and vulnerable.

Beauty is a personal choice and comes with personal preferences. Some like to wear makeup, and others prefer the au naturale look. Provided you are comfortable in what you are wearing or the hair colour that you have and you eat right and you feel good about yourself, this to me is beauty.

Seeking to beat low self-esteem?

If you can, sit in the front row because sitting at the back or middle there is the assumption that you will be lost in the crowd. Embracing the front row is a confirmation to yourself first that you are a vibrant and confident person.

Your opinion is important so speak up. This will thaw the ice that self-doubt created all around you.

Know what you are good at and write it downEsther Mwangi, a blogger with an interest in personal  development says: “recite these goals and strengths in front of a mirror as your ‘speeches of greatness’.”

Maintain a good posture. Try to stand up straight, head up and always keep eye contact with whomever you are engaging in conversation with.

Stay away from negativity, it is highly infectious.

Be thankful for what you have. Even if you’re having one of “those” days, smile and be grateful. When you see others responding to your jovial attitude, you will feel better about yourself.

Have regular exercise. If you feel you are out of shape you feel unsure of yourself, unappealing, and less energetic. Exercise greatly improves your physical appearance and increases your energy levels.

The mirror is lying to you…that you are fat, you are ugly, you have a big forehead . Instead, every day, wake up with this speech of greatness: “I am beautiful, I am unique, and I am enough.”

Here is a video that highlights my thoughts further:   http://www.upworthy.com/2-people-described-the-same-person-to-a-forensic-artist-and-this-is-what-happene?c=ufb2

I leave you with words from Ralph Waldo Emerson – an American essayist, lecturer, and poet- “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

First Published at http://www.ywli.org

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