Empower, Inspire, and Uplift: Changing the Face of Beauty and Confidence

When you were a newborn infant, all that mattered to you was to be in the safety of your mother's protective arms. When you were five, your life revolved around dolls, tree houses, and stuffed animals. When you were ten, it was all about play-dates and hanging out with your best friends. Now you've reached the tender age of fifteen -- that awkward, in-between stage of adolescence and the teenage years that is filled with uncertainty, heartbreak, joy, and stress -- a lot of stress, where boys, high-school drama, and your figure soon become your obsessions.

Whereas once before you were in the tiny, protective bubble that your parents created, you now find yourself immersed in the technological age where social media dominates pop culture. From countless TV ads to magazine spreads to the photos that flood your Instagram feed, each opportunity the media can get its hands on to exert its influence on your susceptible perception, it will. This constant exposure to the ongoing social media stream does not bode well for your emerging self-confidence, and you can only handle all of this up to a certain point, at which you crack and fall victim to the "comparison trap" the moment you pass your tolerance level.

With fashion campaigns featuring stick-thin models, beauty campaigns depicting flawlessly airbrushed faces, and billboards illustrating professionally photo-shopped bodies, society has convinced us to believe that there is a certain standard out there that we should all hold ourselves up to. And judging by the conversations that people are having, which seem to constantly revolve around weight and dieting, the media clearly emerges as victorious in this game of mental warfare. With a click of the button and a flip of the page, we are presented with commercialized ideals of how we are supposed to view something. We should not judge ourselves and our worth based on what society advertises as the "ideal" image -- we are all so much more than that. Beauty is an intangible concept that can be interpreted in a multitude of ways, and its definition varies based on the subjective observations made by the beholder. There is no rule in any handbook that outlines the criteria that determines what is considered beautiful and what is not; it is entirely up to the observer.

What are we portraying to our family, friends, and children when we engage in this self-abusive mental behavior in which we find ourselves trapped in a vicious cycle of self-loathing and discontent? If we cannot possibly accept ourselves for the unique individuals that we are, then how can we communicate to those we love that they are worthy of our love? Regardless of how much you weigh, how tall you are, or what you look like, none of that matters in the grand scheme of things, because what really gets people's attention is the way you present yourself and your values.

What is it about human nature that we revel in the feeling of tearing each other down where, in actuality, we should be building each other up? What do we get from comparing ourselves to others and belittling them for not being skinny enough, tall enough, or toned enough? Rather than engender harsh criticism, it is time we look to empower, inspire, and uplift each other. Beauty and confidence come from within, so if you constantly live to try to please others or to try to change and fit in with the current trend, you will lose who you really are. Don't let social standards or a set of numbers determine your perception of your body image or your confidence. When you believe in yourself, you will be surprised by what you see. You will radiate pure happiness, confidence and real beauty, and you will realize that beauty is more than just a number or a standard.