There is something I need to get off my chest. A lot of times we hear the word “bullying” and we think of the big, mean football player shoving kids into lockers in your high school hallway. But bullying happens everywhere. It is not just between young people. It is not so black and white as you may think. It happens on Facebook, Twitter, the workplace, relationships whether they be husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent/child, even friends.
At the risk of sounding old, my fear is for young people of today. Despite what we all know SHOULD be the way people think, that what really matters is on the inside, that you are unique and you should embrace it, oftentimes it is not the case today. I have witnessed firsthand people being put down by their looks–by adults, between people online.
Not to mention in pop culture. It’s in song lyrics. You have to be pretty. No, scratch that. You have to live up to a certain standard of beauty, and if you don’t, you’re lesser than those who do. This is not something new. But after all that has gone on in this country–young people committing suicide, becoming depressed, etc, it’s something that should diminish. With this superficial message being broadcast all over television, the radio, magazines, and on Facebook and the Twittersphere, I am truly worried about people struggling with the feeling that they are somehow not good enough if they don’t meet the ridiculous standard set by the media.
I was a teenager once. I was insecure. Throughout middle and high school, I had acne as many young people do. I hated it. I felt as though it was a horrible flaw that was being displayed on my face for the world to see. I worried people would think I was dirty even though I washed my face twice a day, and took hygiene very seriously. The truth is that sometimes acne is just genetic. Some people are blessed with clear, smooth skin, others are not. We all have things about ourselves we don’t necessarily like, but the idea is not to change these things to please others, it’s to learn to love and accept them as part of you. And to surround yourself with people who will do the same.
At 24, I still have days when I look in the mirror and am frustrated. My hair won’t do what I want it to do. My nose seems to stick out in that picture. My chin is larger than some other chins. But you know what, this is me. And as my mother said, these features do not make me less attractive, they give me character.
And that’s what I want to say to young people. I am by no means an expert, I am still learning every day. Do not ever let someone make you feel ugly or belittle you for how you look. You don’t need to change yourself just so that a certain girl or guy will like you or pay you attention. You don’t want someone like that. You want someone who loves and accepts you for the way you are, because you deserve it. And those people ARE out there. I promise. As cheesy as it may sound, you are beautiful in your OWN UNIQUE WAY. The world is plastered with an ideal image that people are expected to live up to. You could spend your time striving to look just like that, doing everything you can to appeal to others, but what’s left underneath?
Embrace your flaws. Don’t even look at them as flaws. Look at them as traits unique to you. Love what you have and don’t be afraid of people that put you down. And don’t let people in your life who tell you any differently, because there are people that love and accept you for what you are. And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.