I wanted to take a moment outside of writing about celebrity gossip and makeup and talk about something I’ve been coming across lately: Confidence in young women. I know this is a topic that is often discussed at great lengths, but I think the fact that a lot of girls out there are still harboring tons of insecurities shows that maybe they’re hearing it but not really listening.
I grew up in a sheltered town and attended a super tiny, mainly Caucasian, Catholic high school. Every girl goes through that awkward phase entering into her teenage years. Personally, I always felt insecure in high school because of my looks. Yes, looks definitely isn’t everything and beauty does fade, but when you’re young and the media is portraying nothing but skinny airbrushed models with perfect skin, hair, and everything in between, it’s hard not to want to be “beautiful.”
As I’ve matured and gotten older I’ve come to realize that there are so many definitions of beauty and most of them have nothing to do with outward appearances. I was one of the only girls in my high school who was of Hispanic descent. I had curves and curly hair while my classmates were all sporting Hollister and Abercrombie in sizes 0 and 2 with gorgeous, long, flowing, straight hair. Until I got to college and learned to embrace my curves and learned how to control my hair, it was really difficult.
One of the things that really helped me was the rich diversity of my college. I’ve made friends of every possible background, especially those of Hispanic descent like myself. I even joined a Latina sorority. Being around people who have the same body type and went through the same struggles really puts things into perspective. Most girls I have met in my past 3 years are so confident in their curvacious bodies and with their spiral curls, that I realized I was being silly for ever wanting to be anything but myself.
Unfortunately, a lot of girls struggle with so many different insecurities about themselves and their appearances but have no one to show them how beautiful they truly are.
My summer internship during the day is working for a non profit organization. They are in the business of setting up chapters in high schools for girls to volunteer to go to senior homes and give complimentary make overs to the elderly women who reside there. On my first day at a make over I was truly inspired by these high school girls. I think I’ve become so jaded over the years dealing with girls who are so shallow and materialistic that I was completely caught off guard that these teenage girls were not only capable of exuding compassion, but that they were making an effort to go out there and spread it. These wonderful girls wanted to be there painting those ladies’ nails and applying make up to their age-worn faces. They made amazing conversations and established lasting companionship.
Doing good for others, I think, helps build confidence more than anything else, and so many young women out there need it. When you do something out of the goodness of your heart and not because you have to, it’s an indescribable feeling. It helps you learn that beauty is not skin deep, and that no matter what you look like or where you come from you can make a difference in someone else’s life.
Trust me, the women in magazines don’t even really look like that. People are paid big money to photoshop and airbrush “beauty” on those pages. This realization changed my whole perspective on models and the definition of “beauty” I was aspiring to. I mean, even Megan Fox is bound to feel insecure about herself some days.
It’s a tough world out there in every aspect, especially in terms of building confidence in young women. Confidence is the key to almost everything, though. You have to be happy with yourself before you can be truly happy with anything else. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and I think it’s time for many of us to adjust our eye sight.
Have you found it difficult to build confidence in today’s world? What has deterred you?