If you're anything like me, you may struggle with your self-image versus the ideal of beauty that has been placed by the media. You may look at fashion magazines, television, and Instagram, and find yourself comparing yourself to the people that you see. You may become discouraged because you just don't look like them. I'll let you in on a secret: you don't have to look like them. You can be important without being "beautiful" the arbitrary standards that the media has presented. Beauty isn't the only meaningful thing you can be.
You Can Be Kind.
Being kind is simple, and either free or of little cost. You can extend your kindness like a light in the darkness to family, friends, and even strangers. You can hold doors open for people who have their hands full, or are walking right behind you. You can donate blood, if you're physically able. You can tell a joke to cheer up someone who is sad. You can give your full attention to someone who is talking to you. You can donate old clothes to a homeless shelter. You could pick up litter that someone has thrown on the ground. You can make time for someone who needs you. You could even simply just smile at passers-by. Kindness is important in a world that too often focuses on the negative. You could bring some positivity into it.
You Can Be Dedicated.
Whether it be playing a musical instrument, learning to knit, focusing on your art, getting good grades, being a hard-working employee, or being a good friend; You can show everyone that you really care about something in your life. Simply don't give up, and never stop trying to improve. That is all it takes to be dedicated to something. Yes, you might sometimes take breaks. Yes, you might feel unmotivated sometimes. No, that doesn't mean you're not dedicated. Not giving up on something you love is a strong characteristic, and that is very important.
You Can Be Intelligent.
This doesn't necessarily mean you have to be a super-genius who knows everything about everything. This simply means that you know a lot about something you're interested in. You can be intelligent about the arts, the same way that you can be intelligent in math, or whatever you're interested in. Even if that intelligence is only at the point of intrigue about a subject right now, you can learn about it. You have the potential to be brilliant at whatever you're interested in.
You Can Be Creative.
You can create things, whether they are for practical life, or artistic value. You can D-I-Y something. You can create an art project. You can invent something. You can code something. You can write something. Whatever it is, you can make something that started off as only a thought and became something tangible. That's pretty incredible and important, if you ask me.
You Can Be Open-Minded.
You can be accepting of people the way they are. You can be tolerant of other religions. You can be willing to discuss your differences with others, without blaming or attacking one another. You can accept that not everyone thinks the way that you do, but that doesn't necessarily make either of your opinions wrong. In a world where people are constantly trying to categorize people as right or wrong, it can be very important to see the gray areas.
The next time that you feel down because of the way you look, make a list of all of the things that you are, rather than all of the things that you're not. You may just come to find out that these things are more important than your appearance. These things can be way more impressive than beauty. These things can change your world, and the world of others around you, maybe even permanently. So next time you are comparing yourself to fashion magazines, remember, you are important in your own way.