“Oh my God, I wish I was flawless like you.” "Your hair is totally flawless." "How can you be that flawless?"

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard someone say those things, I’d be a billionaire. I’ve spent years hearing friends, classmates and strangers use this word to describe others. It may seem like a compliment until you realize what flawless really means. I only started to question the true definition when one of my favorite teachers informed us that she hated the word flawless. My initial reaction was something like: “Huh? What? No way.” I was beyond confused. Who doesn’t want to be known as flawless? Why is it so terrible?

If you look up the word "flawless" in the dictionary, the definition is “having no defects or faults, especially none that diminishes the value of something.” There are two problems with this definition. First of all, it states that having flaws “diminishes value.” Second, the definition applies to something, not someone. The word dehumanizes, objectifies and promotes an inaccurate perception of how a person should be. With the expectation to be flawless comes pressure to look, act and be a specific way. Also, you begin to compare yourself to the flawless ideal, setting yourself up for self-destruction. Believing that someone is flawless creates the idea that they are more than just a person. And that is unfair to them and you.

My ultimate goal for this article would be to inspire people to stop using the word as a compliment or adjective. But realistically, that’s not going to happen. Instead, let’s redefine it. Being flawless should not be about hiding your flaws or letting them diminish you. Being flawless should be about owning your flaws and allowing them to empower you by realizing that you are uniquely you, with every difference of your body, mind and heart. Beyoncé had it right when she sang, “I woke up like this. Flawless.” Hell yeah, you woke up that way, because you are yourself.

Beyoncé is absolutely flawless, not because I say so, but because she does. She accepts her flaws and uses them as more reasons to love herself. It’s all about you and your self-image. Every day you should remind yourself, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” because you deserve the truth.

It really is incredible how self-love and empowerment can redefine what flawless means to you. Of course, it’s easier said than done. The best advice I can tell you is to not give others the power to tell you how to look, act or feel. Do you, for you. Empower yourself to embrace and share all of your wonderful flaws, and in turn, you might just empower someone else to do the same. Beyoncé empowered me to love my crooked ears, curvy body and wavy hair--all things I once saw as flaws. Now it’s my turn to (hopefully) inspire someone new.

Individuality is what makes you flawless. Your "flaws" are irreplaceable and invaluable to you and the world around you. The combination of your flaws makes you who you are. So when you get up in the morning, turn on the Beyoncé song and sing it to yourself. You woke up like that, now own it.