I have very little self-confidence. I'm a very anxious person, I don't like the way I look, I always worry that people are judging me... and a few months ago it hit me: I may be bad, but there are people in this world fast worse than me. There are people who refuse to dress flatteringly, smile, even raise their hands above their head in fear of looking ugly, fat, or "disgusting."
I have my insecurities, but I'm able to acknowledge my positive features. Still, when someone compliments me, I feel confident for the rest of the day. I feel beautiful and empowered, and everyone deserves that.
Finally, it hit me: I would compliment at least three random people every day for a month. I would empower people who may be insecure, say the positive things that I thought about others, and become a more positive person that people could turn to.
Beautiful earrings, pretty jackets, cool shoes, bold makeup—I complemented it all, and recieved compliments in return. Sometimes I'd get odd looks, but eventually total strangers would break out into big smiles and thank me.
But then I noticed something: I was no longer hating my body. I'd gained almost 40 pounds after starting a new medication, and despite the new stretch marks and poorly-fitting clothes, I didn't hate myself.
I didn't feel the urge to stop eating or quit my medication. I didn't cry at night when I walked past my mirror, or think about how worthless I was when I passed people more beautiful than I would ever be. I wouldn't wish that I lived in another body, and I began to see the beauty in my own body.
Those beautiful earrings I saw someone wearing? My earrings were just as beautiful. That bold makeup? I started to experiment with mine and found a look that was perfect for me. The cool shoes? I'm working towards wearing a pair that I love, but I'm still a little nervous to wear.
I made people feel better about themselves, and in turn I started to feel better about myself. I found the beauty in my new body, and I started dressing in a way that showed that beauty to the rest of the world.
I went into this thinking that I would only be helping others, but in the end I helped myself the most. I am beautiful despite my weight gain; I've gained a new appreciation for the people around me; and I've found that loving others means that I'll come to love myself even more.
There is beauty in everyone, everything, and this little social experiment has proven that to me. Even people who aren't traditionally beautiful, such as myself, have something uniquely beautiful about them.
In a world that relies heavily on looks and vanity, coming to this realization has helped me realize something even greater:
Beauty can be found wherever you look. Point it out. Be loud about it. Help someone else realize that their efforts that morning weren't in vain, and you appreciate the work that they've put into their appearance.