What’s the best way to look beautiful? Just be you. That’s all you can ask for.
Hands up anyone if you were bullied as a child? Yes, yes. I see a lot of hands. And I bet it was all because you acted or looked different than your peers in school? I’m seeing a lot more heads nodding. This is quite concerning.
Anyone who grew up prior to, well, a few years ago, will testify that the burden of bullying haunts a lot of individuals early in their life and intensifies in their adolescent years, often following them afterwards thanks to wonderful platforms like social media.
I was one of such individuals who was on the receiving end of the ugly bully stick: I had a high-pitched voice; uncanny proficiency in French ( at that time in the late-80s and early-90s it was still…taboo to speak French, what with the whole separatist movement in Quebec at the time); and a more feminine demeanour. These made up a hundred per cent combination towards the bully stick beatdown I endured for pretty much all of my high school years and after.
Self-confidence was a rare commodity; to survive meant sacrificing your individuality, often at the severe cost of your soul. This was (and is) relatively common; have the same interests, same perspectives, same style preferences and culinary tastes as your social circle. Any deviation from it meant a relentless assault of nitpicking and sometimes even ostracization. Not very fun, and doesn’t contribute a lot to one’s sense of self-worth if everything they do is ultimately to please others. There’s one video I saw about a girl who was bullied to the point of bleeding agony, and the whole thing was filmed. It was in Quebec somewhere given the heavy French-Canadian accent. I’m not going to post it as it’s too harsh and quite honestly made my blood boil. But this was commonplace when I was growing up, and unfortunately I’m sure it’s a frequent occurrence for a lot of my audience too.
Shift to today’s environment. Way more liberal and progressive than even ten years ago. There seems to be a bigger push to embrace one’s differences rather than submit to the groupthink of generations past. With transgendered kids and adults in particular, there’s a greater sense of acceptance of yourself for who you are, and I think this is paramount to developing one’s own unique sense of confidence and solidify their place in this world where conformity is a lingering residue from outdated practices from millennia ago.
The traditional beauty and entertainment industries will try to make you think and feel otherwise, as the core of their businesses are on their capability to dictate style and social tastes, but now a few other organizations and even celebrities are championing individuality and I couldn’t be happier.
Companies like Dove are pushing for natural beauty, albeit through their product lines, but at least it’s a start. From ads with women of all shapes and complexions, it’s a refreshing sight to see the push for individuality and acceptance for who we are as individuals. Then there’s Special K. I’ve noticed a few ads lately where they are jumping on the Love-Thyself! bandwagon. Their “#OwnIt” campaign surrounding the controversial topic of body shape and a dangerous gravitation of girls and women to conform to unrealistic body form expectations society has (willingly) inflicted onto itself is effective and instills positive images and thoughts into the minds of mainly women who struggle with body image issues.
And Alessia Cara’s song “Scars to Your Beautiful” highlights the plight of a young girl so starved for attention, literally, that all she dreams to be is beautiful and goes to great lengths to achieve it, unknowing that she is perfect just the way she is. The video is an inspirational composition of people struggling to find their place in society. A powerful piece to say the least.
I know that us here at Golden Touch make it a missive to encourage people to find their unique beauty in spite of societal or industry standards and fads. Cathy, the founder, has helped me discover myself and my style by offering a comfortable and compassionate environment in which to let me be me without prejudice. She consistently reflects this with her clientele at every opportunity. I’m sure this is something you’d want to experience especially when discovering and embracing your true self.
While a lot of people have succumbed to the nails and darts lobbed by disgusting people whose sole intention was to shame, infuse guilt and make people feel small, this new generation is going on the right path to preserve the personal dignity so many of us have long sought after, often in the ultimate discretion.
So be yourself without shame. You can’t be anyone else.
Sean is chief advisor of branding and operations with Golden Touch Medispa. His articles feature stories involving confidence, inner beauty and the push to discover oneself through unconventional means.