I watched this video today and hearing Lilly’s self-perception broke my heart and yet I think it is just the perfect example as to what is wrong with our society and the values that are being portrayed on TV, in magazines, on social media and so forth.
Lilly is 10 years old and she is worried that she will not be pretty enough when she grows up for boys to like her, she even talks about how she cried because a girl in her school is so pretty and she believes she can never reach that level of pretty.
This is definitely not the first time I have ever heard this kind of stuff being said by a young girl and I mean I definitely have found myself worrying about these kind of things all throughout my childhood and teenage years, but it is still heart breaking to hear it.
I am now a third year university student, I have moved on from the world of school that seemed so important and essential when I was younger and I have to say these uni years are the ones where I have learned the most about self worth. I am not saying I am always happy with how I look or that I don’t wish to be thinner most days or smaller, so that I seem cute, or in general prettier, but at the same time I am gaining so much more confidence in other parts of my life that I care less and less about my appearance.
This kind of has to do that people start to react differently to achievements that have nothing to do with popularity or being pretty. People seem to value my other qualities and that is enormous confidence boost.
I get told that it is awesome that I can speak two languages on the level of a native, that I can speak French almost fluently and know the basics of Spanish, that I have the ambition to learn more languages. I mean how cool would it be to be able to speak all official languages of the UN?
People tell me that they value my guts for moving to Canada by myself when I was 16 for a year, for looking after a child for a year when I was 19, for moving to a different country for my university degree, for going to Peru for the summer to do an internship.
People have told me that they like that I am caring, that they know they can count on me, and I have to say this makes me proud because it is a quality I admire in other people.
I am starting to realise that there is so much more that people value about me than I would have ever thought, even if some of the things seem trivial to me, just because they are soooo normal to me.
But at the same time I am realising that some of my friends are still struggling a lot with these kind of issues.
A friend of mine lost a lot of weight over the summer and was dissatisfied with the reaction of others, that she did not suddenly get a boyfriend or that people didn’t really seem to care. But I have to say, I am proud of her for going through with it, but it does not change who she is to me. She is my friend and I value her for being a great listener and being great at giving advice, for being someone I can talk to when I am lost and knowing that she will be there for me. For being driven and wanting a career and doing everything she can to get there.
One of my friends says of herself that she is very opinionated and that she thinks that guys don’t find her attractive because of it and that’s why she acts so differently around guys. Which again, I very much do not agree with. Her wit and knowledge are some of the best attributes she has. She knows what she is talking about and she will be open-minded and is an amazing person to talk to when it comes to any kind of intellectual stuff. Plus she is funny and incredibly sarcastic and it is just beautiful.
There are so many examples of friends of mine who either worry about being too sporty, too girly, too thin, too fat, too quiet, too loud, too stupid, too smart, too boring, too something, to ever be liked by someone (guy/ girl/whatever really). There is seems to be so much pressure to be good enough for someone else when that shouldn’t matter as the most important thing should be, to be good enough for yourself, to be the best person you can be.
The reason that I am writing this as a response to the video is that we need to rethink the values we are teaching younger generations, because it starts at that age that we get our beauty ideals and ideas of what matters to us. As you can see from the examples from my life there are so many people that still struggle with the values they have been taught when they were children and, that keep getting reinforced by society, and we need to stop this as young as possible. A thought pattern that has been carved into our brains for 15 to 20 years is incredibly hard to break and that is why we need to make sure we raise young girls, and boys, to be their best selves and that their outer appearance is not the most important thing in the world, but that, as cliché as it sounds, it is on the inside that matters and what YOU choose to do with the abilities that you have! There is no point in hating on yourself because of standards within society, because conforming to the rules does not automatically mean you are having a great life, because we are all different and all these different qualities will help us be the best version of ourselves and help us to find our place in the world.
Soooooo much love,