As we gear up for the Mr and Ms Studentdigz pageant starting in July, it’s worth bearing in mind that beauty is an amazingly changeable thing. For much of history, it was considered a good thing to be nicely rounded, regardless of your culture or gender, as it showed you were prosperous and doing well in the world – you only need to look at old European paintings to see evidence of this. Moving across to our own continent, there’s no disputing that traditional African culture, even today, looks fondly on curves.
Sadly, our modern view of beauty has been formed by the media (see here for a glimpse of how the “perfect” female body has changed over the last 100 years). Because of this, many young people, both male and female, see themselves as lacking if they don’t look like a supermodel – which is even sadder as supermodels are not exactly known for their healthy lifestyles.
So how can we counteract that and find our own beauty?
Instead of honing in on your flaws when you look in the mirror, shift your focus to the body parts you do like and suspend judgement on the rest. What is totally unique about you? Do you have beautiful eyes, lips or hands? Are your arms or legs well defined? Is your skin clear and radiant? Wow, you’re beautiful!
Smile at yourself (and others)
When we smile (and preferably mean it, but even if we don’t), our attractiveness ramps up several levels. It doesn’t matter if your teeth are a bit crooked, your lips too thin, or your mouth too small/big, etc. Smiling makes you look (and feel) friendly, happy and approachable, and who isn’t attracted to that?
Cultivate your inner beauty
We all know people who aren’t physically super-attractive, yet are constantly surrounded by admirers. Their beauty is a kind of inner radiance that comes from the fact that they like and accept themselves and others, just as they are. Luckily, that’s something we can all work towards – take a personal development course, work with a counsellor or simply focus on being nice to yourself.
Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and the corollary to that is that when you see yourself as beautiful, others do too. How wonderful that something so powerful is completely up to us!