I recently came across a wonderful quote from Lupita Nyong’o, the talented and striking Oscar-winning actress from the movie 12 Years A Slave.

She had said, “You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.”

This statement of eloquent wisdom got me thinking about the concept of beauty. Since we were children, we were constantly told that “Beauty is the eye of the beholder” and “It’s the inside that counts” yet as we’ve grown older, it became more and more apparent that society values physical beauty higher in comparison to inner beauty.

We seem to be obsessed with and worship physical beauty and those who are born with it. Those who were not so fortunate go to the extremes of painful and costly cosmetic surgery in their desperate attempt of acquiring beauty.

In a sense, who can blame them?

Countless studies showed that those who are seen as attractive are provided preferential treatments such as higher pay, easy promotions, more dates, reality show offers, and the list goes on and on.

The message is clear: If you are part of the beautiful posse, you get all the perks. It is no wonder that more and more of the younger generation perceive beauty as something that they need to have in order to make their dreams of fame and fortune a reality.

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As absurd as it sounds, teenage girls and boys asking for plastic surgery as birthday or graduation gifts have become the norm. It all sounds too frightening to be true but it could all go downhill further if we don’t start to put a stop to it.

As a part of the collective society, each one of us has the responsibility to do something and change the perception of beauty once and for all, together.

The younger generation needs our help to show them the true meaning of beauty. They need more role models who can illustrate what true beauty is all about.

We need to shine the light that it is OK to be imperfect, that our imperfections are actually what makes us truly unique.

Each one of us is one of a kind. We have more to offer than our physical bodies and our beauty extends the depth of our skins.

It all starts with being true and kind to ourselves. When we accept who we are, flaws and all, others will take notice and perhaps it will inspire them to do the same and in turn, they too will inspire others.

The truth is every single one of us is flawed, including those who seemingly look like they have it all together.

No one is perfect and that’s how it’s meant to be so we need to stop striving for the illusion of perfection. If everyone were perfect, imagine how boring and uninteresting the world would be.

Start embracing yourself today, just as you are. It’s time to let your true colors shine through!

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