Every young woman has the inner spirit to dream big and achieve great things. Seeking advice and finding role models among like-minded women can help you leap over the hurdles of your own self-consciousness. Stop worrying about what others think, unlock your confidence and start being your awesome self.
Do appearances define us?
'Which one should I use as my profile picture?' she asks her friends. 'Yeah, I like that one …'
We have all done it. Changed our Facebook profile picture several times, sometimes on the one day. Not because we feel it's outdated, but because we want to fit in. We want people to accept us and not judge us. We don't want to be seen as someone who is boring, unlikeable and awkward.
As spectators, we often subconsciously do exactly what we're worried about other people doing. Judging people by what they wear, and what they look like, without getting to know their personality.
This pressure over appearance isn't necessarily obvious, because really, who wants to believe they would spend days thinking about their profile picture? However, it's worth considering how it truly affects us.
When we go to school, when we go to a party, or even just going down the street, we are so caught up on the idea that our appearance reflects who we are, we have lost track of what really matters. It's easy to become insecure, lose confidence and restrict our adventurous side without even realising why. Self-doubt creeps into our thoughts, and there is always that nagging fear in the back of our minds about being accepted, just for how we look.
We need to learn to suppress these subtle, nagging feelings that seem to expose our insecurities, because appearances don't represent our whole story. Take your grandparents for example. Are they the most attractive and cool looking people in the world? Probably not, yet their hearts are nearly as big as the universe, filled with love for us.
Don't let appearances, and criticism about your looks, no matter what form it comes in, limit your dreams, because exterior opinions don't matter anyway! Use any self-doubt as fuel to drive your passions and achieve your goals. Make it a hurdle, or a goal to leap right over any outside negativity that makes you feel bad about the way you look. Enjoy what makes you unique.
Too often we try to hide the things that make us unique, yet these are often the things to embrace and polish and be proud of. It can be a harder path because sometimes it feels like you are going against the flow but in the long run it's worth it: you can look inside and know you stayed true to who you are.
Related: Read Ky's story
Erin McKinnon played for GWS Giants. She's is the youngest yet tallest player in the inaugural AFL women's league. Growing up playing a sport that was deemed only for boys potentially had repercussions on her self-image, and might have affected how others perceived her, but Erin never let it get in way.
'We'd get a few funny looks for playing footy,' Erin says, when her team rocked up to competitions where boys were also playing.
When the AFLW league started, some of the players were judged for the way they looked, instead of for their determination and hard work. Stereotypes began to form and some people labelled the new league 'GAYFL'.
'I don't let it bother me because the sport itself is so inclusive, and all the players are so supportive,' Erin says.
Erin's number one advice is to block out the hate, and prove the critics wrong, because there is no better feeling than that.
Related: Read Erin's story
Next time you pick your profile picture, choose one that reflects your personality, one of your interests, hobbies. Maybe a photo of you with someone you love. Make it memorable because do you really want to be known by everyone for your trendy clothes, make-up and staged smiles?
Don't choose a photo just because you think it will make you blend in with the crowd. After all, a picture cannot reflect who you truly are on the inside and your looks can't stop you from achieving great things.
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