What we see when we look in the mirror depends on our self-image.

This guest article is kindly brought to you by Valerie Priya, then a second-year student in Republic Polytechnic when it was published.

Do You Have a Positive Self-Image?

Look in the mirror: do you feel ugly? Well, you're NOT! You might think so because you’re influenced by what society has defined as "beautiful" or "ugly".

Everywhere you look, whether it's books, ads, movies, music videos, there are hints of what is supposed to be "pretty" and what is not.

It has such an influence on our self-esteem that many of us end up with negative self-images and loathe how we look even if there's nothing wrong with us!

Having these negative thoughts about how we look lowers our self-esteem and also affects our mental health.

Think about it! Movie stars, singers, models, they're all paid to look nice. Their job is to focus on their appearance. And they have designers, hairstylists, personal shoppers, and many other people paying attention to every detail to help them look their best!

Don't believe me? Find out what most stars look like when they're just chilling on a lazy Sunday!

And there's always Photoshop to make stars look perfect!​

4 Reasons We Should Define Beauty For Ourselves

I'm here to tell you that nobody can tell you what beauty is! Only YOU can decide! Here's why:

1. Everyone Has a Different Idea of Beauty

Ask the person next to you - what is "beauty"? Chances are, you won't agree on the definition of the word.

For some, it's a stick-thin model plastered on magazine covers or a blemish-free complexion. For others, it's anyone with a nice personality, who's kind or helpful.

That's why I recommend that no matter what you look like, build your self-esteem, develop your personality and do your best to be kind to everyone!

2. Nobody's Perfect No Matter How Perfect They May Look

Many girls and sometimes even guys suffer from eating disorders and starve themselves to be thin because the world has decided that not being thin means being "lazy" and "ugly".

Others slap make-up on their faces at a very young age because they're looking for perfection.

In my experience, flaws and imperfections are what make us human and unique in our own way!

More than that, everyone must learn to accept and love the person that they are. We should strive to be a better person with healthy self-esteem, not a better-looking one.

And you know what? Nobody's perfect!

3. I’ve Defined Beauty for Myself And You Can Too

Personally, I believe that true beauty is being happy with the people who surround you. It can be friends, family, pets, anything!

As long as you are surrounded by people who love you and bring out the best in you, then you are beautiful!

We should define 'beautiful' based on how we act and not how we look because looking good is easy, being a good person is not.

4. We Should Not Make Ourselves Suffer

In my opinion, our idea of what’s beautiful should not make us suffer.

Many people I know suffer from low self-esteem and mental health issues such as severe depression as they allow others to make them feel they don't fit in because of the way they look.

Teenagers all over the world struggle with their confidence and self-image. Fake images on media telling them what they should look like only make them question their sense of self-worth and feel even more inadequate and insecure!

I would like more people, including the media, to recognise that people with flaws are beautiful too. Move over skinny Kate Moss, hello curvy Adele!

And remember, you are the master of your perceptions and emotions! Let’s improve our self-esteem and create a positive self-image!

As you can see, there are many reasons to feel beautiful "no matter what they say"! ;)

And always remember this mantra:

a quote about being beautiful and gorgeous in your own way.

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