Last night was one of the first times I have stayed in on a Saturday and it was surprisingly refreshing. It wasn’t exactly by choice, as I was working, but before that I had the pleasure of hosting a program for my freshman residents. Yes, I’m an RA. I called the program Flawless and the result was more than I could have hoped for.
The point of the program was to allow students to reflect on themselves. They each wrote down five things that they consider flaws followed by five attributes, either physical or pertaining to personality, that they love and are proud of. The final result was to pick their favorite qualities, write them down on various pieces of colored paper, and hang them by their mirrors as a reminder of their worth everyday.
Many of the girls focused on the physical, as that seems to be the common theme in our society. I loved seeing them proudly hold up their signs that said “Big Booty” “Hair” and of course “Thick Thighs”. It was great to see this type of empowerment already instilled within many of the residents and they had no shame flaunting it. What really struck me was how long it took some of the girls to write down qualities that they love about themselves. Everyone was able to quickly jot down their flaws – maybe to get it over with – or maybe because those qualities are what they typically focus on when they look in the mirror.
I had girls thanking me by the end of the program because it was that eye-opening for them. I had no idea it would make that great of an impact. I have always been raised in a household with a mother who tells me I am beautiful as I roll out of bed, no make-up to cover the blemishes, and hair thrown in a bun. Her consistent compliments in both my physical appearance and personality has given me a confidence that I carry with me everyday. I have learned to be kind to myself, despite the days where I feel a little more insecure because of my skin. You are your biggest critic and it’s so important to realize that early on so you ease up on your own harsh judgement.
Everyone deserves to feel confident. We live in a world that analyzes every aspect of who we are and we are constantly told to better ourselves. Yes, it is important to better yourself and strive for the best but that can only happen if you accept and love who you are. I am thankful for the people in my life who boost my confidence and this program was the perfect reminder that even strangers can have an impact on how you view yourself.
So if you have loved ones or people you admire, let them know. A simple, genuine, “you look great today” may be just the compliment they need to make their day worthwhile. We all have flaws – we may never be completely satisfied with ourselves – but there is no reason to dwell in that mindset when you could instead be strutting across the campus quad with a smile on your face because you know you look real good.
Be kind, especially to yourself.
XO – Autumn