equipping people to be
pursuing eXcellence through
the right Behaviour,
at the right Time,
for the right People©
Authenticity is one of the sub-attributes of SELF-AWARENESS – the starting point for Influential Leadership.
A young lady in Vietnam recently submitted an essay to an international essay contest convened by the Goi Peace Foundation (The International Essay Contest for Young People).
She, like the rest of humanity, struggles with a sense of self; who we are, loving ourselves, being confident of our uniqueness.
We can never excel at who we are, if we try to fit the mould of others, or the image we create for ourselves.
The sooner we authenticate ourselves the better.
Here is Ms My Kieu Thi Cu’s (or Cu Thi Kieu My in Vietnamese style) essay for your pleasure.
In the manufacturing world, products have to be tested to make sure that they meet all the requirements and are up to the company’s standard before being sold on the market. In the human world, to some extents, we have started to use this rule on females to form a ruler to measure female appearance, which is known as “the beauty standard”. As an Asian girl, I grow up being told that a pretty girl is the skinny one with fair skin, V-shaped jaw, double eyelids, a straight small nose, small face, full lips, big round eyes and so on. Unfortunately, I am not up to the standard. The fact that I meet none of these requirements took me nearly 8 years pitying myself, wondering why I was not blessed with that beauty, missing opportunities due to my self- consciousness, torturing my body with extreme diets before realizing that I do not need any standard to be me, I am not goods, I am a girl who has her own value. I believe that I am not the only one who lose myself by the attempts to be beautiful. This is why changes should be made for us, girls, to understand that it is ok not to satisfy the criterion of physical beauty.
As humans, we love what we think is beauty, and that is fine, as long as we do not turn it into a syndrome, an obsession and a template that becomes a personal goal cell we build with our own minds and emotions. However, to many girls, being physically beautiful is so important that they are willing to exchange anything for prettiness. For example, I used to skip meals to lose weight rapidly which resulted in my eating disorder, I bought those super push-up bras to make more of what I don’t have, I wore layers of clothing in a tropical climate to stay white. Moreover, some girls even go as far as having plastic surgery done to change the way they look and to re-shape their bodies. That is a painful and risky process whose price is sometimes their own life.
While looking in the mirror, I wonder what the world may look like if we all look the same, like a set of products which meets all the standard but unidentified. The vision scares me. I realize that having a gorgeous appearance is good but not everything, it is the condition of our heart that matters. This is what is reflected in our behaviors and has a far more lasting impact on the people around us. Then I change. Instead of starving myself, I choose healthy food and work out. I start to play sports, go outdoor and enjoy life without the thick layer of clothing. I improve my skills, my knowledge and my connection with the world. I try hard in everything I do, I aim for my self- growth, my contribution to society and I make the best out of myself. I use what I have to make up for what I lack. When I decide to change, the world around me changes, I find myself meeting inspirational people, seizing chances and for the first time in my life, I appreciate my presence and proud of who I am. My self-consciousness turns into my self-awareness. The change I want to offer the world lies in the change I make to myself because I know before I am capable of changing anything around me, I have to be a change myself.
From what I went through, I would like women to know that being beautiful means more than just physical beauty, it is the value you add to other people’s lives and your surroundings and wherever you might find yourself that matters. We lead by example so let us be the ones to change the present focus from the outer physical characteristics of a woman to the inner beauty that lies within each one of us – then there will be no need for anyone to feel inferior. After all, each one of us is unique and has something special to offer the world.
Hello Ms My Kieu Thi Cu,
I enjoyed your essay very much!
Here is a quote especially for you “Beauty Begins The Moment You Decide to Be Yourself”. Tammy Taylor