Radiance from Within

Have you ever read something that stops you in your tracks and brings you to tears? I know I have. For instance, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult and Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore, to name a couple.

Now, have you ever read an online blog post that moved you to tears? As of a few minutes ago, I can now say I have.

This letter written by Dr. Kelly Flanagan, a licensed clinical psychologist and father of three, had me weeping in my university’s library. This letter, addressed to his young daughter, takes a stab at the beauty and entertainment industry, whose skewed views on what it really means to be beautiful have seeped into the minds of young women across the world, destroying the self-confidence of many, one photoshopped magazine at a time.

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These industries have led people everywhere to come to believe that central to a woman’s beauty is her body, rather than her mind or her heart. I myself have been torn down by the world’s flawed definition of beauty, allowing the media to brainwash me into believing that being skinny is better than being healthy and that it’s what’s on the outside that matters more than what’s on the inside. I still have a lot to work on in this regard, don’t let me fool you, but this article made me want to change my ways all the more.

It is words like those from Dr. Flanagan that give me hope and bring me back to the reality that the media and the beauty and entertainment industries are the ones with the problematic definition of what it means to be beautiful. It is the media and these industries that are reinforcing these toxic pressures on women to be “perfect,” when perfection does not exist.

We, as a society, need to challenge the media to change the way it talks about beauty. We need to remind both men and women that your own beauty lies inside, in your soul. Sure this beauty can be outwardly displayed, but not in how you dress or what kind of makeup you dawn, but in your actions and your words, in how you choose to live your life.

Your true beauty has nothing to do with your haircut, your nail polish or your weight. Your true beauty lies in your strength to go after what you believe in, to live passionately and happily, to chase your dreams, to strive to make a difference in the world. Your true beauty lies in your ability to love yourself and to love the people and the world around you. 

It’s time to take a stand. It’s time to stop letting the media, celebrities, the fashion industry or anybody else tell us what it means to be beautiful. It’s time to embrace that everyone is beautiful in their own way, each with something unique to offer this crazy and wonderful world. It’s time for us to start changing the way we talk about beauty, and to stop making it about our bodies (thank you, Kenan, for this wonderful link).

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Remember, today and every day, that you are beautiful. You are valuable. You are worthy. And most importantly, you are the only you there is and there ever will be. Embrace and treasure this gift, a you that is once in a lifetime. 

Thank you, Dr. Flanagan, for speaking up and reminding your sweet daughter, and all of your newfound Internet friends, what beauty is really all about.

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Movie Theater Forecast: Snow and Strength

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This weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing Walt Disney‘s latest animated film, Frozen. If you haven’t had a chance yet to see it, STOP ALL THAT YOU ARE DOING AND GO TO THE MOVIE THEATER IMMEDIATELY. Ahem. 

In my humble opinion, Frozen is Disney’s most progressive film to date. While most Disney movies focus on a princess hoping to be saved by her knight in shining armor, Frozen takes a different approach. In Frozen, a lead female character is the heroine, and she is able to save herself. 

This movie is the ultimate portrayal of girl power, and it also shows that the bond between sisters is one that can never be broken.

The movie turns the typical fairytale story on its head, and portrays a female character who is real to the core, and who at time is a bit awkward, but who, in the end, proves that she is brave and valiant.

If you need some empowerment in your life, especially all you ladies out there reading this, go see Frozen – you will not regret it!

I’ll end with a sappy quote that has inspired me this week, and that I hope will serve to empower you until you are able to make a trip to the movie theater.

Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think & twice as beautiful as you’d ever imagined.