Being beautiful does not start with looks, make-up, clothing, or Photoshop. It has nothing to do with societal approval and what who thinks or doesn’t think. It has nothing to do with celebrities and 3, 6 packs or whatever other packs there might be. Outer beauty fades with time because it is only skin deep. The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines beauty as the “combination of qualities that give pleasure to the senses (esp to the eye or ear) or to the mind”. In this article we are going to focus about you, not those around you, just you, and how confidence in yourself can do wonders for your beauty.

Know who you are and be you
Who are you? What are those things that are unique to you? What defines you? If you are a calm person and shy—don’t sweat it, you can work on being firm as time goes but you are just fine. Are you outspoken and naturally curious—you can work on avoiding excessiveness but you don’t have to impossibly try turning yourself into being reserved and indifferent? You know yourself better and once you have discovered who you really are (perhaps with the help of family and friends) then do everything to be that. With the billions of people on this planet, there is only one YOU, so then—Strive to Be You and Not Anyone Else.

Love who you are
The positives, alright? Alright. We each have weaknesses and things about us that are not good. For these, work on how to be better. So, once you have known who you are and have determined to be you, next thing is that you should decide to learn to love yourself. Other people’s love for you should come as a bonus but you should be able to love yourself more than anyone else can love you. If you must go to a beauty parlour, let it be because you want to give your lovely self a treat not as if your life or existence depends on it. Celebrate you whenever you can, no matter how small.

Be comfortable not pressured
Prioritise comfort over societal perceptions. The latest blazer Denzel Washington is wearing has nothing to do with you, it’s none of your business unless you are a fashion critic, designer or something close to that. Let Denzel wear what Denzel is comfortable in and you wear what you are comfortable in. Just because it looks good on Beyonce or Rihanna doesn’t mean it will look good on you. Just because Nicki got them long eyelashes in that music video doesn’t mean you go get them too. The latest fashion and the most expensive accessories will look awkward on you if you are not naturally comfortable wearing them. So, learn to wear what feels comfortable and don’t give in to the unnecessary pressure from the world around you.

Approve yourself first
Say YES to yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how lovely, smart, unique, fun, or whatever else you are. Say it with warmth and energy in your voice and smile on your face, say it like you mean it and believe it. Validate yourself whether or not the people in your life validate you, learn to validate yourself. Pick up that photograph and compliment yourself on how you looked in that shirt, those shoes, how you have grown, or even how beautifully the sun rays touched your face. The approval of others won’t matter if you haven’t approved yourself first. And who says you need the world’s approval anyway?

Feel good about yourself regardless
You may be going through a tough and stressful situation, not having a new item in your wardrobe, experiencing loss, heartbreak or disappointment or whatever phase you may be going through. Determine to be confident about yourself anyway. Let it show in the liveliness in your voice when you speak, the effortlessness in your smile and laughter, the life in your steps and strides when you walk, in an upright confident posture when you sit, or in a firm sincere handshake. Whatever you do, let your confidence shine through your actions and radiate from your face. Beauty starts with you first, who you are and how you feel about you.