For most of my life I was obsessed with being pretty; my happiness depended on whether or not I liked what I saw in the mirror. I was convinced that how other people treated me was completely dependent on my looks, I also thought my looks would determine my success. Looking back I can’t believe how crazy I was.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that to be successful, confident and happy, you have to be strong. I don’t really mean physically, although that is part of it, I mean strength of character: knowing who you are and your value as a person, being able to you push yourself. If you look at almost every successful person, their looks didn’t have much to do with their success. JK Rowling was a broke single mother suffering from depression when she wrote Harry Potter, her work as a writer made her the 12th richest woman in Great Britain. She was successful because she was strong, her strength allowed her to overcome tough circumstances and write instead of succumbing to her poverty and depression. Sophia Amoruso was broke and living with her mom when she started Nasty Gal. At one point she even had to dumpster dive, now she has a billion dollar company. There are a many, many other examples but my point is this: being pretty is fine, being strong is better; being strong leads to success.
I know us girls can put a lot of importance on how we look- all the social media these days plays a large role in that- but there is much more to being beautiful than how you look, (cue the eye rolls). I see people who are physically attractive all the time, but its much more rare to find someone who is comfortable with who they are, completely steadfast. When I meet someone like this I am awed, that inner strength is beautiful and intimidating. It is also an important determinant for success. Inner strength (also known as grit) means having confidence, authenticity and trusting your intuition. If you want to be successful you have to be strong.
So of course the question is, how do we become strong?
1- Take care of yourself: here’s the truth: successful people take the time to sleep, exercise, eat well and look presentable. Incorporating these habits into your life can be challenging but it will be the most rewarding experience. You can start slow…developing a healthy lifestyle is an art and takes time. The trick is to make smart decisions over and over again (sadly this is much easier said then done).
2- Pursue your passion: You may not know exactly what you want to do with your life, but you probably have a hobby/activity that makes you happy (netflix marathons don’t count). This could be something like painting, playing an instrument, soccer, writing, cooking…whatever it is, start pursuing that. Push yourself a little more, when we pursue an activity that we feel passionate about and begin to improve, that gives us confidence.
3- Challenge yourself: We love our comfort zones, they’re so…easy. Ironically when we hold ourselves back and stay in our comfort zones we actually are less happy then when we go after something difficult and succeed. Sometimes we won’t succeed but persistence will win in the end.
4- Don’t let the muggles get you down: (A lot of Harry Potter in this post). It is so easy when you’re at work or spending time with friends to let them bring your level of energy down. People love to complain and I know how tempting it is to join the pity party. However, our energy is precious and when we don’t use it wisely or when we let others drain it, we become weak. If you’re in a situation where everyone is whining, take yourself out of it. Maybe you can’t actually leave the building but mentally check out and think about something else, change the subject or just go to a different room. Your energy is your strength.
5- Comparison kills: Comparing yourself is easy, even now I am often tempted to do so. But here is the thing: You are you. Comparison kills joy and confidence. As I’ve said probably a thousand times before, you should focus on becoming the best version of yourself, pursuing your dreams and treating others with respect.
I hope this helps you find your strength. I know a lot of you may be skeptical while reading this…its hard to believe sometimes that our looks aren’t as important as we think they are, but once you abandon this notion and focus on becoming strong, real beauty will follow.