From the Desk

The greatest lesson I have learned in past four years has not come from a textbook, nor has it come from a classroom lecture. Learning how to boost your confidence can only be learned through life’s lessons.

It is not always easy to learn. Advertising and TV shows depict that women must be blonde, thin and tan to be attractive. Men need to be tall and athletic with perfect teeth. If you think that people at Christian schools, such as Liberty, are exempt from the “superficial status,” think twice.

We all know that confidence is found in Christ alone. In a business leadership class that I took as a freshman , this lesson was pounded into my mind. I learned that true confidence does not come from work, wealth, fame or looks. After class ended, I discovered that it takes work to develop a healthy self-esteem.

That’s why I am going to share lessons that I wish someone had told me when I was a freshman. Lesson number one: do not listen to stereotypes.

The Media Awareness Network investigates media’s role and impact on groups within societies. It mentions that TV, movies, music and other forms of entertainment strongly stereotype women. For example, the article “Media and Girls” says that “girls and women are motivated by love and romance, appear less independent than boys, and are stereotyped according to their hair color.”

Blonde women are often categorized as sweet, girls-next door, Reese Witherspoon stereotypes and redheads are perceived as rough, tomboys. Yet, all women in mainstream media share three common traits, according to the article.

“(Women) are nearly always conventionally attractive, thinner than average women in real life, and heavily sexualized,” according to Media Awareness Network website.

Not everyone is built naturally thin, but everyone is beautifully made in God’s image. When you care less about pleasing people and more about fulfilling God’s will, you will see a new face in the mirror.

Lesson number two: stop conforming and start confronting. What I mean is, focus less on blending in with the crowd and more on changing the problems you see around you.

Advertising and sexualized images make it more difficult to focus on the important aspects of life. Abercrombie and Fitch’s advertising and images focus entirely on superficial things, such as appearance, and they lead teens to do the same. As a result, they begin to worship materialism instead of focusing on God.

Teens spend their money buying overpriced clothes, simply because they want to fit in with the crowd.

Unfortunately, I used to be one of those teens. I am not saying appearance is completely unimportant. Nice attire definitely helps boost confidence during job interviews and social interactions, but the clothes should be bought for the right reasons.

My last piece of advice to you is simple—stop worrying or fearing the future and start living, laughing and loving in the present. I was recently inspired to take this advice myself after reading an article in a magazine.

A young novelist wrote the article, based on her personal experiences of people telling her what she was and was not capable of achieving. She was told in high school that her grades were not good enough to get into a great college, and her writing was not “good enough” to become an author one day. Then, she proved everyone wrong by publishing not one, but four books.

Like her, I have learned to stop worrying about the future and fearing failure. Remember, everyone fails, but it is up to you to rise again.

The next time someone stereotypes you or makes fun of you for being different, keep your chin up, and show others that you are happy with the gifts and talent God has given you.

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