Throughout the month of June, we've run a competition on our Facebook page asking Foróige members, "What does positive self image mean to you?" Positive Self Image is the major theme for this year's Reference Panel - a representative group of young people who speak on behalf of all of our members nationally (see the Reference Panel Report here). The winning entry for the competition is an amazing article, "I may not be perfect but I am always me". The article is a personal story of how one young person coped through a particularly bad time and their advice to others. It is an uplifting read and we think a truly deserving winner of 2 x €30 Ticketmaster vouchers! Well done to our worthy winner - who asks that they remain anonymous - and all the young people who entered the competition.
“I may not be perfect but I’m always me”
How I used to be…I used to be the girl who always wondered what she looked like in other people’s eyes, I used to be the girl who tried to be someone she wasn’t. I used to be the girl who so desperately tried to fit in with people. I used to be the girl who believed she had the perfect group of friends when she hadn’t. I used to be the girl who tried to be the person she thought people would like. Most of all I used to be the girl who was afraid to be herself.
Often people get so caught up in ‘following the crowd’ that they become lost and find themselves being someone they are not. I speak from personal experience when I say this. Being yourself and not someone else makes you a much happier person. It feels as if a weight has been lifted off your shoulders as you are no longer living in ‘the prison of the person you aren’t’. Words that got me through:
As I’m sitting here,
Looking at you,
Thinking of me,
Trying to be you,
Now I must remember,
I am who I am,
I do what I do,
And I am not you.
Just like me this poem isn’t perfect but it came from me and it has meaning. We are all ‘different’ and that’s what makes the world today. Never forget. It took me a long time to admit to myself that nobody is perfect. I always believed that I was the only one with faults and imperfections but in fact I wasn’t. As a teenager today it’s clear that so many of us spend too much time trying to be like others and are too afraid to express ourselves. We feel the pressure to blend in with the ‘crowd’ as we are too afraid to stand out and be noticed. For me this quote sums up what I am trying to say.
“The greatest prison people live in, is the fear of what other people think.” And people are also scared of being unique. Never hide behind a mask. As the song says:
Don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colours
Your true colours
I used to believe that I needed a mask to hide behind but really I didn’t. For me the mask was of course the usual things for girls - make up, nice clothes and a gang of girls. It wasn’t until I was faced with a horrible situation where my confidence was knocked that I discovered I was able to manage without the mask. For people who know me personally I am an outgoing and very chatty person. It may come as a shock to them but when I was in that nasty situation I went home and cried for days. I hated myself and I felt like everybody hated me as well. I became a much better person because of what happened and I found my real friends. It took me a long time to get over it but once I did I haven’t looked back. The message I am trying to get across is that there may be times when you only have a bad image of yourself and you feel like you aren’t important but you are. Never ever let anyone tell you otherwise and never ever let anyone stop you from being yourself.
YOU ARE UNIQUE AND THAT’S WHAT MATTERS.