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Mental Awareness Week - Body Image- ‘Our Looks do not define us’

Written by Rachel Blair - NICCY Youth Panel

As a teenager I can honestly tell you that the worst thing about being a teenager is spots. You might think that the worst thing might be trying to make friends or doing exams but my generation is far more self conscious about our appearance than we should be and in the end, the only person judging that one spot on your chin is you.

We've all at some point felt self-conscious about a certain part of our body. Whether that's a small thing like a blackhead on your nose or a big thing like disliking how your body looks in the mirror. Partially, social media is to blame for that, with high quality photos of models and products by influencers promising the impossible but truly guaranteeing no real results. Due to our self-consciousness we may end up looking for a remedy for acne or a new diet plan and become so blinded by our fear of not being perfect that we forget how risky these options can be.

Maybe, as cheesy as it sounds, what we're really looking for is a way to feel better, regardless of how the product will make us look. Imagine how much money make up companies would lose if we all decided that we would only buy makeup if we truly wanted to, and not because we think that we need makeup to look good. This also applies to guys (or girls ) who think that going to the gym is the only way for them to look good and gain approval. Do you really think that becoming somebody else's version of beautiful is going to make you happy? Or is it just a temporary fix to help elevate your mood? Looking and feeling good is great, after all we all love to feel pretty but we need to be careful in case we begin thinking that if we don't look conventionally pretty then we can't be happy.

 We all deserve days in hoodies and jeans with no makeup on, where we can just relax and be teenagers. After all, these are the best days of our lives and with all the exams we do, we definitely deserve to binge watch our favourite programmes with our friends without a care in the world in regard to our hair, clothing or how we look. We need to do things we actually want to do. For some people that means doing makeup or exercising, whereas others would prefer a movie night or drawing. What we love to do, our actions and our personality define who we are, not our looks.

Our looks do not define us, if only we were taught that at school.

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