|Photo by Jennifer Alder Photography|
A Youthful Perspective on Real Beauty
By Erica Mann
"Beauty is something that lies within and radiates outward."
I am an aspiring American model and actress who is best known for her athletic background as a track and field runner. Since I was young I noticed how many people worked so hard to meet the standard of what society calls beauty.
I always felt so fortunate because I was surrounded by women who were confident in themselves and stood strong in what they believed in. The women in my life stood out in their achievements such as becoming presidents and leaders of organizations, owning their own businesses and even a graduate from Harvard. Although I had great examples of women who saw themselves as beautiful and had beautiful hearts, the great example of men that would treat women like ladies and respect them as women also made a difference. These great examples loved the women in their lives as they were with flaws and all. Experiencing this, I knew I did not have to change for anyone.
I knew that I was made for a reason and I used that to my advantage. I was taller than most so I started playing sports and did pretty well in it, with the support of my dad, older brother and great coaches. I also started modeling. The natural state of my hair was kinky and curly so I started a forum on facebook called “The Natural Hair Support Group” with a few of my peers. I learned to embrace myself the way that I was and know that I was made for a purpose.
"The two main influences in my life were my father and mother. The things that they did to ensure I was taken care of made me feel worth more than what any amount of money could buy."
Many people approached me saying “Are those your parents? They are so nice.” Which made me feel so proud of them and reminded me how kindness can go a long way? The love and support that I received from my parents made me feel that I could do anything in the world with no limitation. For this I give honor to God because my parents worked to live according to the Word. No they were not perfect, but I knew that they tried the best they knew how to support and take care of their family.
That is where my beauty stems from, the great examples of family and friends that allowed Jesus to use them. They have shown their love and kindness in ways that have made differences in people’s lives. Everyone has something unique to offer, and to acknowledge that and use it instead of hiding it because of what the world may say is acceptable, is beautiful.
“Don’t let people stop you from being who you are and never let negative situations make you bitter and treat other people ugly. It’s not worth it.”
One of My favorite quotes:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”- Marianne Williamson
So, shine the way God intended for YOU to shine and let beauty speak for itself.
For more information on Erica Mann follow her on Facebook/twitter or visit her blog at www.EricaExperience.blogspot.com