“Radiate” is the title of this blog, and it is my challenge to you. The dictionary gives us the basic definition of the word, which is to glow; to extend or spread; to emit in waves of light.
With that in mind, I want you to forget about the concept of body image, or body love. Forget about the media, the hype, the judgment, the stereotypes, the glamorized standards of what makes a person beautiful. Forget them, because all of those things contribute to the limitations of who is allowed to feel empowered, sexy, strong and validated.
Instead, I want to encourage you to radiate with self-love, which goes beyond simply feeling comfortable in the body you have. Self-love means following your innermost compass instead of advice from a so-called “beauty expert.” It means nurturing your soul with the music, the art, the books, the places and the people that make you happy. It means letting go of what you cannot control, and striving to shape the things you can.
It means slowing down enough to feel the sun on your back or the rain on your face, or stopping to look up in wonder at a night sky that is glowing with the same magnificent stardust that courses through your veins.
Last but not least, it means loving yourself enough to enjoy every part of the process in shaping yourself into who you have always wanted to be. Don’t let one bad day ruin your grand visions of progress, and don’t let the opinion of one person or even the entirety of the media be the rigid outline that you force yourself to fit into.
Allow your humbled confidence, your inner truth, every milestone you’ve reached and far surpassed, and the light that can’t be captured with an Instagram filter, to radiate. Those “waves” that you emit have the potential to reach others in moments when they need a source of raw, humanistic inspiration the most. And, in addition to inspiring others, you may even inspire you.
“How would your life be different if … You stopped allowing other people to dilute or poison your day with their words or opinions? Let today be the day … You stand strong in the truth of your beauty and journey through your day without attachment to the validation of others.” -Steve Mariboli, “Life, the Truth, and Being Free”
Collegian Health and Wellness Blogger Haleigh McGill can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org.