Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Take action. Create motion. Change the world.

Inspirational. Empowering. Amazing. Three powerful words, many ordinary people, countless extraordinary actions; Women In The World London summit 2015. 

I never thought such ordinary people could be the ones to change the world, changing the lives of girls and women around the world for the better. You dream of being one of them, but never in a million years think you will be, but maybe, just maybe, one day I can be. Women in the world showed that anyone can, anyone will and anyone does.

For years I've wanted to make the lives of girls and young women better, allowing them to be who they truly are and with confidence to achieve. My reach was limited to those around me, but two years I started to dream bigger. I was lucky enough to be part of a partnership between Dove, The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and Girlguiding, and through my role as a Lead Volunteer I started to have a bigger reach, across the UK but also to other members of WAGGGS globally. This may seem like I've done enough, had my turn at making the lives of girls and women better, but I haven't. All around me I see not only young girls but also adult women hiding in their shadow, wanting to have another body and shying away from who they truly are. The fight for body confidence and high self esteem is far from over, not even close, that's why we must, I must, do more to free society from the grip low body confidence has on the majority of us. Being part of Women In The World London Summit 2015, and 'Generation girl' (a programme sponsored by Dove) has made me determined to more.

Having the opportunity to listen to stories from a variety of women voicing their struggles, many trying to achieve equality, others just wanting a better life, opened my eyes to not giving up. The raw emotion and their determination was incredible. Many were just 'ordinary' people but their sheer persistence and bravery have turned them into 'extraordinary' people creating change, paving a new way for future generations. Their drive for change continues, they're continuing with their fight, they haven't given up. Nothing is enough for these incredible individuals and it is empowering to see. 

There was one particular individual which touched my emotions more than others. A struggle of a shy, but academic, school girl who had been sexually abused at age 11 by her teacher, a person in a position of trust. The confidence she lacked to make people believe her and the self destruction it spiraled into was frightening. Years passed between the abuse ending and feeling able to tell anyone which plummeted her in to the depths of metal health illnesses with no one knowing why. Despite this she is now a successful woman with no sign in sight of her struggles as a school girl, but the pain she encountered is pain no one should. Time and time again we hear stories of abuse at the hand of people we trust and children lacking in confidence too scared to speak out.

Inspirations didn't just appear from the stage, or those who have made a big impact in changing the world, but more locally to those I was sharing the experience with. Other members lucky enough to be part of 'Generation Girl' revealed that every one of us are passionate about something and intend to change the world. The energy we created when talking so passionately about our intentions was incredible to see. Wherever we were from, whatever our background we know how we want to create change to better the lives of those around us.

Creating change can happen alone, but the effect may only be felt individually. Change needs actions behind it, strong people to pave the way for others and hope that others follow. We know these people exist, but what makes them succeed, what makes people listen to them and walk alongside? My belief from seeing so many incredible change makers recently is that they have three main characteristics:

  1. Confidence; confidence in themselves as a change maker that they can succeed and can change the world no matter what others say.
  2. Passion; passion for what they are trying to change and a strong belief that the change will change the world for the better.
  3. Persistence; strength to continue and never giving up no matter what hurdles are placed in their way.
Defining the characteristics makes it sound so easy, but I know it's not. My confidence was built during the Women In The World London Summit by others, most people never having met me before, saying I can achieve anything I want and being a force behind the body confidence revolution. This was heartwarming to hear and made me even more confident in what I am trying to achieve, not caring about the negative comments on social media from strangers. Along with my ever growing passion for increasing body confidence for all girls and women thoughts around my ongoing actions has been reignited. It's so easy to stop and think you can't do any more but I have definitely realised there is more I can do and more I will do. Without the support from inspirational people at the summit I know I wouldn't have been as confident in saying that.

Having those characteristics is one side of creating change, but the right actions and creating motion behind the change is the other. If I want to change the world then I need your support. Creating a body confident society requires all involved to get on board from children to adults to OAPs, whoever you are, whatever your gender, wherever you're from, body confidence won't succeed without you and the appropriate actions. Simple small actions are the easiest for everyone to carry out. If you're on board and want to help me change the world then start now...

Think of the times you say something negative about your body, compare yourself to others, openly decline that cake that will obviously add pounds to your hips. Your actions are putting messages in our heads that we should always criticize our bodies, always prefer other people's assets to our own and never eat anything tasty. These are dangerous subliminal messages which we are subjected to every day. A small change in our actions can help change these messages; voice what you love about your body, the great things it can do, the unique aspects which makes you you. 

If we don't act together and create the motion which is needed we will never rise above the beast of low body confidence, low self esteem will continue to cripple society and no one will achieve what they are capable of. I know it won't be easy, I know I can't single handedly change the world, but with confidence, passion and persistence on my side I'm going to try to make that change to make others stand out from their shadows and be who they truly are.

If you don't change the world, who will? Don't leave it to chance that the world will turn out the way you want. Take action. Create motion. Change the world.

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