Racquel is a good friend of my daughter, Bailey (http://beautyproject.info/bailey/) and Bailey very nicely volunteered her to be a participant in this project. Racquel attends college and is currently in her third year. She is the shy one in front of me but I have a feeling in her group of friends, she is just the quiet one.

When I asked about what defines beauty she was quick to answer “confidence”. She sees confidence in others as beautiful and can relate their personality to beauty. She sees them for who they are and sees beauty in that concept. She did, however, struggle to answer the question of what makes her beautiful. She could list a few things such as humor and her openness to others. She mentioned that her mother works hard to instill confidence in her and her siblings. While growing up, Racquel had a lot more confidence in grade school but once she hit high school, she began to doubt herself. Her pool of peers grew and she began to compare herself to others more than she ever did before. School and media influenced her thoughts about herself as she got older and it diminished her self-image.

Racquel can feel less than beautiful on any given day and it all depends on circumstance. Some days she can wake up and feel good so she carries herself confidently. Some days she wakes up and isn’t feeling good and that will drag her down. Likely no different than for most of us. She is getting better at battling her thoughts and can typically push through the negative. Racquel falls prey to the social standards at times and makes herself feel bad for not going to the gym or not putting herself together. There are times she can’t quiet the negative talk going on in her head and she is forced to deal with it. Those days, she takes the small victories of the day and uses that to help calm the not-so-good chatter.  Racquel is learning to focus on the more important things in life rather than perceived beauty and how she “looks”.  Her quiet confidence is growing steadily as she continues to mature.

When I asked how she shares appreciation with others, such as friends, she told me that she “doesn’t share with words”.  She feels like she is more of a ‘quality-time’ friend. She shows appreciation by being there, being there for them at any time, and spending time with them. She is not a very vocal person with encouragement or appreciation, but her friends respect the way she appreciates them.

Racquel is a great friend to Bailey, which I am thankful for. I can see that as she has grown up, her confidence is starting to show again. She doesn’t need to be ‘made-up’ to be beautiful, she just is.

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