André from Belgium

When I compare how my life looks like now and how it was, I’m amazed by how different it is. I feel like life is just sequence of process. Of all the process I’ve been through the one that was the most important for me was when I learned how to love myself.

When I was a child, people around me laughed a lot at me. They’d say I have fish eyes, I have the neck of a turkey, my Adam’s apple is too big, my lips are too big that no one would want to kiss me, I have eyelashes of a girl, I look like a skeleton…Kids can sometimes be cruel.

All those jokes about me made me think that I was ugly and not attractive. I spent years not loving my body without even knowing it. I didn’t know cause I had no idea how it felt to have self love. I had no self confidence neither, I was shy, could barely look at someone in the eye. 

7 years ago I accompanied my best friend to a fashion contest and the judge said I should participate. I was shocked at first that they’d ask me but I participated and I was selected for the semi final. I remember talking to my best friend and asking her what was happening cause I couldn’t believe they would want me. A model listened to our conversations and said to me that she could see why the judges voted for me, and she complimented my eyes. It felt so good receiving a compliment instead of a joke.

At that moment I realized that all the negative things people said about me were not always true, I realized beauty was subjective. Fashion showed me that I could be beautiful to other people’s eyes. That was my first step to self love. All I had to do was accepting my body and loving myself. I’m happy of the image I have of me now. I dare facing the camera and show confidence. I dare showing my body to the world and not being afraid of people’s eyes.

Now that I know the impact of a compliment, I always try to compliment people around me. If I have something nice to say, I just say it instead of keeping it to myself. I wish people would give more compliment and spread positivity instead of judging too fast.

The society, social medias can be sometimes really superficial and give the wrong concept of beauty. Beauty is self confidence, is self love, is being different, being kind, being compassionate,… I hope everyone in this world will be able to look at themselves in a mirror and love what they see. The best part of loving myself is that now

I feel like I have so much love in me. I was maybe shy and not confident in the past but now I see everyone around me like babies who need love. I try to spread as much love as possible by listening to my friends and the people around me, cooking for people, talking with kindness and not judging, trying to understand and empathize with the people around me.

I study now to become a teacher. I want to spread love to my students and help them build their self confidence. I want to have as much impact as possible and teaching is a way for me to share my passion and show to my students that they are capable of many things.  I want the people around me to love themselves, so that they would themselves spread love to the people around them. Love is the greatest virus people could spread in this world.