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Armstrong author finds beauty within for FabOver40 contest

Local takes a leap of faith in entering online contest

Carrie O’Neill

Special to The Morning Star

In today’s world, social media seems to be causing more harm than good with regard to individuals becoming obsessed with unrealistic beauty ideals. The digital age has certainly opened the door to many platforms of enhancement whether it is with careers, connecting people, or sharing stories, but, it has also created a toxic environment in which people are always seeking outside of themselves to fulfill their desires or to reach a certain goal. Goals are wonderful to have, and I think it is important to have them, but when it becomes ‘never enough’, then the pressure to keep up with what we see online eventually starts to corrode lives, one click at a time.

For most of my life, I compared myself to others. Social media was not as rampant as it is today, but keeping up with the current fashion trends, watching what people wore on TV or in schools were contributing factors that played a part in how I saw myself and the expectations I put upon myself. Reflecting back, I can remember moving to a new community as I was entering into my eighth grade of school. I was scared, nervous and wanted so badly to fit in and make friends, yet, it seemed that it would never happen. I did everything I thought I could to just be liked including cutting my hair and trying to dress like the other kids, but still, it didn’t seem enough. This experience only compounded throughout my life. The conditioning of my mind was that if I am prettier and had a nice body, then I would be okay – then people would want to be in my life. The comparing of others and the belief system I incurred along the way, led me down some very dark roads which resulted in a lot of unhealthy decisions and whole lot of pain.

I have worked really hard at changing the way I think and believe about myself. There have been many ups and downs, but today, I can tell you that through it all, I have come to a place where I know who I am and I love her. The material that is out there in our social media platforms can still stir me up from time to time causing me to question my worth, but, it only lasts for moments, not a lifetime.

A few years ago, I began working in a retirement community in Armstrong. Little did I know that this would be a channel through which my creativity could flow onto paper through writing life stories of the seniors I am honoured to work with. I also enjoy my Stay Curious articles that offer an opportunity to reflect and apply new perspectives to our daily lives. My passion to serve others, to write, and to be in nature are all intricate details that have aided in my return to love for myself.

I know there are many others out there that are experiencing or have experienced the struggle of comparison and fitting in. If there is a way that we can change the way that social media platforms emphasize outer appearances and focus more on inner beauty, than maybe we can help people to embrace their whole being and there will be less suffering.

Recently, I came across something that initially I was not interested in based on the emphasis put on glamour, however, after some thought I felt it could be an effective way to share my message with others about beauty - true inner beauty. So, I took a leap of faith and entered a contest called FabOver40. I felt that this contest could be a beautiful opportunity to express my heart to the world through this platform. I am not a glamour girl, nor do I spend a whole lot of time getting ready each morning, but rather, I’m a gal who loves to throw on a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans and head out into nature. If you are reading this and it is resonating with you, and if you would like to support me on this journey of empowering others to change their perspective on what true beauty is, than maybe you will be inspired to enter the link at the bottom of this story into your browser and vote for me. If that is you, I say thank you.

Our beauty is in us – the container of your heart holds the answers and when we can get still and re –member who we are – we will find peace.

The transformation of my life has been a gift from God – it is only by grace and the willingness to change the way I think that has altered and blossomed my life path. I know that all of my life experiences were there for me to awaken me to who I truly am.

I will leave you with a quote from Kahlil Gibran: “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” Let this be so, and may you all connect to your Divine beauty within – rather than being pressured and influenced by social media.

To vote for Carrie visit

READ MORE: Stay Curious: There is magic in change

READ MORE: Train rides to acts of love for Vernon senior


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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