Words Are Gifts

By: Shannon Gardner, Guest Blogger

A few weeks ago, our I Am That Girl Local: Ohio State Chapter created a project inspired by The Dove “Selfies” Campaign. We each snapped a simple, impromptu portrait: a snapshot of who we were at that particular moment in time, capturing each beautyFULL imperfection and unique quality. No peeking, no double takes, no edits or filters. Then, the photos were firmly mounted to colored construction paper and passed around to our fellow members!

It was merely our vulnerable beauty, exposed to the world without our direct approval. Sure, a good amount of us were not initially thrilled about standing in front of the camera without a quick glance in the mirror, without a touch-up in an attempt to hide our “faults.” Regardless, we mustered up the courage to pass around our photos and let our hearts do the speaking!


When my portrait eventually returned to my hands, the yellow paper framing it was filled with comments of encouragement. Notes like “your smile makes me want to smile” and “your personality is contagious” were like magic words: they were all it took to set my heart on fire. We all felt incredible when we left our meeting that day. As we smiled and shared our results, we recognized that sharing positive words with one another is powerful beyond measure. And heck, we can spread this joy anytime, the choice is ours.

Everyday, we are granted with the gift of free self-expression. Our gift is wrapped in a unique paper, tied with a special bow knotted just for us, and shipped to a place of our choosing. The question is: where and how will you choose to spread your message?

Sometimes, we inevitably get caught up in spending time worrying about our appearance. However, beauty is not a quality that needs to be achieved upon someone else’s acceptance or verification, a mirror, or any external force. You are already the beholder of it!

Your thoughts, actions, gestures of self-expression, and different attitudes can move mountains. Yes, the highest peaks. Inside you lies a heart of gold, uniquely yours. And you, yes, you, possess the power to rock your world and radiate beauty wherever life takes you.


The amount of times the phrase “I Am Beautiful” should be stated is infinite. This phrase has no limitations and no boundaries. So:

Speak it.

Sing it while you shampoo your hair.

Stick it on a post-it.

Feel it deep within.

Speak it through a smile.

Speak it through tears.

Think it.

Live it.

Say it when necessary.

Say it when unnecessary.

Say it to yourself. To friends, to strangers.

The words you choose matter. In fact, they mean the world to your world.

So today, let’s be fearless in our motives to express self-love. Let’s tackle the world with our beauty and watch our gifts unwrap themselves. Oh, and if it wasn’t already part of your personal dictionary, a little repetition never hurts: You are beautiful…inside & out.

About Shannon

GARDNER_1.jpgShannon is a psychology student at The Ohio State University. An optimist, dreamer and traveler from Upstate New York, she utilizes her passion and energy to encourage others while striving to empower college women within I Am That Girl Local: Ohio State Chapter, in which she co-founded in last fall. In her free time, Shannon enjoys yoga and meditation, blogging and capturing life’s beauty in photographs




All images courtesy Shannon Gardner

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