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Girl With Cancer Sends A Powerful Message That Redefines Beauty

Girl With Cancer Sends A Powerful Message That Redefines Beauty

Within the plethora of Instagram flawless beauties that make ordinary young girls feel even more insecure about their looks, a new kind of princess is taking the world by a storm, not just with her looks, giving us a lesson on beauty — and life for that matter. Her name is Andrea Sierra Salazar and she is a 17-year-old high school student from Texas, a model, and a cancer patient. None of these things defines her as a person. Why? Because she decided so.

The struggle

The diagnosis of stage 2 nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma came suddenly, causing Andrea’s life to take another turn. With a great support system and encouragement from her mum, Andrea has managed to regain her confidence and continue to pursue a modelling hobby with a fresh perspective on what constitutes beauty.

For centuries, long and full hair has been one of the never-changing symbols of female beauty, causing those not blessed with it to suffer from feeling not good enough and to undergo all sorts of ridiculous treatments in order to reach this must-have standard. Ironically enough, more than serving as a tool for self-acceptance, hair (the longer the better) has been used by young girls as a hideaway of a sort, from the harsh looks and judgment of a false-beauty-standard society.

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And just when you start thinking that the world has gone too far, idealizing impossible-to-reach norms of beauty and causing the majority of young girls start blindly conforming to it, a truly inspiring and beautiful soul comes to the forefront to make us question it all.

a cancer girl redefines beauty

    The defining moment

    The self-realization moment didn’t happen overnight for Andrea. Hair loss affected her confidence greatly, yet she managed to smooth the transition with playful wigs that accompanied each styling and look.

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    “When my hair started to fall out I would look in the mirror and I wouldn’t feel that confident about myself,” Andrea said.

    Luckily for all the young girls out there, being cancer patients or not, Andrea has gradually learned one of the most important life truths that “It’s not only about my outside beauty, it’s about the inside.”

    Her photoshoot without a wig went viral as it revealed something more than just Andrea’s amazing physical beauty — it showed the exceptional magnificence of a human soul to show bravery in not withholding its vulnerability, and that’s where the true beauty begins.

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    a girl with cancer sent a powerful message that redefines beauty

      A new kind of princess

      The reason that this story continues to touch so many hearts all around the world is because it conveys such a powerful message about turning something as ugly as cancer into something as wonderful as helping others to accept and love themselves no matter what. It started as a mission to empower other cancer patients at the hospital she was at to regain their confidence, to now reaching millions of people and truly redefining beautiful.

      “I want them to know that your hair or your physical attributes doesn’t define who you are – what really matters is your inner beauty, the way you treat others, and if you’re a kind person, that shows through.”

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      The powerful message this girl sends goes far beyond redefining the standards of beauty. It speaks of the ability of the soul to transcend all physical obstacles and shine through illusory appearance. She teaches us to not give up on our dreams even when times get rough. A true princess of today, Andrea inspires our looks-obsessed society to look for beauty beyond the exterior, and her story will surely make you think twice the next time you allow your bad hair day to get you down.

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      Ana Erkic

      Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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      Last Updated on February 21, 2019

      The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

      The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

      In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

      Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

      Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

      Conflicts are literally everywhere.

      Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

      Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

      Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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      Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

      Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

      Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

      The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

      Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

      Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

      How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

      Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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      Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

      Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

      How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

      Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

      Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

      Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

      How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

      Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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      Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

      Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

      How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

      Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

      Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

      Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

      How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

      Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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      Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

      Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

      How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

      Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

      Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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