It’s the ultimate cliché and something we all hear a thousand times over: to be truly happy, you need to start with yourself. But how often do we not live up to this? Media outlets are bombarding us with images of how we should look, society is telling us how we should act, and people with limited beliefs are telling us how we should feel.
A lot of the time, we are forced to define ourselves by other people’s ideas and perspectives. We seem to care too much about what other people think of us and live our lives pleasing or conforming to what society as a whole tells us is right.
Emma Watson may be best known as Hermione from the successful Harry Potter films, but she is much more than an actress — she is an activist and a true role model for women and men. She refuses to define herself through other people’s definitions and stands strong on the importance of making the person you are a reflection of who you truly want to be. She strives to be herself and continues to be an ambassador for equality, education, sense of self, and empowerment.
You Don’t Have To Follow The Crowd
How many times have you done or said something just because you felt it was what other people wanted from you? Our need to be accepted by others is a natural human instinct. It’s part of the pack mentality and an almost desperate want to not be rejected by our peers, family, and society as a whole.
As a hugely successful child actress, Emma Watson was catapulted into the world’s view. Many opportunities were laid out in front of her that would have earned her millions and gained her further recognition in a media-obsessed world. But she chose to go to university and focus on her education because she wanted to stay true to herself and she wanted to empower herself in a way that the movie industry solely wouldn’t allow her.
While many child stars struggle to define their identity and lose themselves in the process, Emma took a different path; one that would defy traditional choices because she wanted to grow in the way she wanted to.
Fight For What You Believe In
When Emma Watson made her inspirational UN speech for the HeForShe campaign back in 2014, she showed her true strength of character and her passion to make a difference in gender equality.
We don’t always stand up and get ourselves heard and, even worse, we believe that we just can’t make a difference in this world. Whether this stems from our own lack of self-worth or the general societal view that if you can’t make a big difference then there’s no point, Emma Watson is a true inspiration that, given the opportunity, you can help change views and situations despite inner self-doubt.
“You might think, ‘Who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the U.N.?’ And it’s a really good question — I’ve been asking myself the same thing.
“In my nervousness for this speech and my moments of doubt, I’ve told myself firmly, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?'”
Don’t Let Your Critics Define You
There are two types of critics: the people who criticise you for the things you do, say, or believe in, and the worst of all — yourself.
While Emma Watson has campaigned for gender equality for both men and women, she has received negativity from people who’ve decided to define her feminism as “men-hating” despite the fact that she openly wants men to not feel pigeoned-holed by society’s masculine ideals.
As a result, she’s received hateful comments and threats of leaking nude pictures of her. But instead of backing down or succumbing to her critics, she used their anger as an example of exactly why she was calling for equality.
She also believes in the importance of self-love. The bombardment of the perfect body and the perfect image that women feel they have to live up to in order to be noticed is detrimental to happiness and our ability to see ourselves as beautiful people, inside and out.
“We [women] really damage our confidence when we put ourselves down, so I try not to.”
Never let anyone criticise you for being who you want to be and doing what you want to do. Be yourself and stick with it. It’s the only way you can be truly happy.
Live Your Life On Your Own Terms
Emma Watson has definitely stayed true to herself in terms of her private life. As many child stars are prone to partying, drinking, and baring their mental fragility unnecessarily, Emma hasn’t entered into the limelight in that regard, opting to keep her life as private as possible. Her decision to go to university, to date non-famous men, and to live her life as normally as possible has always been an admirable quality.
In this media-hungry age, we are encouraged to post the ins and outs of our lives for all to see on social media and we’re made to feel we’re slightly outcasted if we don’t. This is ridiculous of course; we don’t need validation from others in order to feel fulfilled. Let people wonder about you, be interested in getting to know you, and keep your life within the circle of important people in your life.
We are all on the search for happiness in our lives and Emma Watson has shown the sort of mindset and perspective we should all try to adopt in order to allow ourselves to define ourselves and no one else.
Featured photo credit: College Times via collegetimes.com