Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dear Shantel Van Santen

Here is a full transcript of the wonderful Shantel Van Santen's speech at the Team True Beauty 1-year Anniversary event. Enjoy & be inspired!

“Each of you inspires me and each of your strength astounds me. Each of you are a powerful part of a bigger picture. A life that is evolving each day. You are an integral part of this movement for a reason. I read somewhere: ‘Each word or thought of yours can be like a pearl. That you can drop into a secret place of another heart, and in some hour of need, the recipient finds the treasure and realizes for the first time, its value.’ See, change happens with each and every one of you; with your stories and with your voice. We all possess these pearls and you helped this movement grow and reach thousands of people by being brave. I constantly encourage each of you to share your story because you have been given a gift- the gift of a voice. So honor it. And use it for a positive change. Use it so that others might be inspired by your strength and know that they’re not alone. We all struggle. We’re all human. We all feel things and it doesn’t matter if we’re male or female, what age we are, what religion, our sexuality, our job, our walk of life, it’s really universal. We need to throw aside physical judgment of ourselves and others. We need to accept differences and we need to see beauty in those differences. We need to appreciate one another and we need to restore a sense of balance for our generation, and for generations to come. I believe it’s a part of our responsibility to be the change. We’re each unique and amazing and we are made for a higher purpose. We are all beautiful beyond all measure, we are all capable of everything that we can dream, and we are all loved beyond all comprehension. One of my favorite quotes ever is: ‘We are better than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will never settle for less.’ So, embrace yourself- what you are in your heart, so that you might uplift others. Because what you do with your life, how you live it, the things you accomplish, the mountains you climb, the struggles you work through, how you treat one another, the kindness you show, the people you inspire, the love that you give, that’s what defines your heart. And that’s what matters. Not what you look like when you do these things in life. In closing, I want to share a letter with each and every one of you. It’s a letter to something that we aspire to define, each and every one of us. And my hope is that we all have a clearer understanding of what it means so that we can be a reflection of this to others. My letter is to beauty.

Dear beauty, I don’t think we’ve formally met. I’m Shantel Van Santen. I’ve searched to find you for a while now. To find out how you define yourself. There are many others searching for you too. Some of us think you’re found in a number on a scale, or a muscle in our arm, the color of our skin, or our reflection in the mirror. We all struggle because we think you seek a perfect image, and we’ve become obsessed with the search. The idea that others might see us as a reflection of you or call us by your names makes us happy. So we look to the media and we look to mirrors, instead of turning our eyes inward. In the depths of our soul you wait. You wait for our search to end, because that’s where you are found. So we were wrong. Because you’re not an image of something that we can see. You’re a feeling. We define you by how we live our life, the kind of person we choose to be, and what’s in our hearts. Thank you for helping us find you. So that your reflection can be felt in others hearts, that they may know that they possess you too. And we can all unite to define you.

I want to thank each and every one of you for believing in me and I want to encourage each and every one of you to inspire other people with your stories. And I feel very blessed to be a part of this cause.” -Shantel Van Santen

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