Our society's bias towards lighter skin is so deep-rooted that often times, it ends up damaging the morale and self-confidence of people who don't - and shouldn't have to - match this unfair beauty standard. 

But, as we continue to rise above such societal norms, this one woman didn't just rise above this prejudice; but, also discovered the power of self-love, being comfortable in her own skin and is now inspiring others with her resilience. Humans of Bombay talked to this girl and her story is a wonderful narrative of self-empowerment.

Source: facebook.com/humansofbombay

She talks about her growing up years when she was bullied by her classmates for her looks. 

Growing up, I was bullied because of my dark complexion and ‘foreigner’ looks. My classmates asked me why I wasn’t applying ‘fair and lovely.’ It got worse when a girl threw her shoe at me, in a playground, saying ‘go away, you don’t belong here’. 
I internalised all the anger. I wore baggy clothes and withdrew in my shell… I hated myself because I could never match the beauty standards of those around me.
Source: rvcj

But when she entered college, her photographs that her seniors had taken during ragging, changed her perspective about herself. For the first time in her life, she realised that she was beautiful. 

It was only when I went to college that things started to change. When my seniors told me to participate in a fun photo shoot -- I naively agreed. They asked me to wear a towel, pose and smile. I knew they were ‘ragging’ me, but I can’t thank them enough because when I saw those photos, my perspective changed. 
I realised that there was nothing wrong with me. I was beautiful. These photos captured the real me -- and for the first time, I liked what I saw.
Source: pixabay.com

From that day on, she decided to take charge of her life and took up photography as her hobby. She also rid herself of a toxic relationship with a guy who didn't think she was good enough for his parents to accept her.

When I went on to a different university, I took up photography as a hobby. My confidence came through my camera… and it defeated my insecurities. I began to photograph myself more -- I took care of myself better, lost the baggy clothes and set out to lose weight. In 6 months I lost 20 kgs and I knew that anything I set my heart on, I could achieve. I was a confident new person.
In fact, when the guy I was seeing threatened to leave me saying ‘it’s the way you look, my parents won’t accept you,’ I left him.
Source: funbull

On one side, she was picking up the pieces of her broken self-confidence and on the other hand, life continued throwing one after the other challenges at her.  

But I wasn’t done facing challenges... During college, one night, my professor locked me in his room and raped me. I was traumatized. I started feeling ‘dirty’ again. But, I kept reminding myself that the fault wasn’t mine -- I yanked myself out of it. 
So, I worked twice as hard to keep my spirit intact and focus on my photography…I dreamt of being the best photographer in India. I took on every project that came my way, researched all kinds of photography and immersed myself in the process.
Source: boingboing

But a woman of steely determination, she rose like a phoenix from the ashes. Today, she's working towards achieving her goals and setting an example that self-love is the most important form of love in our life.  

Three years later, when I came to Mumbai, I started my own company -- a feeling I can’t express. It wasn’t easy -- I faced rejections and was looked down by my previous bosses, but I stuck it out… and that’s been my biggest lesson.
Today, I have a great business, my own home and a boyfriend who makes me feel beautiful. But that’s only because I FEEL beautiful in my skin -- I am the masterpiece I was searching for my entire life and I love every shade, every scar, every color it displays.

Read the full post here:

You go, girl!