Miss Universe proved the power to be yourself

Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu proved she was much more than eye candy

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Published: Tue 14 Dec 2021, 10:17 PM

Belief. Like faith, it can move mountains. And yet, it appears to be in short supply. Unlike confidence, which is a manifestation that can be conditioned, belief comes from a place of sanctity and trust.

On Monday, when 21-year-old Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu was crowned Miss Universe 2021, she proved she was much more than eye candy. She won over hearts with her now-famous lines: “The biggest pressure the youth face today is to believe in themselves. Know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful.

Stop comparing yourselves with others… I think this is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourself because you are the leader of your life. You are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that’s why I’m standing here today.” The reason why she rose above the clutter was because she addressed a gaping hole in our lives: the power to be yourself, to be intrinsically unique. A quiet, unwavering strength that cannot be brought down, that does not capitulate — whatever the pushes and pulls may be.

Today’s youth are standing at a crossroads. Enabled by technology and tactile filters and touch-of-the-button command operations, they are fighting to prove their inner métier. What do they 'really' stand for? It’s a question worth mulling over. We hear stories of abuse, bullying, shaming, guilt-tripping — and caving into fears and apprehensions. There is the shadow of a constant, looming self-doubt: are we good enough, are we fitting in to “standards” set by others?

It’s almost serendipitious that Harnaaz Sandhu’s golden words of guidance were articulated in the year of the UAE’s golden anniversary. Here is a nation that believed in itself — a stance that created a rock-solid foundation to take chances, tread on territories that hadn’t been explored, and had supreme faith in its ability to consistently carve out new niches in a steadfast eco-system — one where change is constant while being anchored in a vision that dared to believe.

Many didn’t believe that Dubai could pull off the Expo in a year shell-shocked by the waves of a devastating pandemic. Many didn’t believe that a small country that was created out of an arid desert would be able to evolve a scientific process that halted the march of Covid.

Many didn’t believe it would legislate landmark rulings and open up its market at a time when everyone else was pulling on the covers. Many didn’t believe the UAE would be flying high in a year of unprecedented lows. But it did. Because it believed in itself.

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