The Most Valuable Life Lessons We Learned from Pop Culture in 2013

Lessons we learned from the best and worst moments of the past yearWhether it was analyzing Miley's new "grown-up" appearance, or commemorating Nelson Mandela's inner strength, 2013 gave us a lot of inspiration to reflect on our values, our actions and ourselves. Below is a look at 10 of the most memorable events of 2013 (in no particular order), and what they teach us about being our most beautiful rock star selves in 2014 and beyond.

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1. Kim's Baby Bod
Whether it was analyzing Miley's new "grown up" appearance, or commemorating Nelson Mandela's inner strength, 2013 gave us a lot of inspiration to reflect on our values, our actions and ourselves. Below is a look at 10 of the most memorable events of 2013 (in no particular order), and what they teach us about being our most beautiful rock star selves.

We all know that a woman gains weight when pregnant. It isn't news, so why did so many people feel the need to rip Kim Kardashian apart this year? I'm still bothered by headlines calling her a fat cow. Let's set the record straight: Expecting mothers are beautiful. They radiate an effervescent glow. They shine. Honoring a new mother's beauty is a way for all of us to take a stand for women's health and be proud of our ability to birth the next generation.

2. King George
Congrats Will and Kate, and welcome to the world, George! You may just be a baby now, but your parents showed us all that being royal is being your true self. Your mom proudly showed you off even when she still had a bit of a bump and your dad drove you home from the hospital, sans the typical royal drivers. Authenticity is vital to true confidence.

3. Nelson Mandela's Passing
He taught us to cherish humanity, he ensured that all people received equal rights, and he showed us that one person truly can change the world. May we all honor his legacy by creating our own impact on the people around us. As he said, "There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." Let us promise to live to our full potential.

4. The Selfie
This year, we perfected the photo of self-love. Years prior, we needed someone else to take our photo and when insecure, we may have needed someone else to be in the photo. But not anymore. Selfies now say, "Look at me on top of the Eiffel Tower!" "See my beautiful flower garden!" "See me and love me as is." The selfie has made it easier to travel alone, capture our lives and has allowed us to step into our own worth. Snap that camera, gorgeous. You deserve it.

5. Boston Marathon Recovery
OK, so this isn't "pop culture," but the popular response to this tragedy provides a valuable takeaway. As a runner, this one really hit home for me. Hundreds of thousands of people train their butts off (literally) every year to bring their personal records low enough to compete in our country's most elite race. To intentionally injure these heroes and their loved ones is atrocious. What warms my heart, though, is how the event further united runners and Americans. Yankees lovers now don Red Sox hats, and NYC and Philadelphia marathoners wore shirts that read "For Boston!" This is the power of our collective human spirit.

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6. Short Haircuts Galore!
From Jennifer Aniston to Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Lawrence, so many stars got chopped in 2013. Highlighting your face with a short haircut is a sign of inner confidence and crystal clarity about who you are. Kudos to Kelly Ripa and the whole crew of pixie-pretty ladies. May we all learn from you to stop hiding and start showing off how stunning we are.

7. Government Shutdown
Being your best means honoring your commitments. You commit to lunch with a friend, go. You commit to working on a project, complete it. And, dear Congress, when you commit to running our government, do it. We're paying you to do a job. We all have disagreements with our co-workers, but we find a way to come to a mutual decision and move forward. Your actions were inexcusable and cowardly. Thanks for this lesson in what not to do.

8. Blurred Lines
I'm not sure that I'll ever tire of this tune, but I do have a strong objection to the objectification of women in video. Robin, please, in 2014, highlight women as the powerful creatures you know that we are. Look at any gorgeous woman and you know that it is her inner beauty and stunning confidence that makes her shine. (With or without animals in our arms.) We should all remember how deep our beauty runs.

9. Jennifer Lawrence
The "it" girl of 2013 is one we love to love. Why? She's real. She doesn't diet, she trips up stairs, she thinks farts are funny (who doesn't?) and admitted to the world that she has a box of butt plugs under her bed. And even she, an Oscar winner, gets tongue tied around famous people. Finally, a star to whom we actually relate. JLaw reminds us that beauty does not require perfection.

10. Miley. Miley. Miley.
Of course, a 2013 recap wouldn't be the same without Miley Cyrus and her infamous twerking. You may think she's lost her mind, but I think she's found her independence! Sure, she is still maturing, but this year she stepped out of her father's shield and into her own skin. Her antics may seem childish, but they are also courageous. Few childhood stars actually make it as adults, so for her to own her future is a bold step that I applaud. What might happen if we all courageously stepped into our full selves-the vulnerable and the wild sides of our true nature? What might happen if we all owned our lives instead of following the shoulds put upon us? We might trip, we might even fail, but at least we will have lived.

- by Carin Rockind