The first year and a half of my twenties has probably been one of the more difficult times in my life. When you're in college, the stakes are high, the competition is higher, and all at the same time, you're tasked with trying to define who you want to be. I remember being 15 and thinking that by 21 I'd have it all figured out. I'd have graduated college, found a job, fallen in love with not just someone, but with myself and my life too. Two and a third of those things have happened, but like any twenty something would probably find, learning to love and be happy with yourself is one of the hardest things to do.
We live in a world where social media makes it so damn easy to compare. You can compare yourself to your peer who just got into a fancy Ivy League grad school; you can compare yourself to your classmate who has three job offers coming their way; you can compare yourself to the lucky bastard who's brave enough to go travel the world and defy societal pressure to get your shit together immediately following college. But, as I've known for some time, comparing yourself to others gets you nowhere. You can really only compare yourself to who you were a day ago or a month ago or a year ago-- and try to stay sane.
Which brings me to my three points. There are three things I try to remind myself when I'm having a "my god you suck at everything and anything" day. And trust me, they happen often!
how to be happy with yourself.
1. The only person you should ever compare yourself to, is you.
Like I said above, the only way to see how far you've come in your life is to look back on who you were in the past. Who were you before you went to college? Before you got your heart broken? Before your life turned upside down and you had no idea how to handle it? Recognize that there is no short cut to happiness. Like any relationship, you have to work for your happiness and nurture it. Do what makes you smile, spend time with who makes you laugh, and learn to be comfortable with who you are.
2. Don't sabotage yourself, be your own best friend.
I haven't met a girl who hasn't muttered the words, "I look like shit." And it's a fact of life. There will indeed be some days that you just look like shit, but I also strongly believe that how you feel about your appearance is a direct reflection of how you're feeling internally. Our minds are easy to manipulate, and they're not always as tough as we give them credit for. They're not immune to negative thoughts about your surroundings, your friends, your family, etc., and they're not immune to negative thoughts about yourself. Actually, most women tend to find they're privy to negative thoughts about themselves. Mistakes happen for everyone. Off days happen for everyone. One of the quickest ways to sabotage yourself emotionally is to ignore your emotions. You wouldn't ignore your best friend if she called you up upset about something, so don't ignore yourself either. Give yourself time to feel and honor your emotions, but don't let them control you. Counter negative thoughts with positive energy.
3. If you wouldn't say it to someone else, don't say it to yourself.
Have you seen this ad yet? You can watch it below, but it really hit home with me. I know for a fact that there are few people sassier than a frustrated or angry woman, but what scared me the most about this ad is that the things we would never say to another person we feel completely comfortable saying to ourselves. It's hard to look in the mirror every day and tell yourself you're beautiful when all you see is a pimple the size of Mount Everest forming on your chin or the slightest muffin top. We all have things we don't like about ourselves, but at the end of the day, we've only got ourselves. Our goal in life should be to empower who we are as individuals and as women, not to tear ourselves down because of an unattainable image we hold ourselves to. You don't have to look like the girls in magazines; not even the girls in magazines look like the girls in magazines! Think kind thoughts. If you wouldn't say it to somebody you love or even a perfect stranger, then don't say it to yourself.
This one's a good one too. Gotta love Dove.
YOU'RE FUCKING BEAUTIFUL OK?!