Happy Wednesday Lizteners!
Growing up, reading a TON of fashion magazines, there were two main takeaways: 1) Wear, apply, buy this and that so you can ‘look better’ and 2) Love yourself in the skin you’re in. Now if these sound like complete opposites to you, *surprise* you’re not the only one with that perception. While it often seems as if many channels have shifted towards a more self-loving approach, I can’t help but feel the increase of both women and men around me that aren’t confident in themselves to the extent they’d like to be. Why is it, and that includes myself that we value our self-worth through a perception of ‘beauty’ that was put upon us so that a billion-dollar industry could profit of our misery?
As I normally can only speak from my personal POV, I wanted to get you guys involved this time: A few days ago I put up a poll on my instagram story that asked the following: ‘Do you consider yourself a confident person?’ 77% of you said that you weren’t a confident as you’d like to be. I asked a follow-up that went: ‘If not, do you believe that social media plays a part in making you feel less confident?’ 69% of you believe that it does… I just wanted to leave this here for you all to digest as I continue to speak from my own experience and how I’m trying to go against my own demon, caught in my head.
I think there comes a time in our lives where we aren’t sure of the next step we are about to take. Doesn’t matter if you’re a high school student deciding what university to attend or you’re 40 and have just been giving a new job opportunity abroad, do you stay within your comfort zone or do you explore something new? As I’m approaching graduation (college graduation that is), thinking about the next step is inevitable. I’ve ALWAYS had a plan. I was 10 when I knew I wanted to study fashion, 13 when I knew that FIT was my dream university to attend, but now, having been exposed to endless opportunities, experiences and adventures, I can’t help but question what my ‘next step’ will look like. And that, believe me as your resident perfectionist, is HARD to deal with because there is no manual, no book, no nothing that can tell you what your life is going to look like. It’s more like an empty paged-book where I get to write my own story. However, as this is a rather challenging time in my life, getting constant reminders on your phone about successful teenagers, making millions living their best lives for us all to witness on social media does not help.. I’m sure at this point you might be confused as to how the initial point I made sorta got lost, but bear with me hear, I’m going somewhere with this!
I like to call it a ‘quarter-life crisis’: Many changes are occurring and you’re trying to find yourself in the midst of it. You break down, you question your life decisions (past, present and future) and you lose your identity. Comparison is the thief of happiness and every time I was on social media, it was like part of my self-confidence lost its strength. This went on for a few weeks/months until something hit me: I can’t go on like this! What is this constant anxiety about something I have no immediate control over worth for? It’s only hurting myself, as well as the people around me. I call this my ‘aha’-moment.
Overachiever. Overambitious. Overthinker. These three words have guided me pretty much since birth. And while two of them are positives, the overthinker in me caused more harm than good and it took me to recognize that. So as soon as I had that ‘aha’-moment, provoked by many interesting TED talks I’d watched on this topic, I did the following things (and I recommend you to do the same, as I’ve talked about this with many people who feel the same way): 1) Take a break from social media or minimize your time on it. 2) Unfollow all the people that cause you to be unhappy about your own self. 3) Realize that whatever you see on social media is not real life, but mere a better representation of it. 4) Make a gratitude list, starting with ‘I am…’ and fill in the blanks with positive attributes that characterize you. 5) Make a list of what you want to work on personally. Having a visual representation of your goals helps tremendously, should you fall back into this ‘hole of unhappiness’.
I’ve been a perfectionist my entire life and I know many of you are the same way. It’s easy to get frustrated or getting into your own head, but it’s how you avoid letting it affect your day that ultimately leads to you being happy with the person you are. I’ve accomplished so much in my 22 years and sometimes I lose track of it, because I already think about the next thing I have to accomplish. With this new mindset of celebrating my accomplishments, staying true to the ambitious, competitive and dedicated person that I am, recognizing that I am ‘enough’, I have a new found confidence that I will achieve my goals and ultimately be happy with my future decisions, concerning my personal and professional life. And you can do the same! I believe in every single one of you. (PS: ALWAYS embrace your weirdness!!)
All pictures were taken by @constntin
I hope I was able to help at least one of you out there!