Don’t Try So Hard to Fit In


Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
This quote is often attributed to Dr. Seuss, though many on the Google claim that he never actually said it. Regardless, it’s a good question to ask yourself.

I didn’t like middle school (some of you might refer to it as “junior high”). Looking back, I didn’t even like the person I was during middle school. I would argue that those are the worst years of a person’s life (or at least in the running for topping that classification), and pretty much everyone is trying to figure out how to act and what to say in this weird thing we call life. Nobody is actually “cool,” but far too many people think they are.

And middle school kids can be mean—like, really mean.

I remember feeling like I was constantly being judged (and I probably was). It didn’t matter if you were the most popular kid or the kid you thought nobody actually paid attention to—you felt like everyone was watching your every move to make sure that what you did was acceptable.

I’d now like to recount some memories about Doc Martens and Tommy Hilfiger. I need to preface these tales with the fact that I don’t actually really like either of these brands. I don’t have anything against them, but I simply don’t care for them. They don’t make anything that truly strikes my fancy. Yet, for some reason or another, I had to wear their stuff.

Doc Martens became super trendy when I was in the sixth grade. (They might actually be a thing again, but I’m not hip enough to know, so I’m only referring to them as if they’re a thing of the past.) They were these huge clunky boots that were WAY too pricey, but everyone had them. Thus, that meant that I needed a pair. Did I actually want a pair of these particular shoes? I mean, I guess I did at the time simply because they were the “in” footwear, but I don’t think that they actually appealed to me. No offense to anyone who wears them or to you, Doc, but I think they’re kind of ugly, actually. But I convinced my parents that I needed to have these shoes. We didn’t have a ton of money when I was growing up, so I feel rather guilty now that I begged my parents to buy me shoes that I didn’t need or even truly think were that great.

Then there was Tommy Hilfiger. Let’s be real—TH is better for the fellas. Again, if you like wearing this line of apparel, keep doing you, girl. When I was in sixth grade (and maybe seventh, too), Tommy Hilfiger collared shirts suddenly became super popular to wear. They were boys shirts, but all of the girls wore them, too. Again, this was not a brand that I could even afford, but I simply had to have shirts with some silly logo on them. (WHY was I so ridiculous?)

I think what upsets me most about my fashion choices is that they weren’t me. Instead, I was just trying to fit in with the people around me because I thought that it was what I was supposed to do. You know what I have learned in my many years since those horridly awkward days? It’s so much better to be myself rather than to try to be like everyone else.

Because being independent and unique is beautiful.

What you wear compared to what the people around you wear doesn’t matter. What they think of you doesn’t matter. What they might say about you doesn’t even matter. What matters is what you think of yourself and what you say about yourself. What matters is how you love yourself so that you can love and learn to be loved by others, as well.

You are a gem. Don’t ever forget that. Rather than trying to fit in with this world, go stand out as the one-of-a-kind creation you were always meant to be.

It’s OK to Be Quiet

My Post (37)Recently, I was at Petco with my 6-month-old puppy, Cooper. Now, Cooper has had some fear issues. She is extremely apprehensive of strangers and the outdoors, in general. She’s been improving a ton, though, and we try to take her everywhere we go (when possible) so that she can socialize with more people and other dogs.

A week or so ago, I was in Petco with Cooper. I usually have to carry her around the store because she’s so aware and fearful of the other dogs and humans doing their own shopping. This time, though, Cooper was doing amazing. She pranced right in and sniffed around, walking down aisle after aisle with me. I was so pleased and excited for her that she reached this new milestone.

A woman approached and asked if she could pet Cooper. I said yes but asked her to go slowly. Cooper has been known to snarl if people approach her too quickly (we are working with her on this).

The woman tried to let Cooper sniff her hand, but Cooper wasn’t interested and stayed near me. I could tell that the woman thought this wasn’t normal dog behavior. She started asking questions about Cooper with a concerned tone as if she was trying to pinpoint where we’d gone wrong with her training. In the end, she suggested we try socialization classes.

I was polite but left the encounter rather upset. I kept thinking to myself, “just because my dog isn’t interested in you doesn’t mean she’s broken.”

Now, I’m not saying this line of thought is healthy; I was taking this all way too personally, and Cooper really does need more socialization. That’s why she was at Petco, after all.

But it did remind me of how I sometimes feel since I’m a more introverted and shy person. I have often felt as if people can think less of me for being too quiet or too private or see me as unsocial.

I’ve seen this with other shy or introverted folks, as well. I think all too often that we can look at quiet people and think that they’re broken, that they need our help. We need to break them into the social scene. We need to drag them out of their houses and to parties. We need to build their confidence.

What I want to stress here is that it’s OK to be an introvert. It’s OK to be shy. It’s OK to be an extrovert. It’s OK to be outgoing. It’s OK to be a combination of these traits. We are all broken in our own way, and usually it has nothing to do with how much we enjoy socializing or talking.

Quiet introverts can still be confident—maybe they just express that in different forms than spoken words. Quiet introverts can still enjoy socializing—they just need time alone to recharge. Quiet introverts have just as much to offer as outgoing extroverts, and we desperately need both in the world.

Regardless of where you fall on that shy or loud, introvert or extrovert spectrum, the world needs you. Because, yes, we all love a good party, but sometimes we need the quiet.

You are not broken because you prefer the latter.

 

Falling for Someone You Shouldn’t

Couple share a moment. Falling for someone you shouldn't.It’s cliche, but we’ve all had some version of this ominous thought pass through our minds, “Oh, but I can change him.”

Darling, don’t fall for this trap. It will never end well. It will fail in the same way it would if a guy thought he could change you.

It’s funny how everyone naturally changes with time. That’s one of the reasons people file for divorce: because people change.

But odds are you’re not going to see the change you want to see. If there’s a trait you need that you’re not seeing in a guy, walk away. That trait will not magically appear just because you care for him—even if he cares for you back.

This is a very personal story for me. It may seem silly, but it defined my faith. I was better for walking away. I share it with you now because I hope you’ll be able to do the same if the situation arises.

After dating two people who were clearly not right for me, I desperately searched for a new crush. I was that 15-year-old girl. I had to be crushing on someone.

I found someone I thought was a better fit for me to like. Christian. Nice. Straight-A student. The issue was that I decided he was the type of guy I needed to like. I didn’t actually fall for him; I barely knew him.

While I, in vain, was trying to make that work, actual real feelings began to creep up for a friend—the way they do. Always unexpected, it seems, and at the oddest of times.

I was torn. The friend wasn’t Christian. He had a slightly inappropriate sense of humor (I was miss goody-two-shoes. I was the girl whom people came up to and said things like, “Taylor Swift said ‘douchebag’ on SNL last night! Are you heartbroken?”). He wasn’t anything like the type of guy I thought I’d like. But he was funny, and we had slowly become great friends over that school year.

A chance arose with the guy I thought I should be with, but I turned it down. I finally had learned that you can’t force yourself to like someone. Plus, it was a little too much like dating myself. I think we both knew that it wasn’t quite right. I made the right decision to walk away.

But that’s where my good decisions stopped. I’m all for romance and falling in love (hello, I got married at 21 years old, after all), but you have to be careful about whom you fall for.

I spent about a year and a half crushing on this guy friend who, though he was wonderful, at the very core of it, did not share the one belief that defined me: my faith.

I tried to get him to go to church with me. He went once or twice. It wasn’t for him. I ignored it. I was in too deep. I couldn’t just turn my feelings off. The thought passed through my head: he’ll change.

Beyond the main issue of having completely different belief systems was the issue that he kind of led me on for that year. He confessed he liked me to friends but did nothing. I spent night after night tossing and turning, completely sick wondering what I was doing wrong.

I tried so hard to impress him. Why didn’t he think I was funny? He would say it in a teasing way, but I can so clearly still hear him saying or see him giving me looks that said, “that wasn’t really clever.”

I was constantly not measuring up.

Ladies, when you’re with the right person, you never feel like you don’t measure up. Once again, Taylor Swift said it best, “I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did.”

The right guy will think you’re funny. Unless, you know, that’s not your thing. But the right guy will think you’re perfect just as you are.

Anyway, back to the story. After a year of heartache, the guy finally asked me out. I was over the moon. He apologized for taking so long. He said everything I needed to hear. It was a big gesture to make up for everything. It was an episode of The O.C. come to life.

That night, I felt kind of empty. I had texted him, and he had taken his usual extremely long time to respond, and something inside me fractured a little bit: nothing was going to change.

I couldn’t outright even think the thought, but I instinctively knew that dating him wasn’t going to be any different than being friends with him. Nothing would change. I would still constantly just be chasing him, wondering why I’m not enough.

We went on one date. A date I’d been waiting for forever. I should have been so blissfully happy, but I felt kind of sick the whole time. Something was off. Something was wrong. I felt awkward. For the first time ever since I’d known him, I didn’t want to be there with him. I was so torn apart over what I was feeling.

I came home and cried in my room—the way teens do. I knew what was wrong. Besides all of the little things, it had finally hit me that, if this was real, I was now dating someone who could possibly never share my beliefs. There was no future there—not the one I wanted.

I prayed the hardest thing I ever had in my life at that point. I asked God that, if this boy wasn’t the one for me, He would just take care of it. I told Him that I couldn’t really handle another heartbreak, another breakup. I asked, if this boy wasn’t the one for me, that nothing would happen. We just wouldn’t continue on. We wouldn’t hurt each other, and nothing more would come of it.

I’m still in shock about this because it really doesn’t make sense, but nothing ever happened after that. And I mean nothing. We never discussed a second date. We never have actually acknowledged that we ever went on one at all.

The really bizarre thing is that we were in the same friend group. We still hung out regularly. It seems impossible that we never had any sort of discussion about it, but clearly God had heard my prayer.

I was heartbroken for a long time. I was angry. But, with time, I realized that God had answered my prayer. How could I be mad about that?

I know this is kind of silly and overdramatic. It wasn’t like the guy was on drugs or a heavy drinker or something. But, for me, I had fallen for someone I shouldn’t have. I got in over my head, and I suffered for it.

Beyond just needing a guy that was Christian, we clearly were not meant for each other. With the right person, it’s easy. There isn’t a year of pain or wondering why you aren’t enough.

If you find yourself in this type of situation, pray about it. Get out of it. You deserve so much more, and really, so does he.

I’m still friends with the guy, and I have so much respect for him and truly wish him the best. I was clearly not the right girl for him, either. The girl that’s right for him will be funny to him. He’ll want to text her back. And I hope he finds her.

Shortly after all of this, I had those unexpected feelings pop up again—well, they’d actually been there for a while, just under the surface—for a different friend. With him, things were easy. There was no year of suffering or questioning if I was witty enough for him. And that’s how I knew he would be my husband, but that’s a story for another time.

Don’t try to force things. The right match will all fall together oh so easily and perfectly.

It won’t be someone you’ve decided you should like. It won’t be someone who leaves you hanging.

It’ll be perfect (in a perfectly imperfect way—John Legend knows).

Some Advice for College Freshmen

My Post (34).jpgAs we close out our Fourth of July celebrations and the end of summer looms closer, many of you will be about to head off to college.

College is an amazing—but sometimes horrifying—time to grow and figure out who you want to be in this life. As someone who didn’t enjoy or take advantage of her time in college, here are some pieces of advice so that you, hopefully, won’t make the same mistakes I did.

You don’t have to be BFFs with your roommates.

I moved into a triple dorm room during my freshman year. I was so excited. Two automatic friends instead of just one, right?

Unfortunately, in my case, the other two girls became best friends, and I felt odd for not fitting in. I wish I would have realized at the time that it was completely OK. You cannot get along or be best friends with everyone. You do not have to be BFFs with your roommates. There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t click with them. Just be nice and courteous; that’s all that really matters.

Join clubs, and find your people.

You may get lucky and find your new friend group right in your dorm building, but even if so, college is the time to get involved and discover your interests.

Go to your campus’ club showcase, and sign up for a few clubs that match your general interests. Try them out, and then narrow it down to one ot two that really excite you. This is also a great way to figure out what you may want to do career-wise.

Be a little silly.

College is the last stop before adulthood responsibilities set in. Sure, there’s a lot you still have to be responsible for in college—definitely more so than when you’re in high school—but paying rent sure is less stressful when you don’t have student loans to pay!

Make sure that, in between studying and internships, you remember to have some fun. You won’t always have hour breaks in the middle of your day or Fridays off.

You will fail, but don’t give up.

During your freshmen year of college, you will probably end up failing in some way. Classes are harder than they were in high school (or at least they should be), professors aren’t quite as accessible (especially if you attend a large university), and it may be hard to be without your family and friends from back home.

Don’t give up when you mess up. Learn from those mistakes, and keep going. Some mistakes may even cause you to rethink your major. Give it time before you make any drastic changes. Easy roads are not necessarily better.

Spend Wisely!

Money, money, money. If you’re moving away for college, my No. 1 piece of advice to you is to start saving now. Shop as cheaply as you can, and try to avoid unnecessary entertainment or eating out costs. Come up with a reward system so that you don’t miss out on something you really want, while still putting money away for the next year. You’ll thank yourself later.

Don’t compare.

When you’re in classes with people all competing for similar career goals, it becomes easy to compare yourself to your classmates’ progress. Comparison is never a good idea, but it can be especially harmful if you fall into that trap during your freshman year. You don’t want it to become a habit.

Everyone will have different career successes and majors. Don’t compare. You’re each on your own special path to reach your goals.

Stick to your beliefs and convictions.

College campuses are a bit tricky today. There will inevitably be some unpopular opinions that won’t be “cool” or even seen as acceptable to have. You might completely agree with the majority, or you could be in the minority.

Wherever you lie, I challenge you to research your own beliefs and convictions if you begin to have doubts. We should always strive to become more knowledgeable about what we believe and what the alternatives may be, but don’t change just because people tell you you’re wrong. You’re better and stronger than that. Look into the issue for yourself. Do the research. Present your case. Come to your own conclusions.

Make up your own mind. Don’t follow just to follow.

Stay in touch with your people back home.  

Lastly, stay in touch with your friends and loved ones back home or who have left on their own college adventures. You’re going to miss them a lot—especially in your first year. Send handwritten notes and sweet texts, and call or FaceTime whenever you can.

After all, they miss you, too.

10 Ways You’ll Know You’ve Found “the One”

10 ways you'll know you've found the one. Couple on the beach.Everybody’s version of “the one” is different. Your right person won’t be the same as another’s, but these tips can help you know what to look for in a partner.

1. Conversation comes easy.

When you find the right person, conversation is easy—it’s not just a chick flick trope! Sure, it might be awkward at first (like all first dates and initial moments with crushes can be), but when you find the right person, you’ll have just enough things in common for the conversation to naturally flow. It doesn’t feel forced like it can when you’re with someone who’s wrong for you.

2. You won’t want to play games.

I didn’t necessarily “play games” when I was single, but when I was with the wrong person, I tended to find myself wanting to see how far I could push the envelope on certain things. What happens if I don’t text him back right away? Will he be concerned? What happens if I tell him he doesn’t text me enough? Will he step up? These are thoughts I did not want to see played out when I began dating my now-husband. I didn’t want to push any boundaries, and I didn’t want to see how far I could push before he pulled away—because I didn’t want to risk him pulling away. Maybe I just matured, but I think, really, he was just the first person I knew I couldn’t risk losing. With the others, I wanted to see if I could lose them in order to see if they were the one, but when I met the one, it wasn’t even worth the risk to check.

3. You can hang out doing separate things and still be totally happy.

At the beginning of a relationship, it’s normal to want to do everything together, but a relationship becomes really strong when you can be completely comfortable in silence or doing separate things. Sometimes it’s nice just to know the other person is in the same room as you—even if he’s playing video games, and you’re catching up on The Bachelorette.

4. You may have separate interests, but you still support one another.

You don’t have to have the same passions—though I do think having the same values and belief systems is incredibly important—but love means you support one another’s passions. You don’t have to be in the same clubs or in the same professions, but you still root for each other and care about each other’s accomplishments and failures in these areas.

5. You have fun together doing absolutely nothing.

It’s easy to see why people on shows like The Bachelor fall in love so easily when they’re off on grand adventures, but you know you’ve found the one when you can have fun with him doing mundane tasks like grocery shopping or even doing absolutely nothing. That’s true love.

6. You feel like you are enough as you are.

When you’re with the right person, you never question if you’re enough for him. Sure, you want to better yourself, but the way he treats you assures you that you are all he needs in a partner. You’re confident in that. You’re safe in that.

7. All of your future plans include him.

When you’ve found the one, all of your future plans slowly start to change as you add him into the equation. Eventually, you can’t picture a future without him.

8. Hard times aren’t all that bad.

When you’re with the right person, hard times won’t drive you apart but, instead, strengthen you. You can lean on each other, and in the words of Taylor Swift, you can trust that he’s going to be there even “when it’s hard, or it’s wrong, or you’re making mistakes.”

9. You want to be a better person.

As mentioned in No. 6, the right person makes you a better person. You work on improving your not-so-nice traits. You try to be the best partner you can be. This includes always looking for ways to serve the other person. It could be simple tasks like taking over one of his chores when he’s having a rough day or sacrificing time to go see a band he likes (and you maybe don’t) perform.

10. You love with understanding and forgiveness.

Nobody is perfect. Even “the one” will not be perfect—he’s a human being, after all. You know you’re with the right person when you can see past those imperfections, when you love unconditionally, and when you know forgiveness comes before being right.

 

When the Swimsuit You Bought Doesn’t Look Like It Did on the Model

Swimsuit on modelI have an unfortunate habit of shopping online for clothing. This is unfortunate because oftentimes that means that when clothing arrives, it doesn’t look quite like it did online or on the model.

I’ve noticed that when I shop online at certain stores, I almost always end up drawn to clothing worn by the same model. Over and over again.

And over and over again, these clothing items arrive, and while they may look decent on me, I’m always disappointed when the items don’t fit quite like they do on the model.

The thing is, we have to be realistic about our body types. It’s not just a weight or muscle tone issue. Women have different figures. Even if we were all standing next to one another with identical fat and muscle percentages, we’d all still look pretty different. We hold weight in different areas, are taller and shorter, have longer legs or longer torsos—there is so much variation to be celebrated!

Yet, sometimes, we can get too stuck idolizing the type of body we want. In my case, I finally realized that no matter how “in-shape” I get, it just isn’t physically possible for me to look like this lengthy, lean model whose clothes I keep buying. I just don’t have the same body proportions as her, but that’s OK.

There’s a freedom in coming to the realization that you can never obtain what you think is the “ideal” figure. And the other good news? Everyone has a slightly different opinion of what that is! Some may wish they had Beyoncé-type curves. Others wish they were as thin as Emma Watson. Some may wish they were tall like Taylor Swift, while others wish they were more petite like Rachel Bilson.

This all ties in similarly with our recent blog post about beauty standards—we all may wish we met some ideal standard of beauty we’ve created in our heads, but there are so many different ways to be beautiful! The same can be said of our figures.

I’ve found over time that the only time I’m ever really content with my body is when I regularly work out and eat right. I don’t even have to lose weight or see muscle definition; I just need to know that I’m doing something healthy and beneficial for my body. That’s when I feel my best and begin to feel comfortable being in my skin.

It’s during the times when I neglect my body that I start to wistfully wish I looked like the American Eagle or Adore Me swimsuit models whom I so often buy clothes based on.

Years ago, while skimming a tabloid at the supermarket as a teen, I read something that truly stuck with me and changed the way I thought about my own body.

It was a quote from a very thin (and small-chested) actress who encouraged young girls to embrace their bodies. She made a comment about her smaller bra size and said something along the lines of how she finally realized that, since she is smaller than most girls, she can wear things they can’t. She may not have a so-called enviable chest, but she could wear dresses with more daring necklines than girls with larger bra sizes. This helped her feel happier and more confident with the body she had.

It was a great reminder that there are always pros and cons to every body type. Even something you may believe is a negative can actually be a positive if you think about it differently.

Ladies, embrace what you have. Take care of yourself, and watch your confidence grow. Soon you’ll be happy in the skin you’re in!

 

Do you have an area of your body that you wish were different? In what ways may others actually envy it? Trust me, someone probably does. The grass always seems greener.


 

Having It All: Career, Love, and Family

Having it all: career, love, and family. Girl in field.Women are under extraordinary pressure today to “have it all.” To have the dream job, to raise not only well-behaved but also gifted children, to keep the house in order, and to keep up their appearances.

Some women believe “having it all” is possible; some do not. In reality, the definition of “having it all” needs to change.

We are not cookie-cutter personalities. All women do not have the same dream. Some are ambitious and want to rise to the top in their careers. Others dream of being homemakers—which is never something other women should criticize. Others want something in the middle.

Yet, today—and this happens to young men, too—young women seem to be funneled into the same path: College. Career. Marriage. Family. If you stray from this path, there is a societal pressure and mindset that you have failed.

The thing is, society’s standard does not equate to a happy life. In fact, meeting that standard is practically impossible even if you have a personality type that would thrive in that lifestyle!

There are only so many hours in a day, and the reality is that you cannot “have it all” in the way society has defined it.

I’ll never forget the quiet realization that fell over my global communications class during a Q&A with some successful guest journalists several years ago. These were the type of journalists who are out there living the dream. They traveled to far off places, spoke with amazing people, and really experienced life on a global scale.

We were all off in daydreams picturing romanticized views of their lifestyles when someone asked how it affected their relationships back home.

A girl sitting behind me scoffed loudly at the question. She was the career type. She thought the question was immature and inappropriate.

The girl who asked the question was smart, though. She was clearly not completely career-focused. She wanted to know if this type of journalism was something she could actually do and be happy with.

As it turns out, everyone’s romanticized view of the job was quickly shattered; one journalist shared she was single and had never married, and two others shared they had both been divorced—though they had found love with one another.

Our teacher, also a traveling journalist, confirmed the same: she had trouble making relationships work as well because of her job.  

For these journalists, their careers took priority. They no doubt have amazing lives, amazing stories, and success, but because of how much they have to travel, they have had to sacrifice relationships and marriages.

The students were rather quiet as they considered if that’s something they could do.

There is no right or wrong answer for what you choose to pursue in your life, but you have to be honest with yourself. What does your “having it all” look like? What will you have to sacrifice to get there?

Your “all” does not need to look like someone else’s. If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, do it. If you don’t want kids, that’s OK, too. If you want a meaningful career and a family, you’ll find a way to balance it.

We can’t be everything. So just be who you want to be.

Just Friends: Don’t Lead People On

My Post (23)I write the following words with conviction, as it’s something I’ve done. It’s something most of us have done.

You’re young; you worry about feeling loved and attractive. Will anybody ever like me? you think. And then someone does—only it’s not whom you wanted.

You let him down easy, or maybe you avoid letting him know how you feel at all, while still remaining friends, texting, and hanging out.

You may not even realize you’re doing it, but you might be leading him on. You might have unconsciously created a safety net—a guy you can hang on to in case you eventually decide you like him back.

Don’t get me wrong, guys do this, too. This is not a cruelty exclusive to girls, but it’s important that we recognize that we have the power to hurt guys as much as they have the power to hurt us. Sometimes in the midst of emotions and heartaches, it’s easy to get so lost in your own feelings that you forget about others’.

When I was young, I made that mistake. I knew that a guy friend had feelings for me—or at least had at one time—and, yes, I had told him I liked someone else, but I still did not put up enough boundaries. Under the premise of being “close friends,” I essentially allowed us to create a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship emotionally. We texted constantly. We hung out all of the time. All while he watched me pine for other guys.

Obviously, he could have created distance if he needed to, but I still think I had a responsibility there.

Later, when I actually did start dating someone, I essentially had to “break up” with him, as that boyfriend did not appreciate the constant texting between myself and the friend. You know why? Because he recognized what I didn’t at the time. It was COMPLETELY unhealthy and inappropriate.

And you know what else? It made what once was a meaningful friendship feel weird and distant. Listen, somewhere there is most definitely a middle ground where guys and girls CAN be just friends. I’m not one to necessarily preach on what that looks like, but I can tell you that you’ll know when you may need to set up some boundaries to spare either his or your feelings.

Don’t get so lost in your own feelings that you forget to look out for someone else’s. While it’s important to guard your own heart and protect it from heartbreak, it’s just as important that you recognize when you can harm someone else’s heart.

Preserve your friendships. Preserve others’ hearts.

It’s what you yourself would want.

Different Types of Beauty and Impossible Standards

Mirror Selfie. Beauty.Ladies, take a moment to picture your celebrity crush. See him?

I bet if we polled all of our readers, most of you would have thought of someone different. Some may have pictured Chris Hemsworth, others may have pictured one of the other four Chrises (Pratt, Evans, and Pine), and others pictured a variety of other famous good-looking (or maybe not so objectively good-looking) men.

Oftentimes, we can get very stuck in our heads wishing we looked a certain way. We wish we had thicker hair, smaller pores, a tinier waist, taller legs, etc.

Sometimes we get it into our heads that there is a specific type of beauty standard we need to meet, and many times this can look like a specific celebrity.

Growing up, I loved Keira Knightley. I thought she was so beautiful in Pirates of the Caribbean and Pride and Prejudice. One day, while watching behind-the-scenes extras on the Pride and Prejudice DVD, I heard Keira mention how she always got in trouble on set for pouting. This was apparently just her natural state, but her character demanded a sunnier disposition.  

Well, since I thought Keira was gorgeous, and I hoped to look like her when I grew up, I began adopting this pouting habit. Years later, I realized that my now resting b**** face—as the kids call it—is purely a result of a young and more impressionable me creating a standard of beauty I hoped to meet.

I’d like to tell you that I grew out of these habits. I’d like to tell you that, by my college years, I had realized that just because Taylor Swift had bangs did not mean I should. Yet, here I am at 24, and I still consider bangs anytime I see a particularly good photo of Taylor with them.

When we set these standards of beauty for ourselves, we set ourselves up for disappointment every time we look in the mirror. No matter how much I pout, Keira Knightley will not look back at me in the mirror. No matter how I style my bangs, Taylor Swift will not look back at me.

But there’s a great realization to be had here. Just as we will never look like Keira or Taylor, they can’t ever look like each other, either. And why would they want to? They are both gorgeous women in their own way—just like you and me.

Just like we all have different celebrity crushes, there are so many ways to be beautiful.

Plus, those Chris Pratt fans don’t just love him for his looks, but for his humor. It’s not Keira’s pouting that makes her beautiful; it’s her feminine, thoughtful, and spirited personality that shines through her smile. It’s not Taylor’s bangs, but her sweet, genuine hopefulness that made the world fall in love with her so many years ago.

Next time you look in the mirror, instead of finding a way to be disappointed, remember that there are Chris Hemsworth crushes, and there are Chris Pratt crushes. There are Keira Knightley good looks, and there are Taylor Swift good looks. None of that takes away from the others’ beauty.

And nothing can take away from yours.



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