It’s hard to be yourself. As sad as that is, it’s true for too many of us. It’s hard to be comfortable in our own skin when the world we live in makes us feel too big, too short, not funny enough, too quiet, too loud… you name it. In college, it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in becoming what everyone else is. It’s natural to want to fit in. But “fitting in” should never mean sacrificing who you truly are. I think the concept of really being yourself is something that is a bit of a learning curve. I’m 20, and I still struggle with it. Sometimes I laugh really hard – my nose crinkles up, my eyes water, and I’m loud – and that’s usually when I’m feeling true happiness. But I still find myself sort of catching myself; I try to relax, not be so loud, and reel it in. Because for some reason I have it in my head that it’s bad to have an “annoying” laugh (does anyone really have an annoying laugh? Laughing is the biggest expression of joy – shouldn’t they all be celebrated?).
Social media can make it even more difficult to be your true self. We’re constantly comparing and analyzing, it’s no wonder we feel the need to change ourselves to what we think others want us to be. But I’ve found a secret (that really isn’t a secret): you have to love yourself to be truly happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always happy with my body or my hair or my laugh or my personality. But it’s who I am. And I’ve come to realize that if I don’t accept and love myself, other people won’t either. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find friends who make it a whole lot easier to find that road to self-love. And another tip: be the friend who helps others love themselves too.
College is a time of finding yourself. Find yourself. Find what you love, find what sets your soul on fire. Find what holds you back – and make peace with it, and move forward anyways. Find people who accept you as you are. And most of all, do not change your appearance or interests or personality just to fit what you think other people want you to be. Always strive to be the best version of you that you can be.