Health

We all have those friends that seem like they have their lives all figured out. They go through each day with their heads held high, exuding a confidence that we can’t seem to perfect ourselves. And somehow they make it look so easy.

Sometimes we can’t help but envy them. We know that growing up is all about finding ourselves and becoming the person we want to be for the rest of our lives. Yet there are still so many things we’re not sure about and sometimes we wake up feeling like we’ll never be like our self-assured friends.

It took some time for me to realize this, but my friends – the ones I thought were perfect –  are also struggling with their insecurities. They sometimes look in the mirror and see things that they don’t like about themselves. They have doubts about what the future holds and sometimes they’re not as confident as they may come off.

I don’t think anyone is one hundred percent sure of themselves. We are human, not robots. No one, and I mean no one, is perfect. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not as confident as everyone around you appears to be. It’s okay to have insecurities. It’s okay to have bad days. Growing up is about finding yourself, but you don’t have to have everything figured out today or tomorrow or even in a year from now.

You do have to know one thing. And it is one of the most important things you will ever need to know. If someone hasn’t told you this already, I’m here to tell you that you are enough. You might have insecurities and doubts and you might not have everything figured out just yet but who you are right now, in this very moment, is enough. You don’t have to be anything more than what you already are. You don’t have to change anything about yourself, and you most certainly don’t have to be like who you think your friends are.

Everyone has their own struggles. Some just carry them a little better than others but, nonetheless, we all have a weight on our shoulders. If you just remember that you are enough, then that weight will get a little less heavy. Don’t worry about the things that you can’t change or even the things you have no control over. Having insecurities is not something to be ashamed of and being confident is not a quality that people are born with. You can feel like crap if you want to on some days. Just as long as you remember that those super confident friends that you have sometimes feel like crap too; just as long as you do this one thing for yourself:

On the days that you feel like you’re at your lowest, tell yourself that you are enough. Tell yourself that you don’t have to be anyone, other than who you are. It might not free you of all of the insecurities that you have, but it will make going through each day a little easier.

Image: Unsplash

CultureHealth

I’m a blend of German Irish heritage. You know what that means? I have camouflage abilities that are most suited for Polar Regions. As a youngster, I was blessed with the most delightful smattering of freckles that I then, of course, hated. What I would give to have those damn freckles back! I always envied my naturally bronzed friends and would frequent a tanning salon with dreams of one day, having that all over golden look. When article upon article started to surface about the terrors of tanning beds, I convinced myself they were just conspiracy theories and continued fake baking. It wasn’t until my uncle got a serious case of melanoma that cost a pretty penny for surgery did I start to listen.  (Just an FYI, the articles and various medical studies are not conspiracy theories. Please take them far more seriously than I did.) This really got me thinking. My originally perceived “ideal” appearance wasn’t worth putting my health at serious risk or worth a years worth of tuition. Instead of bed tanning, I decided to pursue an entirely different avenue of tanning possibilities and I found myself in front of the drug store’s selection of self-tanners. I. Have. Tried. Them. All. Seriously, I have. I’ve read review after review in search of a streak-less, smell-less concoction that would turn my alabaster to any shade of bronze. But alas, they all have had their pitfalls! They might not smell bad, but they washed off instantly. They might go on streak-less, but I’d be a ghastly shade of orange. No matter my conviction and determination to uncover this mythical perfect self-tanner, it was always evident that I was using a self-tanner, and that is the exact opposite reaction you hope to have.

So I went off the stuff.

Trust me when I say it was difficult. I had become so accustomed to a semi-darker completion that when I saw it as it really is (after several showers), I was appalled. I have nice skin. Granted, I’m bruised and scratched up from several years of reckless exploring and overall klutziness, but that’s just because my skin has got some serious personality. And that’s how I like it. Even though we are so accustomed to the norms of beauty, or as I like to call them the Triple T’s (tall, thin, tan), I realized this doesn’t apply to me. Sure, there are some things you can change about yourself. You can dye your hair, put on makeup, change your clothes… These things are great additions or frills (I do all three), but they do not provide your body with protection like your skin can. Your skin is all encompassing and has been with you since day one. That isn’t something to take lightly. Never thought about it like that, did ya? Neither had I until I started seeing more and more of the women who I consider role models embracing their epidermis. It’s empowering to take a stand and be unconventional especially when it is something that holds you all together. So think about it. Can you come to terms with your translucency?