Being a woman at any age is difficult, but being a woman in your late teens and early twenties can be so overwhelming given the constant pressure to be the best everything: the best student, the best co-worker, the best-dresser, the best friend, or the best girlfriend. When you feel the constant need to justify yourself to everyone around you, you can forget what it means to just be you. Here is the list of the six things that you should never have to justify to anyone other than yourself.
1. Your Relationships
Many women tend to feel valued and foster relationships through sharing and story-telling. This sacred girl-time is comparable to therapy for some women, but it is important to be wary that you aren’t letting your girlfriends totally dictate your life. It’s always easy for someone on the outside of a relationship to judge it, so while your friends says that she thinks that the fact that you and your mom talk every day is a bit overbearing she may not understand how valuable that relationship is to you. Or if a friend says that you’re being cold by not giving that new guy from your Biology lab a chance, it is important to remember that if you know in your heart he’s not right for you, than he’s just not. You should never have to justify your feelings (or lack of feelings) about someone to anyone else.
2. Your Interests
Maybe your idea of the perfect Saturday night is a date with a latte and the stacks of a bookstore. Maybe after a long week you just want to go out the clubs and blow off some steam with your friends. Neither of these activities is better than the other, and no one should have to convince you otherwise. Your interests and hobbies are a huge part of who you are and you shouldn’t have to justify your love for the Monday Night Football or modern art museums to anyone. Someone who truly loves you would never want to bash all the the little things that you love too.
3. Your Style
If black on black all the way down to your fingernails is your thing, then go for it girl. Maybe you think that peplum tops look great on you even though everyone around you is declaring them a fashion-no. Your style and the way you dress is one of the purest forms of expressing who you are. If you don’t like fashion blogs then don’t feel pressured to buy what their selling. If you love an off-the rack look don’t let anyone tell you that your style isn’t creative enough. You should never feel the pressure to explain your ombre hair or Uggs and sweatpants to anyone, because anyone that only cares about what you’re wearing isn’t getting to know how great you are and therefore probably isn’t worth your time.
4. How You Spend Your Free Time
If you’re like most college-aged women the free time that you have, if any at all, is very limited. Sometimes you just need to binge watch The Office for a few hours to de-stress. Going to bed at 8pm on a Monday night “just because you can” is totally acceptable, and so is sweating out your stress in the gym or a long FaceTime call to friend that’s studying abroad. Your free time is just for you, and anyone that’s close to you know how valuable it is; a true friend would never judge you for how you choose to take care of yourself during a busy week as long as you’re being safe and smart. In a world where over-commitment happens much easier than you thought it would, you should never have to justify to someone else how you spend your time that’s reserved just for you.
5. Your Mistakes
We all make them. They’re inevitable. There’s nothing wrong with mistakes as long as you learn from them though. Anyone that consistently reminds you of mistakes that you’ve made is toxic. You should always strive to surround yourself with people that care about who you are, not who you were. Yes, maybe going blonde was a bad idea, but a good friend would never throw that in your face. And yes maybe you wasted a lot of time freshman year pining for that guy that just wasn’t that into you, but a good friend would remind you how valued you are today, and should be to everyone everyday, and not shame you for liking the wrong guy.
6. Your Dreams
Your dreams make you who you are, and you should never have to put up with someone that doesn’t respect your dreams. They don’t have to believe that you will someday win the Nobel Prize like you do, but they should never make you feel like your dreams are trivial or out of reach. Your career choices, field of study, and extra-circular activities are where you invest the bulk of your time and heart. Diversity is good; so the people that you are close with won’t, and shouldn’t, love all the same things that you do. For most people though, your dreams are what get you out of bed in the morning, and help you fall asleep at night, and anyone that can’t sympathize with that probably doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
You are valued, special, and important. Everything from the shoes that you wear to the thoughts in your head is a vital part of who you are. You should never feel the pressure to justify the things that make you you to anyone else.