Change & Growing Pains

It’s safe to say we are never done growing. There is always room to improve who we are and how we navigate the world. The only way to do and be better is to change. However, many of us make changes without thinking about why we make them. Is it really because we want to better ourselves, or are we just trying to keep up with trends, our friends, and the people we see every day on social media? This past year, my freshman year of college, I’ve learned that there is a fine line between loving yourself as you are while acknowledging room for improvement and making big changes for the wrong reasons. 

In an effort to evaluate my own choices, I took a hard look at my life in the last year. While I didn’t want to admit it, my self-confidence took a major hit. I had gained a bit more than the traditional freshman 15 and I berated myself for it. My goal of being more extroverted took a backseat to the freedom and pressures of college life. So many of the goals and expectations I had for myself fell short and I unconsciously punished myself for it. 

I did not know what to do.

Image courtesy of Anaya Mitchell

Unfortunately, I have a very bad habit of making a series of slightly irrational changes in my life when I feel lost. So that is exactly what I did. Towards the end of the year, I threw or gave away more than half of my clothes, ranging from some of my favorite pieces to clothes that still had tags on them. I convinced myself I wasn’t going to buy anymore until I figured myself out. Being completely honest, I wasn’t sure who I was at that point. I also let my weight gain heavily affect how I saw myself and what I thought I deserved. Looking back, it’s easy to see how misguided I was. I put so much pressure on myself to do better and be better that I forgot what was most important. You’re supposed to love yourself at every stage, even the transitional ones. I was making all these changes under the guise of self-love and improvement, but really I was just hurting myself.

Next is the hardest part. Now that I know what I’ve been doing, what can I do to fix it? I guess that brings me back to my original question, doesn’t it? Am I in love with myself? Not entirely, but we are working on it, I promise. Throughout this reflection, I realized that loving yourself means you can be honest about who you are and your faults. Wanting to make a positive change to help yourself evolve never hurts. It’s when your changes come from a place of self-sabotage that things tend to cause problems.

Image courtesy of Anaya Mitchell

This year I have tried to do better. I’ve been doing a whole lot of shopping in the last two months to make up for my retail free summer (I think I deserve a personal thank you letter from Colourpop Cosmetics for single-handedly keeping them in business). Most importantly, I’m kinder to myself, realizing that I don’t have to be perfect for myself or anyone else. All I have to do is keep striving for the happiest and healthiest version of myself and I think I’ll be ok.