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I feel like most of a girl’s stress or anxiety comes from thinking someone knows you more than you know yourself. Think about it, if someone shines a negative light on you, how does that make you feel about yourself? That negativity will most likely be very hurtful. Let’s try to change the narrative, and not believe the critics.

People tend to lean into the negative criticisms more than the positive criticisms. It is human nature. It is easier to focus on the bad stuff because we want to protect ourselves. By this I mean if we are being told that we are something that is undesirable it has the potential to affect our lives. We wonder if everyone sees us this way. We accept the criticism even though we overthink it and wonder if it is true or not because we want to create a good life. What if I told you, living the life you want to live and believing in yourself creates a good life?

Author Maria Popova reminded us of the civil rights activist Maya Angelo. “When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as importantly, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you”.

I find this quote inspiring. She is asking us to own our values and beliefs and to ignore those who misunderstand them. What sticks out the most is that when critics speak, they are revealing themselves and it is not entirely about you. I think knowing this is important because it allows us to separate ourselves from the negative situation. This separation is one step to owning who you are.

A second thought to ask yourself is why do you believe a person who is calling you fake, annoying, or too much. When a person tells you what you are ask yourself who they are and what sparked them to say that. I think you will be surprised when you reevaluate the situation and do not give them more power than they deserve. This may remind you that it is just some guy or girl that might not have liked what was said or the situation and just needs a rebuttal.

A podcast I listened to that sparked this article is called “The Highest Self Podcast”. This particular episode was called How to Choose the Path of Ease While Still Growing and Evolving with Susie Moore. Moore explains that the way the mind works is by responding to stimuli. In the case of a mean guy or girl saying something about you, the mind will respond to that stimulus with emotion. This emotion could range from anger to feeling rejected. However, this would mean that if someone else received the same stimuli they should feel the same way. As we know, this is not true. Not everyone is the same.

With this, it is important to free ourselves of this stimulated response. It is freeing to take back your own self. It is okay to change the narrative and hold true to your power. After all, everything is what you make it.

I am a Junior at St. Bonaventure and a future Psychologist!
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