What to do When Deciding Who You Are Means a Harder Life

As a college student we learn more about ourselves faster than we can decide on a major. We change the type of people we date, our favorite foods, create unexpected friendships and discover new talents. Once we establish ourselves, it creates a grounding that no one else can provide. This personal grounding is an essential part of our life that we need to have before we can further our relationships and begin careers. College is our best time to build the ground underneath us.

Discovering who you are is both beautiful and terrifying. Not everyone is going to approve and accept you for you, and sometimes that will make your life harder than you want it. This is purely a test to continue to help you grow, don’t give up!

First, take criticism and turn it into a tool you can use constructively. One day I was talking to an elderly man who disapproved of my nose ring. He told me directly that he thought it ruined my face. There was nothing constructive about that critic at all. What I decided to do was remember why in fact my nose ring made me more comfortable in my own skin. If it did not, I would have never of gotten the piercing in the first place. This is a minor example of many situations where it might be harder to take criticism and turn it into a way to remind us why we love who we are.

Second, don’t back down. Whether this is a new religion you want to explore, an extra class you want to take, a job that you never expected to get, don’t back away from it just because it makes your life a little bit more complicated. You will come out so much stronger than you were before.

Third, don’t compare yourself to someone else. We all grow at different speeds and in different ways. Whether you find you’re calling as a freshman or your last semester senior year, it will come. Once you start comparing yourself to another person is the second you stop letting yourself grow. There is only one of you therefore you need to make it the best version of you that you can. Take inspiration from others, but don’t bring yourself down because you are not them. You will never be them. You can only be you so might as well be someone you love even if others don’t approve.

When the world pushes you down, pick yourself back up and push back. I am not writing this to tell you it will be easy. Instead, I am writing this to tell you that you are capable of doing so. The reward you will get out of it is a solid grounding underneath you and a definition of yourself that you created. Individualism is hard but so worth it!