I think we can all agree that “being yourself” is a lot easier said than done, especially when it comes to being completely you throughout the school year. Giving into the pressures around you to conform to one specific type of person is something we all go through, especially as a teen. A lot of times in the moment conforming to fit in seems like the only and best option.
Since the stigma around being yourself is almost directly related to people’s want to fit in with a certain crowd, lemme ask you a question: What’s the point of having “friends” if they can’t love the real you; if they don’t even know the real you? Whether your version of fitting in has to do with clothing, interests, body type, hairstyles, etc. you still have every right to be YOU.
There’s so much negativity surrounding the idea of originality, but truly originality is what gets you places.
Look at it this way: Everyone likes a different type of pizza. Some want all the toppings, some want only a few, while some just want plain cheese. There’s millions of pizzas combos to choose from, and more are created each day. If there was only one type of pizza, it would not be one of the most famous foods. Heck, it wouldn’t even make top 20!
It’s the same way with people.
If there was only one type of person, we would get bored. All of a sudden the human race becomes less great. There’s a reason we’re all different. It’s exciting to look at the person next to you and wonder about why they decided to dye their hair pink or wonder how they’re rockin’ the boots you’ve always wanted to rock.
There’s something so liberating about sliding my silver rings onto every finger each morning, an accessory to the funky outfit I will choose out of my closet. There’s something so wonderful about dancing in the courtyard at school lunch and not caring if other people stare. There’s something so powerful about speaking up around people I know and don’t know, sharing my own beliefs in hopes to educate and empower those around me.
There’s something so liberating and wonderful and powerful about the act of being myself. Just like there’s something so liberating and wonderful and powerful about you being you.
In this post, I can’t give you a step-by-step guide to show you exactly how you can become comfortable with letting go of fitting in and accepting yourself. But I can encourage you, show you small ways that helped me live day-to-day life as myself, and be here for you if you need to talk (my comment section and DMs on Instagram are always open!).
immerse yourself in your interests
One of the ways that has helped me come into my own self the most is immersing myself in the things I love with no regrets, guilt, or shame. Embracing your interests, regardless of how weird or out of the ordinary they may seem to those around you can be very freeing. A lot of people will join clubs, play sports, and take up hobbies because their friends do them. Although there’s nothing wrong with loving the social aspects of what you do, make sure you save time for your own activities that bring you joy. For me, that’s blogging, writing poetry, and reading Harry Potter (mostly fanfiction…oops).
It can definitely still be frightening whenever I bring up my blog around people I barely know and sometimes even my friends, but blogging brings me so much happiness that I shouldn’t have to hide it. Same goes for you!!
Is there a hobby or activity out there you love that you’re scared people will judge you for?
No one should ever stand in the way of embracing your interests, including yourself. So step aside, and immerse yourself in what you love. I’m not entirely sure even I can explain how it works, but doing this creates confidence in being totally yourself around others. You’ll never know until you try!
dress up a little
Ever heard anyone talk about how an outfit can give you confidence? Well, it’s true. And not only can an outfit give you confidence, it can give you confidence to be yourself. Fashion is the art of expressing yourself through clothing. The sad thing is, not everyone uses fashion in that way. They use it to fit in and cover up insecurities, forgetting the power behind wearing what you love.
Trust me, I’ve done this more times than I can count.
That being said, choose an outfit you love from your closet, go get one from the mall, or borrow one from a friend. Choose an outfit that you’ve always been too scared to wear because the silver metallic hoodie will be laughed at or your tummy-revealing crop top will be gossiped about for days, etc. And wear it. Wear the outfit out and about. It is such a small, yet extremely bold thing to differ your clothing from the norm nowadays. At first, it might be hard to wear the outfit confidently. You might walk into school with your arms crossed over your chest or shuffling your feet so that your clunky boots don’t make a sound on the linoleum floors. You might try to go unnoticed.
But once you’re out of the house, you’re out of the house with no going back. It’s scary, being yourself appearance-wise. It’s easier to be yourself in thoughts and interests because they aren’t as blatant and obvious as the clothing on your body. Fashion is one of the type of being yourself that teens struggle with the most. I know the feeling.
Yet, you’re rocking the same look your favorite YouTuber or influencer wears and it feels gooddd! Maybe it’s not what your friends wear, but it gives you power. It gives you the power of knowing people look at you and know the image you want to convey of yourself. Dress up in an outfit you love once or twice a week, you don’t have to go all in right away. It’ll still do wonders on your journey to being yourself!!
The moment I decided to rock my metallic silver hoodie into school two years ago (yes, I got stares and a lot of snide comments) was a turning point. I realized the feeling of being completely yourself fashion-wise and in all the other ways beat out the negative thoughts people had about me. And donning a look that’s different than those around you can lead you to have the same realization. Being yourself is always better 🙂
Read my Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared of Standing Out post to hear more on this topic!
surround yourself with good people
Pretty sure I bring this up about every other blog post or so, but you can’t go wrong when surrounded by people who support and lift you up while loving your weirdness and getting weird with you. Being in toxic or fake friendships (friendships that aren’t mutually beneficial or don’t fill you up), easily stops you from being your true self. Being scared to speak/act a certain way or being constantly torn down or targeted around your friends is not a good sign. They are supposed to be like family, trust is mutual and so is the weirdness 😉
Surrounding yourself with the best of people has so many benefits and the confidence to be yourself in daily life is one of them. Read my How to Find Your (Girl) Squad post to learn tried-and-true ways to fine the people your meant to be friends with!
follow positive accounts on insta
The reason I love Instagram so much is how inspiring of a community it can be. There are lots of amazing people who have accounts meant to inspire and help you, their follower, with any problem or struggle. Need beauty tips? They got you. Need advice on how to rock the latest trends you thought you couldn’t pull off? They got you. Need self-care, self-love, or confidence tips? They got you. You can find any and every account on Instagram, so go follow some accounts that encourage you to be yourself. Look for body-positive ones, women who promote confidence, and are down-to-earth, raw, and real with their followers. I know that tons of positive changes have been made in my life solely because of something someone I follow on Instagram has posted, and I’m sure it will do the same for you 🙂
I always do these types of posts with guiding tips and by sharing my own experiences, but in the end, it comes down to you to conquer the fear of not fitting in. Finding the confidence to be completely yourself is a journey, and lots of events can lead up to it. You can set those events in motion.
Start out by dressing in an outfit you love that may not be everyone else’s cup of tea, work on a hobby you used to love or find something new, learn a new makeup technique or wear makeup less and do anything else that is inherently you and makes ya comfortable, happy, and content! Stick with it, and build on it, creating a person that is so YOU!
Like I said earlier, being yourself and loving yourself is a journey, but a worthwhile one. I hope this post inspires you to go out and become the person you are meant to be, and that it helps you remember that’s being yourself is a-okay. Fitting in isn’t necessary! Here’s to the real you 🙂