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Confidence

  • Confidence, GirlSpring.com, Home Life, Lifestyle

    Challenge Yourself

    Trying new things is a little scary, and more often than not, uncomfortable. Once people fall into a comfortable routine, it is hard to step away from it and change things up. But in order for growth and progress, new experiences are crucial. 

    I didn’t always have this attitude about trying new things. Instead, I preferred to follow a day to day routine, repeating the same tasks daily. I stuck to eating the same foods I always ate and spending time with the friends that I have known for years. For the longest time, I didn’t feel confident enough to change or develop my way of doing things. I didn’t want to step out of my comfort zone. 

    This summer I was faced with a dilemma. I had the chance to take on a life-changing opportunity, a month-long program in Boston. I realized that this would be the longest time I spent in a totally unfamiliar city without my family. I was hesitant, but with heavy contemplation, I decided to go.

    Now I am halfway through the program, and in these few weeks, I have had to challenge myself to break out of the same old routine and my fixed mindset. I tried different cuisines and Starbucks orders, I learned how to navigate a subway, and I made new friends from all over the world and opened up to them. But most importantly, I encouraged myself to see things from new perspectives and to be more open and understanding.

    Overall, my experiences here in Boston have been enriched by adventure and discovery. Through being more willing to try new things, I allowed myself to face and overcome my fears, to realize my insecurities, and to learn a lot about myself and my capabilities. 

    Whether it be something as small as switching up your Starbucks order or as momentous as travelling to a totally unfamiliar city alone, I challenge you to look at the world with an open mind and try all kinds of new things and experiences.

  • Articles, Confidence, Depression, GirlSpring.com, Puberty, Tough Questions

    Redefine Your Life: My Story

    Getting off the bus after the first day of kindergarten, I remember feeling so overstimulated and overwhelmed I ran straight to my bedroom, ignored everyone, and sat on my bed crying. Thirty minutes later I came back to the kitchen, had my afternoon snack, and everything was back to normal. Reactions like this were normal for me throughout all of elementary school. I was the girl who would restrict my playdates to two hours, call my mom to pick me up at sleepovers and disappear for hours at a time into the woods. The consensus I eventually came to was I just enjoyed being alone. Other people made me tired and anxious, so at a young age I put myself into a box: I was an introvert.


    I was happy in this box for most of my life going on my own adventures and living in my own world until I realized that many of my classmates were going on the same adventures but bringing other people with them and they seemed to be having more fun. Fixing this issue was easy as I just started bringing my neighbor with me on my adventures. Soon we were inseparable; however, I still saw myself as an introvert: I was now just an introvert with a best friend. Because I had a best friend I never felt the need to meet anyone new; therefore, I never learned how to interact with new people.


    This lack of social ability was not an issue for me until I moved in eighth grade. At first, it was exciting, everyone was intrigued with me, boys were asking for my number, girls were complimenting me, and I had already learned everything I was being taught: life was great. However, I had no idea how to actually form relationships, so eventually when I was no longer new, I was all alone. Soon the box I had put myself into for so long began to backfire, I found myself feeling constantly depressed and alone. All I wanted was to climb into my bed and go to sleep. Furthermore, I was extremely confused as to why I was feeling this way as I still believed that I was an introvert and loved being alone.

    This period of depression continued into high school. I was constantly pushing people away, refusing to participate and then seeing pictures on Snapchat or Instagram and finding myself jealous or upset. This situation continued until one day I decided I was not happy and I did not fit into this box I made for myself so long ago. I clearly remember one of my first yes moments. I was at a football game that my older sister had dragged me to standing uncomfortably at the top of the student section, everyone around me was cheering, laughing, and getting involved in the game. However, because I still have no idea how football works there was no way to get involved even if I wanted to leave me wanting to just cry and run away. At halftime, people started to leave the student section and I was about to call my mom and beg her to pick me up. Right as I was reaching for my phone a random guy from my grade came up to me and asked, “Hey, do you want to walk around with me and my friends.” Instead of pretending I didn’t hear him I just said, “sure.” Although that may seem so minuscule, it was a major change in my life. It was the first moment I let myself venture out of my box. It was the first time I found myself having fun and actually wanting to stay somewhere in years.


    Throughout the rest of high school these yes moments continued to occur: saying yes to a dance, yes to a party, yes to getting involved in my school and community. As a senior, I have completely redefined myself. I am no longer the quiet, introverted girl who could not get out of her comfort zone. In fact, when I tell people that I used to be extremely shy they laugh in my face and ask, “Do you know what being shy means?” or respond “I don’t know about that.”  Now instead of being the girl unable to talk to anyone, I’m the one going up to that random person so that they can finally have a yes moment too

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, Health, Mental Health, Puberty

    What Body Positivity Means to Me

    Three girls smiling at the camera

    Body Positivity In Our Society

    We live in a society that claims to be “body positive’, but doesn’t accept all types of people. I always hear “every person is unique” and I get that. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t celebrated. I don’t mean that we should all get participation trophies or be praised for anything we do, but everyone deserves to be comfortable and welcome without exception. It’s true that we are all unique. We are different shapes, sizes, and colors, but we should feel the same – confident and comfortable.

    I was taught to be “body positive”. What does that even mean? Why do other peoples bodies concern me? That’s just it. Other peoples bodies don’t concern me, and my body doesn’t concern anyone else. Is that body positivity? Not really. It definitely isn’t my place to tell anyone else what to do with their body. Different things empower different people. I don’t think to be body-positive means that you can’t make observations about other people’s appearance, but I believe they do need to be empowering.

    I know that the celebration and representation of all people can be directly related to self-confidence, so why isn’t diverse representation more common? It’s because we, as a society, have become used to a particular image being showcased. Some people cannot see themselves in this image, so they begin to feel inferior. Most people’s first reaction is to be judgemental. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I see someone and think. What are they wearing? but then I remember they can wear whatever works for them. It doesn’t matter what I think. If I don’t like it, then I won’t wear it. We have to train ourselves not to be critical of others because we are constantly reminded of something that doesn’t really exist. The “ideal body” cannot be captured in one image. Everyone has a different body, and that is enough, we shouldn’t accept or strive for one type of body. 

    On the other hand, we are too harsh on ourselves. I am. You are. We are all hypocrites. We tell others they should be confident, and turn around to belittle ourselves. At the same time, we get dressed, stand in front of the mirror, and pick ourselves apart. This would look better if my stomach was flat…or if my thighs were smaller, I’d be happy. The truth is, I’ll never be 100% satisfied with my appearance, and that’s normal. It’s important to remember that body positivity is for everyone – including ourselves. 

    I decided to write about how contradictory our society is when it comes to body image, because of a song I love. “Body” by Julia Michaels begins with an apology that we should all take notes on. She is apologizing to herself. She knows that she makes herself lose confidence and feel insecure. She knows that she shouldn’t treat herself like that, but she still does. All she wants is to love her body like she loves others’ and they love hers. Why are we like that? Why can we see the beauty in others, and others can see it in us, but we can’t see it in ourselves?

    Personal Relationship With Body Positivity

    My relationship with my body is constantly changing. My entire childhood I was a gymnast. I was short, strong, and could never find jeans that fit. Around the age of 11, I got taller. I was thinner, and the strongest I had ever been. Still, I hated my body. Then came an injury that ended gymnastics forever. For the rest of middle school, I was getting zero exercises and eating terribly. I was depressed. I hated myself, and I hated my body even more. The little bit of confidence I had was gone. I wouldn’t even look anyone in the eye.

    Then high school started, and I was more comfortable with myself. I was adapting well. I was doing everything I wanted to – succeed academically and socially. Spring semester of my 9th-grade year, I got sick. I lost my appetite almost immediately, I was on a lot of medications, and the doctors were running dozens of tests that were not providing any answers. Nothing. I was also participating in swim team, so I was burning lots of calories and not eating any. Obviously, this resulted in rapid weight loss( almost 45 pounds in a few weeks). The sad part is I liked how I looked. I felt confident. Friends told me “Wow! You look great! Have you lost weight?” Yes, I did lose weight, but I was so unhealthy. I was ill. The time I felt most confident was when I was thin from illness…how twisted is that?

    Remember that how you feel is always more important than how you look. 

    We should live in an environment where every shape and size is not only welcomed but celebrated. It isn’t difficult to be kind to those around us and ourselves. We all need to stop trying to fix what we see and focus on how we make each other, and ourselves, feel.

    Want to read more about body positivity and self-love? Check it out here and here!

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, GirlSpring.com, Health, Lifestyle

    5 Small Tips for Loving Yourself More

    body confidence

    Everyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I’ve struggled with my body confidence throughout my whole life. My extra pounds and my acne when I was younger, being taller and bigger than everyone, maybe too muscular when I used to weightlift or having no muscles at all now that I’m recovering from an injury. There’s always something to complain about my body or the way that I look… I can never be truly satisfied. 

    These past few months, after a guy that I was seeing decided to end our relationship because he “couldn’t love me if I didn’t love me”, I’ve decided to change the pattern. See, since I had been feeling the same thing for almost 22 years and it wasn’t helping me at all. Maybe it was time to try something else! And I still don’t know how, but I’ve managed to make huge changes in my confidence. So what better way to celebrate these changes than to share them with everyone else?

    Here are 5 small tips that I’ve used to accept and care for myself more:

    1. Tell the voice in your head to shut up. I know… It’s like every time I look at myself in the mirror, or I see myself in a picture, there’s an instant voice yelling “ugh… disgusting!” Well, it’s time to make a conscious effort to shut it down. I understand it will be hard, but try covering it up with positive thoughts such as “I look amazing!” “I feel great!” At first, it might seem unnatural, but after a while, you can revert the habit.
    2. Take a look at your beautiful self in the mirror. If you feel uncomfortable with yourself, it’s highly likely that you avoid seeing yourself in a mirror. I used to close my eyes a lot when I had to see myself in some sort of reflection. I didn’t want to face what was in front of me. It’s time to quit that: see yourself carefully, every little part of you. Look at yourself in the eyes and get to know who you are. 
    3. Make a list of all the wonderful things you’ve done in your life and what you’re capable of doing. When I feel sad, I remember something amazing that I did a while ago: maybe that time that I did stand-up comedy on TV, or how strong I was in a sports competition. I also take time to be grateful for what’s to come, for the many things that I am capable of doing. Body confidence to me is not about how I look, but about what I am able to do. When you take some time to remember what you’re good at and the things you’re passionate about, you accept your own self more.
    4. Be careful with social media! Social media can be very toxic. When your feed is full of pictures of what beauty is supposed to feel like, or hurtful tips about “how you should achieve your summer body” (ALL bodies are summer bodies!) it’s very hard to get out of the negative spiral. We spend lots of hours surfing through social media, so my suggestion is to clean up your following list. Be careful with who you take advice from, and try to find other inspiring things rather than just pictures of other people. 
    5. Get out. Go for a walk! Work out! Play the piano! Do whatever makes you happy. Appreciate time with yourself, do things that are healthy for you, follow your passions. I find that when I have an amazing day just with myself, I am the happiest when I go to sleep.

    Learning to love yourself can be a long journey, here are some tips on self-care that can help you along the way!

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, GirlSpring.com, Makeup

    The Blessing and Curse of Make-Up

    make up

    Every girl comes to a point when she must decide if she wants to begin the journey of wearing and using make-up or not. Some girls don’t see the point or hate the feeling of practically painting their faces. Others enjoy the whole process and have fun with it. Then there are those who wear it because they are expected to. She might think she can’t impress her crush unless she’s dolled up, or she doesn’t look professional without it on in a workspace. There are also girls who feel like they don’t look good without it. Not everyone is blessed with genes that give them the looks society likes to see.

    Everyone has insecurities about something.

    Some people can hide them well while others become easily uncomfortable because of them. Make-up does a good job of how hiding the things you hate and enhancing what you love. It can give people confidence when they appear in public where they might not be without it. Make-up even covers those pesky blemishes that everyone hates. It does so many different things: give you a smaller nose, the illusion of cheekbone, well-maintained eyebrows. However, not everyone wants these things. They might not know how to do these things, but the more common these things become, the more they want to figure it out.

    With more commonalities in using make-up, expectations are changing. The main trend right now is having perfect eyebrows. Many different products have been made just for this use. There are pencils, gels, brushes, and stencils all dedicated to eyebrow shaping. But even with all this, does it truly matter if eyebrows are rectangular going in and thin out? They are just hairs on your face. Making your eyebrows look nice is something that some enjoy doing, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to do it. It can be hard to accomplish the perfect brows as well.

    Make-up is a tool to help make people appear nice and well put together. However, it also could make people afraid to ever go out without it.

    Any time you go out, you might be afraid of running into someone you know or you could meet someone. Also trying to look your best makes it hard to know when it’s okay to dress down and not worry about it. This only leads to more insecurities. Never feeling your best unless your face is covered doesn’t make you feel better about yourself as a whole. It could embarrass you more to be without it.

    Beck Lomas got over the fear of having to look good all the time, check out our post about loving our own imperfections.

    For some people, make-up just feeds into the idea that you’re not good enough. If the only way to get a job is based on whether or not you look put together or not and the only way to do that is to wear some make-up then what are credentials or experience even for? The way you look won’t tell an employer the type of worker you are. This also feeds into the idea that women have to wear make-up. It can make something fun become a chore instead.

    Make-up should be something that women actually get a choice in using.

    Make-up can become expensive and start to feel like a necessity. Women shouldn’t be expected to have product on their face to look nice. They shouldn’t be under the impression that the only way to get someone else’s attention is by wearing eyeliner and having boxy brows. Make-up needs to be something that women want to wear because they feel like it not to meet society’s expectations of what a woman looks like. If you despise wearing make-up then don’t put it on. Don’t feel like make-up is something that you absolutely need to have. It is okay to be bare-faced in public. Guys don’t need make-up, and they still can look good. Guys can wear make-up if they want to. Girls should be the same. Do what you’re comfortable with.

  • Articles, College, Confidence, School

    5 Things I Wish I Could Tell my High-School Self

    high school advice

    5 Things I Wish I Could Tell My High School Self

     

    If I had the choice to travel back in time to my first day of high school, to do everything differently, there’s no way I would do it. High school played its part in shaping me into the woman I am today. If I had a choice to send a letter to my 14-year-old self, however, I would give that girl supporting words and advice on how to carry herself. Words that I think every high-schooler should live by.

    Be okay with being alone.

    You’ll run into days when it feels like nobody is on the same wavelength as you like everyone else lives in a different dimension. Don’t strain yourself to fit in with the “cool” group. Don’t try to find a boyfriend because it’s what everyone else is doing. You’re always going to be your own best friend, so the sooner you accept yourself for everything you are and everything you’ll become, the sweeter life will be.

    Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

    This is going to play a big part in preparing you for life outside of high school. Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Take risks. When you challenge yourself and push your own boundaries, you open the door for beautiful, unexpected things to happen.

    Don’t worry what others think of you.

    Tell yourself this every morning when you wake up. And again in the middle of the day. And again. And again. Everyone is so concerned with what they’re doing and how they’re portrayed during high school, not what others are doing. Focusing on your own happiness and success will lead to the best memories.

    Stop worrying about the future.

    I was notorious for this in high school, and consequently, it tainted my final two years. Trust me, you’ll do well on that test. You’ll be accepted into a good college. You’ll find a career doing something you love. There come a time and place to focus on those thoughts, but don’t stress out about it too much right now.

    Realize that high school doesn’t last forever.

    You might not believe it right this moment, but you’re going to miss the hallways you stroll down each day. You’re going to miss those homework assignments because trust me, they get a lot harder. You’re going to miss seeing those familiar faces every day. While there may be some excruciatingly painful parts of high school, you never realize what you’re going to miss. Don’t take a minute of it for granted. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up; be present in each moment.

    Just take the moment to soak it all in, because when you look back you’ll think that is so high school. Think about that and other advice in the article “It Will All Be Over Soon.” 

  • Articles, Bullying, Confidence, Environment, GirlSpring.com, Interview, Lifestyle, Local, Mental Health, Relationships, School, Sexual Health, Social, Stress, Tough Questions, Writing

    Deciding To Come Out

    coming out

    ( Author’s Note: This website is for women empowerment. Men and Women can be feminist, therefore there are some males in this article.
    bri xx )

    Coming Out

    Coming out and discovering your sexuality is a really touchy subject and not everyone is comfortable with talking about their experiences. Although, it is a sensitive subject I know people (especially those who aren’t out yet) like to hear other LGBTQ+ coming out stories. Everyone’s story, of course, will be different! Some were accepted while others maybe weren’t. I had an okay experience which made me very curious about what other LGBTQ+ peoples’ experiences were. This led me to interview a few people with different cultural backgrounds to see how their experience went. I asked them all the same four questions.

    Here are their responses:

    Hayden Robinson
    Current Age: N/A
    Age You Came Out: 15
    Gender: Male
    Sexuality: Gay

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    During middle school, it felt kind of awkward walking through the underwear aisles. He started to realize when he had a crush on rapper Flo Rida.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    It all was a bit of a process, the first person he told was already a part of the LGBTQ+ community. He told them over Instagram demos, but then told them to delete their conversation. Then in November, he told his sister. The next month, he told his mom, and the month after that, his father. Soon, he told his stepmother on Valentine’s Day. Eventually, he told his close friends, but he still wasn’t out to everyone which affected his mental health. So, one Friday afternoon, he made a Snapchat story saying he was gay.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Most of them knew already. Sister thought it was awesome that they could talk about boys together. Mom took it hard and was scared. Dad was kind of quiet and didn’t ask many questions besides how long did he know he was a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Stepmom didn’t think it was a big deal.
    Friends were excited and pretty much already knew it.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    He is very happy about it! He would not be where he is today if he hadn’t come out. His family and friends are also still very supportive.

    Linus
    Current Age: 16
    Age You Came Out: 14
    Gender: Female
    Sexuality: Queer / Doesn’t really like labels though.

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    Younger, people would say a lot of homophobic things and she would take up for the LGBTQ+ community, not really realizing she was just standing up for herself.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    It wasn’t really formal, she just kind of talked about a crush who was apart of the LGBTQ+ community.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Overall, friends acted normally while one “friend” tried to fully push her out of the closet which resulted in her cutting them off.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    She’s only out to friends, but is happy about making that decision. She plans on coming out to family when ready.

    Carter

    Current Age: 15 turning 16
    Age You Came Out At: 12
    Gender: Transgender Male
    Sexuality: Bisexual

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    The first time was when he was in a hospital and met people a part of that community. During that time, he was given a chest binder and a packer and decided to try it.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    He came out as bisexual when he was twelve around thanksgiving time. He came out as transgender at fourteen.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Friends weren’t accepting at all and didn’t really understand it.
    Mom was giving him the talk when he came out as bisexual and was okay with it. Dad didn’t really care, but questioned if he was really sure he was bisexual. When coming out as transgender, his mom was confused and not accepting. She thought he was too young to make that decision. Four years later, Mom has accepted it but doesn’t want him to make rash decisions.
    Parents told teachers to call him a different name but didn’t tell them that he is transgender.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    Yes and No, he’s still battling with a couple of different things. Wishes he hadn’t told friends, but glad he came out to his family otherwise he would still be confused about things.

    Jamiah
    Current Age: 16
    Age You Came Out At: 15
    Gender: Female
    Sexuality: Lesbian

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community

    In seventh grade. The first year at a new school and decided that she wasn’t attracted to guys anymore.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    Made the decision to come out because she didn’t want to hide anymore and just wanted to be honest with herself.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Mom and Brothers already knew and did not care nor treat her differently. Dad doesn’t know and is not gonna tell him because she feels he just won’t understand. Friends were really happy and weren’t really shocked.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    Yes, Very Happy. She was just tired of hiding it and finally happy she can be open about her relationships.

    Talking with these individuals opened my eyes a lot.

    You always hear stories about people’s coming out experiences. Some are like a happy fairy tale ending. Some are not so happy and end with people taking their own lives. Not everyone is gonna be accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but every individual has a right to express themselves and not be treated differently or less than anyone else in this world. Coming out is not the easiest to do so wait until you’re ready and are comfortable with sharing it to friends, family or anyone. Don’t let anyone force you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you are not comfortable with coming out, it’s perfectly fine, no pressure, but know that, even if it doesn’t feel like it, there are many people out there who love and support you.

    If you do come out and you start to experience verbal, physical, emotional abuse or any form of bullying, tell someone. Don’t let other people’s stupidity make you feel bad about being yourself. Hopefully, reading other people’s stories helped or educated you a little bit on how different everyone’s reactions and how it changed or didn’t change their lives.

    much love,
    bri xx

    Everyone deserves to feel comfortable being themself, gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever! Check out some tips on being comfortable in your own skin.

    If you are thinking about coming out but don’t know how to, or have more questions than you can count, look at the Human Right’s Campaign’s Coming Out Resource Guide.