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Mental Health

  • Bullying, GirlSpring.com, Health, Mental Health, Social, Technology

    Dealing with hurtful instagram comments

    online bullying

    First of all, knowing your worth and being confident in who you are as a person can help you combat the things that people comment on your posts. Being strong in who you are as a person is the first tool to beating those hateful comments. You may want to disable comments or delete your instagram for a while so that you can recharge and help your mind heal from instagram trolls. Sometimes a break can help you focus on you and do things that make you happy. Fill your mind with positive thoughts and dispose of negative things people comment or say about you. They are wrong.

    Hurt people hurt people

    Whatever mean comments people write behind the comfort of their phone screen is usually out of a place of insecurity and self-doubt. People that have the audacity to spread their mean opinions are usually hurting inside and are broken.

    Don’t fuel the fire

    I know the first thing that you want to do is comment back but don’t. Be the bigger person because the reason they comment those things is to receive a reaction out of you and to spark drama which could ultimately reflect your character if you engage in it. So ignore it because if you do then they don’t even know if you saw it.

    Ignore the comments

    Don’t even take one look at them. I challenge you to not even look at who likes your photos or who comments and see how your perspective on social media changes. Social media has become a competition for the best photos, the best life, and the most likes. Strip the competition away and have fun. Take photos of you laughing or eating an ice cream cone.

    Know your worth

    Realize that the things people say are meant to tear you down, but know that the things they say are lies. One person does not define who you are as a person and you should not let them have that power over your mind. Speak truth over who you are.

    Think about your happiness

    Post pictures because you want to share them with the world and because those pictures make you happy. Never approach social media for the likes or attention or for whatever you are lacking because it will leave you empty and always coming back for more.

    Behind those phone screens, we are all people with real emotions and real feelings. Never be afraid to show the world who you really are. People value that more than anything.

    Social media has changed the way we connect with people, but it can also make us feel lonely and less than. Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter all have so many pros but the one thing that rings true for all of them is that there can be awful and mean things said. Here are tips on what to do if you’re faced with them

  • 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, GirlSpring.com, Mental Health, Stress

    What Having a Birthday on 9/11 is Like

    Photo of 9/11


    9/11 is a day that every American recognizes. From annual news specials on television to first-hand accounts read at school, there are constant reminders of that fateful day. I grew up as many other kids born in the early 2000s. We would learn about different tragedies happening to individuals that day, which contributed to a greater tragedy concerning all Americans. When people ask when my birthday is, they respond one of two ways: they act like it’s normal and try to keep a straight face without showing pity, or they face it head on and express their condolences as if I lost someone in the event. I always wait to see which reaction they give,  leading to a peek into their personality. At least it is a conversation starter.

    In first grade we had an assignment to go home and research something that happened on our birthday. Because I was a 7 year-old who was quite ignorant to the actual events of that day but just thought it was a “bad day.” I went home so excited to see if I could find something good that happened on my birthday. I asked my mom to help me, and she was clearly hesitant about the assignment. Nonetheless, she agreed to look into it with me. She expected to have to file through a lot of articles on 9/11, but she thought that surely we could find something positive. However, besides several celebrities being born that day, we found nothing. I started crying and asked why we couldn’t find anything, and she had no answers for me. 

    In fifth grade we went on a school field trip to Washington D.C. I was so excited to see the White House– all of the famous monuments and especially the Smithsonian. When we got to the Newseum, I was thrilled to see the display of a real newsdesk and other objects that were famously stored there. However, the visit darkened when we spent thirty minutes of the tour at the 9/11 exhibit. The walls were covered in the original headlines for the event from that day. There was also a piece of one of the towers placed in the middle standing several stories high. I started to get upset, and I told my mom. She asked the tour guide and teachers if we could go someplace else just so I wouldn’t have to endure it as long as the others did. She has never shielded me from it, but I already knew many of the details, and she thought she might as well save the day of wonder in D.C. if she could. She had shown me films, documentaries, and short films so I could be informed that it wasn’t a “bad day” for no reason.

    In seventh grade, we watched a livestream of people affected by 9/11 giving speeches in Washington D.C. I remember trying to hold the tears back as I finally broke down and ran to the bathroom. One of my friends in the grade above me came into the bathroom and asked if I was okay. She believed me when I said I had bad allergies, and I was left in peace even though I have never had seasonal allergies. It was on that day that I realized how unfortunate it was that I was crying on my birthday. I realized that I would probably cry on every birthday after that. I had cried before on my birthday for the same reason, but I never really thought about the fact that I would be dealing with this for the rest of my life. 

    I would like you to notice, yourself, on that day listening to stories on the radio or researching the news coverage. Then, I would like you to imagine that it was your birthday. I am deprived in a way that birthdays are meant to be–days that you can be completely narcissistic and have everything centered around you. However, I always feel an obligation to not make it about me. I feel an obligation to make it about anything but me. My birthday is a day when millions of people suffered the devastation caused by outside forces to our homeland. My birthday is a day when brothers lost sisters and sisters lost brothers. My birthday is an annual day of flag lowering and prayer throughout the nation. My birthday is a reminder of disaster, loss, and hopelessness. 

    I am not trying to throw a pity party through this article. Clearly, the actual events and stories that happened on that day were far worse than anything that has affected me. Everyone should know about what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent it from happening again. I am thankful, in a way, that it is my birthday because it grounds me in reality. It is an annual reminder that if we want this world to be a better place, it starts right here at home. It is tough, and I have taken off from school on my birthday at times to just get away from it. Luckily, my friends and family are incredibly sympathetic and try to make it as happy as it can be. I am writing this to explain my experience and acknowledge an annual phenomenon on that day besides the one we all know. If you ever meet anyone born on 9/11, all we want from you is a happy birthday wish and a smile. Any little moment of positivity on that day brightens our day to be brighter than the last. I aspire to make each birthday better than the last. I try to inject it with as much positivity as the laws of physics can bestow. I will, hopefully, be experiencing it for a long time, after all.

  • 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.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health, Mental Health, Tips

    Why is a Positive Attitude so Important?

    positive attitude

    I’m not going to lie; there have been moments in my life where I’ve been a negative person. From being convinced that I could never get my driver’s license because of my terrible parking ability to complaining about my confusing math proof assignments, I have had my fair share of frustrating experiences that I’ve let myself get far too carried away with.

    Through all these experiences, however, I have learned that negativity has never led to positive outcomes.

    Having a negative attitude has prevented me from being able to face my challenges head-on. It’s also caused others around me, like my parents, to not be as supportive because they do not appreciate the way I am choosing to handle my problems. Positivity is key to accomplishing anything good in life. Therefore, it is very important to always try to stay positive- even in times when things aren’t looking so great. Here are eight reasons why a positive attitude is so important:

    1. Energetic, Active Mind: It is a fact that people who maintain a positive attitude are more curious and aware of the world around them. These individuals can see past themselves and gain a better understanding of the way life around them operates. Therefore, they are able to be better thinkers and are more creative.
    2. Ability to Develop Meaningful Relationships: People like being around positive people. Individuals who radiate positivity are able to make themselves and others feel good about them. I always love when my friends are positive about both themselves and about others. It lets me know that they are confident and proud of who they are, and are able to appreciate others. It is a good balance, and I think this type of outlook is important for any good relationship.
    3. Better Mood: When an individual has positive thoughts, Cortisol levels decrease and the brain produces the neurotransmitter Serotonin. This helps boost mood by creating a feeling of well-being and safety. Having a good mood makes everything seems to go well. This motivates people to continue to work toward doing positive things.
    4. Better Health: People who have a positive attitude tend to have lower stress levels and other issues in their lives. They stay healthier and maintain a better sense of well-being because they see taking care of themselves and seeking out a good life that they are satisfied with as important.
    5. Better at Overcoming Obstacles: People with positive attitudes are able to view obstacles as regular parts of life that everyone goes through. A positive attitude allows individuals to overcome these difficulties in life and increases people’s ability to persevere. As the saying goes “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” True to that, having a positive attitude can help an individual face anything that comes their way with good spirit.
    6. Increased Productivity: When individuals have a positive attitude, they are able to set goals for themselves and work towards achieving them. Staying positive allows an individual to believe in themselves and their abilities, and work towards overcoming obstacles as they come. This reduces procrastination and leads to more productivity.
    7. People See You As Valuable: In today’s hyper-competitive, stressful world, nearly everyone appreciates positivity. When someone shows that they are able to stay positive in tough times, they will be considered valuable by potential employers. An employee with a positive attitude is a great asset because they can get along with others and be productive.
    8. Greater Satisfaction With Life: With positivity, people are able to appreciate themselves and the things around them better. Individuals with positive attitudes are able to take a greater amount of self-control over their lives, and they are able to live their lives the way they want. This would allow them to follow their dreams and achieve their definition of success. What is life if it’s not worth living?

    Sometimes, you need a little bit of a push to be more positive. That’s where “Perfect to Me” by Anne Marie comes in. Check out the song and instantly feel uplifted about yourself and the journey you’re going through.

  • College, Confidence, Dating, GirlSpring.com, Goals, Mental Health

    From Girl to Woman: 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I was 20

    There was something significant about the year that I turned 20 in which a lot of things clicked and finally made sense. I realized that I actually don’t know everything, and things could have gone a bit easier for me had I listened to those with my best interests in mind. Learning from one’s mistakes is a big part of life, which is why I have made a list of 10 lessons that I have already learned for you:

    !. It is O.K. to ask for what you believe that you deserve.

    It is easy to get taken advantage of when you are young and naïve. If you have a feeling that you are being treated unfairly, speak up. Whether it is by a teacher, parent, boss, friends or whoever, do not hesitate to calmly say, “I feel like I am receiving the recognition or treatment that I deserve, and here are the reasons why.” People are not always going to have your feelings or interests in mind, so do not be afraid to remind them to be considerate of you.

    2. What is on your resume is important.

    Now, colleges definitely take your GPA and standardized test scores into consideration during the application process, but your resume is what makes you stand out from the thousands of other kids that are just as much or more qualified as you are. You will have a resume that will be continuously updated for the rest of your working life. Therefore, do not hesitate to start getting involved and take advantage of the activities your school and community provide. Even if you spend your free time working, that reflects your time commitment and work ethic on your resume. College admission and jobs want to see how YOU utilize your talents and time other than schoolwork.

    3. Take care of your vehicle. Just do it.

    This may seem like a lame piece of advice, and hopefully you will not stop reading after this, but if you own a car… please take care of it. Keep up with scheduled oil changes and know what kind of gas your car uses. Little things like that will keep your car running for much longer and save you a lot of money and tears. I destroyed the transmission on my first car because I did not know that diesel fuel was only for special vehicles like semi-trucks. It was expensive and embarrassing.

    You are so lucky to even be able to own a vehicle as a teenager, so do not take it for granted ladies.

    4. Save money… seriously.

    What is obvious to some people is a lesson for the rest of us. I may have had a job of some sort since I was 16 years old, but I never saved a dime of those paychecks. Understanding monetary value came late for me, and for years I would just spend my money on every whim without thinking about how it could benefit me in the future. People are not lying when they say hindsight is 20/20. In fact, go to a bank as soon as you can and open a savings account. It takes about 20 minutes to open one and you can begin by saving 25% of every check or allowance you receive. You will thank yourself one day.

    5. Friends and family are more important than boyfriends/girlfriends. Period.

    Your first love is a great thing. Whether or not you have your first love interest during your teenage years, it is critical to remember what is actually important. Your first serious boyfriend/girlfriend/love interest is probably not going to last. Anything can happen, and who will you turn to when things go sour and you have neglected everyone else important in your life? Friends and family are the most consistent forms of relationships, even if the people who fill those roles change. Hopefully, you will always have a support system, but you are not always going to have a significant other.

    6.  Remember that you are not the center of the universe.

    Yes, it is necessary to set goals and strive towards whatever form of self-actualization you desire for yourself. Still, don’t forget that you are sharing this planet with billions of other people. Being courteous and kind to others will always set you apart from the masses. Remind yourself to ask other people how they are doing and make an effort to remember names. Send a thank you note after birthdays or holidays. Show people that you care.

    7. Don’t forget about personal hygiene please.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to avoid those who knock me off of my feet every time I’m within a 3-foot radius of them. Dirty fingernails, stinky sweat and evil breath should disappear as soon as playground days are over. There is just simply no excuse anymore unless you are being active or doing manual labor. Cleaning yourself up when you go in public is just good practice. If I am too lazy to shower (which happens more than I would like to admit) I spray in some dry shampoo in my hair, put deodorant on, brush my teeth and spritz on some perfume before walking out of the door.

    8. Now is better than later when it comes to failure.

    It is inevitable that you are going to make mistakes and experience failure. However, the way you go about these experiences is what determines self-improvement. Very few people are just handed success and happiness, and adolescence is the best time to start figuring out what you are able to do. It will benefit you more in the future if you go ahead and discover your limitations and talents. Go try out for the debate team. Who knows- maybe you are a natural-born lawyer, or maybe your talents lie elsewhere.

    9. Don’t sweat the small stuff- life is all about ups and downs.

    Every person on this planet has problems that are relevant to their own circumstances and individualism. However, try not to dwell too much on the negative. Life is supposed to suck sometimes, because that is what makes it feel so great when things are actually going right. A wise Delta agent once approached me while I was crying at the airport after a terrible day and said that “life likes to kick you in the butt one day so you can wake up stronger the next”. Then she proceeded to waive my bag fee. Even small acts of kindness like that show that good still exists in the world. Just don’t forget that life really does have a way of working out sometimes, despite how grim it may seem in the moment.

    10. Learn when it is your fault and how to admit it.

    Some people never learn how to recognize their own fault in a situation. Growth as a person stems from self-awareness. Therefore, learning from one’s own mistakes is a part of that process. People tend to blame others because it is easier than experiencing the consequences of their actions. Next time you receive a bad grade or hurt someone’s feelings, maybe stop and think about what you could have done to avoid that reaction instead of making up excuses. Once I started telling myself that I could have tried more or that joke was too far, I began to stop repeating those mistakes. Acknowledging your faults and weaknesses is the foundation of self-improvement.