When You Start Living For Yourself, Everything In Your Life Becomes Clear

When You Start Living For Yourself, Everything In Your Life Becomes Clear

Be the happiest version of yourself.

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The short time I've spent in college has brought me to many realizations about myself. Most importantly, I have realized how important it is for me to make myself a priority in this stage of my life. While creating this mindset for myself is a work in progress, I've identified a few of the key aspects that bring me closer to making myself my first priority.

When I am living for myself, I am present in the moment.

"Live in the moment" may be a cliché phrase, but for someone with an over-active mind like mine, something that seems so simple can prove to be quite an obstacle when it comes to personal contentedness. No one said it better than John Green in my favorite book, "Looking for Alaska."

"Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia."
"You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present."

While it is essential to plan for the future and set goals for yourself, there should be a mental balance between seeking a fulfilling life and appreciating the life that you are living right now. On the flip side, overanalyzing the past can be just as detrimental as living solely for the future. Learn from the past and use it to your benefit, but don't let it define you or consume your thoughts.

I am emotionally authentic to myself.

Too often I find myself diminishing my emotions because of a fear of a lack of acceptance. It's okay to feel in extremes. It's okay to be upset over something that other people may view as unreasonable, just as it is okay to be extremely passionate about something that someone else may find uninteresting. If you don't allow yourself to feel fully, it is hard to understand yourself and grow from your experiences. You owe it to yourself to acknowledge how you are feeling. Being happy shouldn't be something you have to convince yourself of, and it's hard to be genuinely happy when you are suppressing your true state of mind.

I've come to realize that other people should complement my life, not complete it.

When you make yourself your first priority, everything else can sort of fall into place. Other people are meant to complement your life, not control your happiness. Basically, I decided to stop waiting around from someone to come along and make me happy. Constantly seeking the head-over-heels romantic relationship or the picture-perfect group of friends is no way to live. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't appreciate all of the incredible people in my life, because I do, but I think that it is important to have a sense of self-stability and realize that while relationships can enhance your life in unbelievable ways, your foundation for happiness should not be built upon other people, but on the sustainability that you have created for yourself. People come and go in life and it's not the end of the world unless you make it that way.

I'm trying my hardest to letting others determine how I spend my time or how I feel about myself.

College is the perfect time to be completely selfish with how you spend your time. We only get so much free time to do things that we are passionate about so it's important to take the time to evaluate what is most important to you and put your time dedicated to things and people that you care about the most. Your time should not be spent pleasing people or comparing yourself to others. Today's society makes it practically impossible to avoid comparing your life to everyone else's lives when every move is displayed online. As someone who partakes in these platforms religiously, I've come to realize that there is a big difference between sharing parts of my life that I care about and doing things just to share them. As hard as it may be to ignore, the lifestyle of someone else should never diminish or heighten the happiness we feel toward our own lives.

Ultimately, I've come to accept that while there are many things that I don't have control over in my life, one thing that I do have control over is my state of mind.

As I said before, trying to live with this mindset is a work in progress, but I've found that being more conscious of how I'm feeling and reevaluating my priorities has the potential for great reward. College is the perfect time for self-awareness and growth, which can be accomplished by acknowledging your importance and living life for you.

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13 Summer Struggles Only Thick Girls Understand

Chafing. So much chafing.

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Summer is a lovely time. A time of cookouts, swimming, and sunny weather. But if you're a " thick girl," summer sometimes brings more unpleasantries than it does for slimmer women. No matter how beautiful and confident you are in your body, it can bring some struggles.

1. The living hell that is shorts-shopping

Step 1: Find the biggest size the store has.

Step 2: (If you can even get those on): Realize your stomach is being squeezed into the top, your butt is falling out of the back and your thighs are having the life squished out of them.

Step 3: Realize why winter isn't so bad.

2. And dealing with them even after finding a pair that "fits"

Nothing like taking a pair of shorts home you remember fitting you okay in the store and then walking for 45 seconds and pulling them out of your butt or crotch 17 times. Truly a magical experience.

3. And every bathing suit you try on shows more skin than you'd planned

Even the most conservative bathing suit turns into cleavage-city and a non-cheeky set of bottoms turns into a thong. I promise, older people glaring at me in my sexual bathing suit, I didn't mean for this to happen!

4. Chafing. So much chafing.

No better feeling than four minutes into wearing short shorts realizing that your inner thighs are literally tearing themselves apart. Body Glide and baby powder are a thick girl's No. 1 necessity.

5. Loving rompers. Rompers not loving you.

Rompers are made with short and skinny girls in mind. Heaven forbid you're not short, and heaven forbid you're not skinny. Rompers are like a mystical article of clothing that, no matter what, always just barely doesn't fit.

6. Imagining wearing a sundress with a strapless bra and just laughing

Of course, not all thick girls are well-endowed in the boob department, but if you are, you understand how hilarious the thought of you wearing a strapless bra truly is.

7. And bralettes are a thing of fantasy

Once again, bralettes are designed for a very specific body type. One that I do not fall into.

8. Feeling like you need to constantly defend yourself for dressing like you want to

There are so many posts and tweets and just general ideals that people have that certain sized women can't wear certain clothing. You shouldn't feel the need to defend yourself for wearing a cute crop top or a bikini, but you will.

9. And always feeling looked at when you're rocking your swimsuit

Yes, I see your judging eyes, and yes, they are making me feel like shit. It doesn't matter how confident you are in your body, people looking at you like you just killed somebody just because you're wearing something typically made for smaller women doesn't make you feel good.

10. Did I mention chafing?

I just felt like something so horrible couldn't just be mentioned once.

11. Online shopping for cute summer outfits and then none of them fitting you correctly

There's always the dreaded "one-size-fits-all" for plus-size women. As if there's just one way to be plus-size. No matter how much they promise online that it'll fit well, it won't.

12. Seeing tiny girls complaining about losing their "summer bodies"

So many tweets talking about choosing food over a summer body. So many profile pictures of traditionally skinny women. I'm not saying that thick girls are the only ones who can complain about their summer bodies, and thick girls do not have a monopoly one not feeling confident in their bodies. But it is hard to see those posts knowing that those women would be glorified in their swimwear while you'd be gawked at.

13. The "you go girl!" comments on your oh-so-brave bikini photos

Compliments are nice, and positive comments while wearing a bikini go a long way. But the dreaded "you go girl" comment just seems so condescending. Just treat me like anyone else you'd see wearing a bikini. I promise, I'd like to feel like that.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Personal Space Is More Important Than Socializing

Stop pretending you don't need a break from your friends (and life).

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Firstly, I would like to say that FOMO is a very real thing.

For those born in the prehistoric era, that means 'fear of missing out'. It's something that definitely came with the age of technology, and the tendency for everyone to post the best aspects of their social lives in an attempt to prove they have one (don't stress, I'm the biggest culprit). It's also something that's potentially destroying our ability to prioritize our need for time alone.

I feel like we're all in a competition to be the most social person in our social media bubbles. I'm sure you can agree there's that pressure lurking every time you do something fun to whip out your phone and make sure you take a snap of it, to prove you actually did something with your day other than binge watch David Dobrik vlogs.

Even when the aspect of social media is removed, FOMO still hangs around. Sometimes I just don't want to go out. I don't want to get out of bed, to get dressed, brush my hair. Sometimes I simply don't want to socialize — small talk is exhausting! But yet, I get that feeling like I really should go out and see people, like I'm not spending my time wisely unless I'm soaking up every chance I get to hang out with friends. It's almost as if everyone thinks your life isn't of value if it isn't spent being around others, and I do agree with this — to an extent.

Before leaving for Alabama, the number one piece of advice I heard over and over was, "say yes to everything!" I was then usually told to make friends with as many people as I could, maybe even say hi to strangers once in a while! Anyone who had been on exchange previously recommended that I immerse myself in every experience that presented itself to me. After all, their favorite memories involved making new, unexpected friends.

I still strongly stand by this idea — I wouldn't have had half the experiences I've had so far if it weren't for this Yes Man mentality. However, I am now past halfway, and all I can say is I'm absolutely knackered. I'm all socialized-out! After being in the company of at least one other person every… single… minute… (I have a roommate) for the last 11 weeks, I can confidently say I've had enough. If I carry on this way, forcing myself to attend any and all outings, I quite possibly could implode… or at least want to crawl under a rock and never talk to anyone again (nearly at this stage already).

One thing I didn't realize until recently is just how much downtime I have to myself at home. Sure, I work or go to Uni most days, and I see my friends as much as possible. I also have my scheduled 6 p.m. family dinner followed by one-hour gossip session with mum each night. But at the end of each day, I would snuggle up in my big queen bed that I had all to myself (I'm single, thanks for reminding me) and finally feel relaxed. That was my designated time to myself that I could look forward to each day. Some nights I just put music on and lay down for hours doing absolutely nothing. That was the point though, I didn't have to do anything, and I didn't have anyone else to worry about.

Now, I might be lucky to get 10 minutes alone each day while I take a shower. Even then, my roommate occasionally drops in to go to the bathroom, and the thin shower curtain is the only thing standing between myself and a mental breakdown. Sometimes I want to hide behind that curtain all day. My happy place is now the small square corner of my bathroom, how sad is that?

I think the notion of spending time alone is severely underrated. Why have we created an idea that it's not OK to want to be alone every now and then? Why do we have to constantly be pushing ourselves to reach out to others and put ourselves out there? I absolutely love meeting new people and making new friends! But you know what else I love? Sitting on the couch with a hot Milo, binge-watching David Dobrik vlogs. So sue me! I think finding time to think about yourself only is just as essential for mental stability as surrounding yourself with friends and family.

After this experience, I know I will never feel ashamed to admit that I am going to miss out on doing something with my friends in order to be alone. It's literally the only thing that keeps me sane! (Can you tell I'm already going a little insane?)

I can now finally understand why mum used to be so happy when the school holidays were over. It's not that she didn't love us, she just valued her personal space! What a smart little lady!

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