When You're Finally At Peace, That's All You Need

When You're Finally At Peace, That's All You Need

I remember the sound of the roaring waves crashing against the shoreline.
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It was a beautiful summer evening, and the end of June was approaching. I found myself walking along the shore of South Carolina on a beach that was nearly empty, likely due to the fact that it was almost midnight. It had been exactly one year since I had been here. I was fresh out of high school, enjoying the summer between my senior year and my freshman year of college.

I remember it seemed as though everything was moving by so quickly - too quickly. There was a vague sense of apprehension, as well as a wild fear of the unknown as I began to count down the weeks until my first quarter began. I knew nothing of what would be coming my way as I finally ventured off into the real world, ready to engage in a full sense of independence and begin living my own life.

Throughout this process that seemed to drag on for an eternity, I noticed that I was seldom at peace. I was constantly out enjoying myself, trying to make the most of the time I had left before everything would change. Even in the moments where I was the happiest, the thought of this new lifestyle would often creep into the back of my mind and dissolve it. Looking back on things from my present point of view, I would never have expected to be as pleased with the outcome of my situation as I am.

I wish, in a sense, that I could go back to this day, to this location, and tell myself that things were going to fall into place.

I could not sleep, so I had hoped that a stroll through the sand would relax me. I remember the sound of the roaring waves crashing against the shoreline, with the faint smell of a bonfire wafting through the air. I also remember how much I had wanted to be alone in that moment, and for the first time in what seemed to be the longest of times, I was alone. I was completely alone with my thoughts.

I walked down this beach for what felt like miles. I lost track of time as I focused on the sound of the waves, losing myself in every collision. All that I do know is that this was the moment where I found what I had been longing for. I stood in that ocean, watching the glare of the moon shine down upon it, and I did nothing but think. I let every fear and inhibition race through my mind as I gazed out into that vast body of water, letting its beauty overtake me through every worry or concern.

There was something so utterly calming and peaceful about this experience that I could never describe it to the fullest extent.

It was then that I backed away from that magnificent ocean, taking a glance back, and I began to walk away.

Ahead in the distance were a cluster of rocks, and I soon found myself climbing atop them, positioning myself so that I was once again facing the water. I placed my bag down next to me, and I whipped out my notebook, writing down everything that I saw, everything that I felt, everything that I was experiencing.

It was on this empty beach in South Carolina that I gained a sense of the inner-peace that I had so desperately been seeking. I had the slightest idea of what my future held, or the obstacles could have potentially crossed my path. Yet, in that moment, it did not matter. Nothing mattered. For I was finally at peace, and that was all that I needed.

I wish, in a sense, that I could go back to this day, to this location, and tell myself that things were going to fall into place.

Cover Image Credit: Glen Jackson

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Don't Have To Wear Makeup To Be Beautiful

You don't have to, either.

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For about as long as modern makeup/cosmetics/skincare brands have been around, the notion that women have to use any of these cosmetic products to be considered "beautiful" has also been around.

(If you've read my earlier article about red lipstick giving me my confidence back, you would know that I absolutely adore certain skincare/makeup products.)

However, I personally don't believe that I need to wear any kind of makeup to be considered "beautiful." And you don't, either.

I think that we, as a society, have seriously overvalued aesthetic beauty and undervalued the beauty that comes from being a decent, honest, genuine, and kind person. I believe that while makeup has an incredible and transformation-giving effect on women, (and men too, just for the record), that none of us honestly should depend on x, y, and z products to make us feel that we are beautiful, or that our self worth and sense of self should be tied up in how many likes a selfie of us in a full face of makeup get.

And quite frankly, there is so much to love about our makeup free, naturally glowing skin that so many of us hide, simply because society would love to tell us that we're not beautiful, or pretty, or worth very much at all if we don't use [insert new trendy skincare product here].

Well, excuse my French, but I'm calling bull.

It's not okay for any of us to think of ourselves as less than, simply because we're not following those crazy and crappy societal trends. In a culture where "Instagram perfect" pictures are the ideal that every woman, or man, is expected to look up to, I'd say it's pretty revolutionary to dare to bare a fresh-faced look.

No one has to ever feel the need to compulsively put on makeup to be considered "beautiful."

Because, in all reality, makeup can't measure the kind of person you are.

Makeup/skincare products can't measure your kindness, your generosity, your bravery in the face of adversity, or any other kickass quality that you might have. Makeup can't do that; only what's inside of you, if brought out for the world to see, can do that. And yes, I'm well aware of how cliché and "junior high preachy" that sounds.

So, I hope this article will possibly spark some introspective thoughts on what beauty means to you. I hope you start to think about the fact that who you are as a person is not defined by how "attractive" or "beautiful" someone else might tell you you are.

You define who you are as a person, nobody else has that power.

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