Don’t get me wrong, I love makeup. I am one of those girls that gets super excited if I get a Sephora gift card for my birthday and I am addicted to watching makeup tutorials on Instagram and YouTube. Not only that, but I love buying new products and trying them out and I love the whole process of putting on makeup.

However, I went down an unhealthy path with my makeup routine that I believe many girls go down. I started to wear makeup not because I genuinely enjoyed the process of putting it on, but because I began to prefer myself with it on my face. I began to convince myself that I was more beautiful with makeup on and that I needed it every time I left my house.

My unhealthy relationship with makeup made me question my true beauty from my sophomore year of high school all the way to senior year graduation. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I would rather get a late pass for first period than to go to school with no makeup on.” At the time, I didn’t realize how sad of a thought that was. What it even more upsetting is the idea that so many girls go through these exact same feelings. So many girls feel like they need makeup because without it they do not look like the Instagram models we all scroll past every day. This mentality is what shifts the perception of ourselves in our minds.

We begin to look for compliments about our contour and red lip, rather than our freckles and natural rosy cheeks. We begin to add more and more products to our makeup routine because now the 7 products we used before are simply not enough. We begin to apologize for how we look if we ended up not having enough time to put makeup on before an event. And by we, I mean me. I did all those things because I felt like my natural beauty was not enough. What is crazy is that no one has ever told any of this to me; this is all what I had been telling myself. Perhaps this is the root to the issue.

As humans, we are extremely hard on ourselves. We make ourselves believe that we need to change how we look and dress and act to make ourselves feel better. This may be why our close friends are often the people in our life telling us that we are perfect while we spend all our time convincing them why we aren’t. To be happy in life, sometimes you just have to let all that negativity towards yourself go. That’s what I had to do when it came to makeup.

Instead of constantly picking apart what I didn’t like about my face and finding the solution for that with makeup, I decided to embrace those imperfections. How you may ask? I started to internalize the compliments my friends and family gave to me. Instead of brushing them off like they were too good to be true, I embraced them. This simple lifestyle change made me not only begin to love myself for how I am naturally, but also made me go throughout my day with more confidence.

If there is one thing that I have learned from my journey to embrace myself naturally it is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing makeup. In fact, I still love it just as much. The key is that I now know that I do not need it to feel beautiful. I know that I don’t need it to feel confident. And I am honestly really proud of that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suddenly one of those people who is 100% secure in who I am because I believe that those types of people are few and far between. Accepting myself is a daily journey; one in which I sometimes I have good days and sometimes have bad ones too. I say this to simply emphasize that whether your insecurity is makeup or something completely different, self-improvement is a battle you are forced to fight alone. And although difficult, I urge you keep fighting that voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t pretty enough or smart enough or skinny enough. That voice doesn’t matter because, in the end, you are only what you allow yourself to believe you are. So stop listening to that negative voice in your head! You are beautiful, you are intelligence, and you are strong enough to keep fighting that insecurity, no matter how many times it tries to get you down.