Walking down the halls of middle school can leave us feeling a little anxious sometimes. Us girls can get lost in comparing ourselves to peers and before we know it, we can overthink our body image. Some girls mature faster than others and while we realize this is perfectly normal, we still beat ourselves up for not looking like we think we should. When we read those words out loud, it does seem a little dramatic. Well, what SHOULD we look like anyway? The answer is pretty simple...we should look like our original best self that will go through expected changes over time. Unfortunately, that is not an easy answer and because girls are pretty judgmental of each other, this "drama" causes us to be hypersensitive to our bodies during our most changing years.
It's super normal to wonder "Why are her breasts bigger than mine?" UGH, is that a zit on my chin?" When will I get my period?"
See what we are doing? We are looking to our peers and rating ourselves based on differences we cannot control. This mindset can quickly become toxic and cause way more unnecessary stress! How do we rid ourselves of this awful mindset? While there is no sure cure, I've got some ideas that might help.
Think about popcorn! All the kernels go into the hot oil. Some pop right away and others take their time but in the end they all pop. Some kernels are larger than others but they are still awesome! There will be girls who seem like they look older or are more developed. I was always short and I used to say my body looked like a 12 year old boy. There are certain things we cannot control. When we have the confidence to let it go and love ourselves, life gets easier.
Some things we CAN change. If you are feeling like you could lose a few pounds, do it! Try walking or take up jogging or ride your bike. Get moving!! You'll feel better and anytime we can work towards a goal that gives us a higher self-esteem, I say YES YES YES! Eat healthier when you can and grab a BFF to go on the journey with you, if that helps you to stay motivated and held accountable. Once you get going, you'll be so glad you did. That being said, always make sure you consult with a trusted adult or a doctor about your goals. The most important thing is your health - both mental and physical. Make sure you are educated on how to reach your goals while still keeping your health in check.
Change can be awesome and rewarding but ONLY if we do it for the right reasons. Think about all the time (hours, days, weeks...) girls spend trying to look and act like someone else. It's pretty mind boggling...right? Create change for YOU. I cannot stress this enough. Trust me, others are not microscopically looking at you all the time (even though it may feel like it) and those that matter will never exclude you for your body image.
One more thing. In a few years you will look back and realize all the judgement, drama, and stress only got in the way of having fun, making awesome memories and staying grounded by hanging out with like-minded peers. When I was in high school, I created Girls Above Society and some of my friends, or who I thought were real friends, judged me for working towards a goal. Some even said things like, "Why are you wasting your time on something that lame?" It stung, not going to lie, but I am SO glad that I kept going and didn't allow the negative judgement to stop me from creating change.
In all honesty, I spent a lot of time trying to fit in and look like the popular girls, and I did my fair share of feeling like I wasn’t good enough. Looking back, I'd love to take that time back and fill it up with better friends, more time loving myself, and even more time kicking butt at anything I put my mind towards. The world truly is your oyster, so go out there and be YOUR best, not everyone else's best. XOXO Lauren