Being beautifully true to who you are

Madelyn Merriam, Volunteer Writer

 The other day, I was casually sitting in Mane Market, pondering on what I should write for this article: relationships in college; homework; studying; foggy water coming out of my dorm sink, help? More homework; being tired all of the time; food (I’m so hungry); the water is still so foggy; never-ending homework; should I spend all of my money on a life supply of cookie dough?

I realized that life as a college student is hard and there are so many options for an article like this, and I should really get a water filter. As I was helplessly contemplating, I overheard a conversation that struck me. There were two girls sitting next to me, and they seemed to be having an intense conversation. 

“I don’t think it’s okay to not be okay,” one of them said. The other shrugged. 

“Maybe,” she responded. She seemed unsure how to feel, which I think many people can relate to. These strangers made me wonder two things: (1) Is it okay to not be okay? And (2) Why does everyone always have the most intriguing conversations in Mane Market?

Nevertheless, mental health is so important, especially in college, when we have so many expectations and pressures breathing on the back of our necks constantly. Sometimes, I wish I could turn around and give those anxieties a dirty look so they know that my neck isn’t for breathing on. But in life, we can’t ever simply tell our problems to “go away.” We must work towards accepting them and overcoming them. 

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my life is the importance of self-love and self-worth. When we learn to love ourselves, we truly can accomplish anything. Ultimately, self-worth gives more meaning and more value to everything we do, even the small, simple things. 

It isn’t easy to love who we are though, and it takes a lot of time, and usually a lot of struggle, to get there. I think I realized my worth after going through a hard breakup in high school. I remember thinking, “how could I ever let someone treat me that way?” 

In college, we are constantly surrounded by people with similar values and opinions, but we can easily get tangled with people who may not fit under that umbrella. If we continue to involve ourselves with these people, the rain will eventually hit our shoulders. 

With every new person in our life comes the question, “are they treating me the way I feel I should be treated?” This is an important question to ask ourselves when reflecting on who we are and who we want to become. Growing up, my teachers always told me that in the future, we become who our friends are, so we need to surround ourselves with people who inspire us and encourage us to be the best version of ourselves. This is an important step to self-love. How are we going to love ourselves if we don’t surround ourselves with people who love us?

I hope I run into those strangers again someday so I can tell them that it is okay to struggle. It is okay to be sad. Every emotion is beautifully true to who we are, and to learn our self-worth, we must accept them.

It is also important to spend some time alone. It can be scary to be alone with your thoughts, but it makes all the difference. We need to know who we are and who we want to be, and we cannot accomplish this without a bit of introspection. 

I admit, there are times when I struggle feeling confident and good about who I am, but that is a good thing. We must challenge ourselves every day or change will never take place. Go out of your comfort zone, buy a water filter for your foggy sink water, eat cookie dough until you drop. Whatever it is, do it for yourself, because you are worth it. 

Know that you deserve all that you’ve accomplished and that you’re worth the struggle. Everything you have ever done in your entire life has led up to this moment, so what are you waiting for? Love yourself.