Like most young women, I used to devour women’s magazines. Glamour, Lucky, SELF, Shape, Marie Claire, InStyle, Vogue, US Weekly, People – you name it, I probably read or subscribed to it.
I would happily spend Saturday and Sunday mornings reading these magazines cover to cover. With each new issue came the possibility that I would read an article that would change my life. I would find the workout that would transform my body. The lipstick that would make my mouth more enticing. The dress that would make it look like I lost 10 lbs. Every month, I might just find the key to my boosting my confidence and finding my happiness.
But I didn’t. I tried yoga and barre. I bought expensive workout clothes and complicated recipe books. I spent money on clothes and makeup that were never going to work for me. And I continued to feel insecure.
I constantly compared myself to who was in magazine or on a blog. I blamed myself for when the latest trends didn’t look good on me or didn’t make me happy. I continued to shell out money not only for the magazines, but also for the products and trends they were promising would change my life.
I didn’t connect my inability to be overcome my insecurities with continuing to read magazines and blogs. They promised me confidence and happiness – and damn it, I was going to get it!
At some point, it clicked. I realized that I couldn’t look to others to help find the happiness and fulfillment that I was so desperately craving. I had to discover it for myself. I had to be ok with what made me happy, even if it wasn’t what was popular or it made someone else feel confident.
I unsubscribed from everything and started to form my own opinions. I found that:
- I really hate yoga and barre. They do nothing for me. What does? CrossFit. Walking in the park.
- Wearing bright red lips makes uncomfortable. Neutral or pink lips are what make me feel beautiful.
- I still love shopping and trying new clothes. But given my busty chest and curvy butt, there are just some trends that will not make me feel confident (ehem, crop tops).
- I really don’t care what Jennifer Aniston eats for lunch. Her body is not mine. What works for her will not work for me.
To sum it up: I got to truly know myself. I stopped comparing myself to everyone else and became secure with who I was and what worked for me.
This doesn’t mean I hate women’s magazines or blogs or that I’m advising that everyone stop reading them. Everyone reads them for different reasons – to discover new trends or as a fun way to pass the time.
But for me, they hindered my self-discovery. They made me feel inferior. Once I realized that they weren’t the authority on what would make me happy, my perspective changed. My life changed. I took control of my happiness, and I’ve never looked back.