If It Makes You Happy, Why Are You So Sad?

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.

A 2012 Instagram post describing a “perfect” Saturday morning.

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.

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Katelyn Stiver

Katelyn Stiver is a marketing professional at a venture development organization. She has a passion for learning, a love for online shopping and an aversion to small talk. A proud introvert, she tends to be a homebody, but will never turn down the opportunity for a good conversation (except if it’s on the phone). While she lives in Akron with her husband and adorable pup, she loves working in Cleveland and treasures her commute as it allows her uninterrupted alone time.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Yesssss!!! For me, when I became a SAHM it was Pinterest and trying to be crafty with the kids. Which. I. Hate. But I kept at it, fail after fail, because that’s what moms are supposed to do, right? Now we hit up the library, they come with me to CrossFit and we bake (really horrible looking) cakes. But boom: smiles all around!!!

    • Pinterest was another one I had to stop looking at for awhile too! I constantly had to remind myself that my body would probably never look like anyone on there nor would my house. And let’s be honest, the more horrible looking the cookie, usually the better they taste 🙂

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