How to Be the Real You

You - by Max Barners
You – by Max Barners


Until recently, I didn’t really feel like I was truly myself 100 percent of the time. At school, I felt like I was trying to fit into some kind of mold or stereotype that most of my friends, or people who I thought were my friends, fit into. I was so fixated on being who they were, not who I really was. I always thought they were so much happier than I was, so much more “popular” than me, and had so many more friends than me.

Every morning, I would wake up and get dressed. Instead of wearing what I knew I would be comfortable in, I would put on clothes similar to what “my friends” would wear every day. When I got to school, it was like I was a different person. I didn’t talk to people about what I was really interested in, I didn’t act like the person I really was. The moment when I realized I wasn’t and hadn’t been the person I knew I really was when I began to realize I was not really friends with the people I had been hanging around for the past three or four years-and that was okay-people change, especially in high school. However, I decided it was time that I deserved to be myself all the time, even at school.

Even though it was sad for me to lose some of my oldest friends, the liberation and freedom I felt to finally be able to feel like myself is indescribable – and the people I am friends with now are much more like I am than the people I thought I was friends with in the past. Now, I wake up for school, and I get dressed in whatever I feel like wearing for the day. I get to school, and I feel comfortable talking about what I am interested in, and walk around more confident than I was before. I didn’t realize how unhappy I was before until now, because I am so much happier and relaxed now. Before, I always felt like I was being judged by my friends; I was being judged for what I wore, how I looked, or how I acted. It turned out that I was my harshest critic, and I was judging myself for being someone I knew I wasn’t.

My advice for you is: don’t try to be someone else. It doesn’t matter if you think they seem happier, prettier, smarter or funnier. This goes for life in general – always put yourself first. Do what makes you happy, wear what you feel good in, be interested in subjects and books and music that you enjoy! Don’t get caught up feeling like everyone is better than you because they have or are things that you aren’t-you are the best person you can be because you are unique, special, and you!

– by Julieta, 15 years old



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