Celebrate your uniqueness

Lugging my HUGE suitcase across the London Underground on my travels home from university, I recall sitting on a platform watching hundreds of people flooding in and out of the tube. I remember noticing many slim, beautifully-dressed women and I was suddenly overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety and insecurity. It was on this day that I made the decision to change tomorrow and the future me.

As a girl leaving student life and entering the adult world, I’m all too aware of the months and years I’ve wasted wishing I was, or looked like, someone else – forgetting how insanely unique, precious and gifted I am. I’d spend time with my crazy, hilarious sisters wishing I could make people laugh like they did. I would chat for hours on the phone with my super generous, kind-spirited childhood friend wishing I could have a heart for others like she did. I would watch my confident, joyful best pal who always had a spring in her step wishing I could have as many friends as she did. I became anxious in large groups of people feeling the pressure to be like others and I found myself suppressing all the beautiful, unique parts of my own personality out of fear I wasn’t enough for others. Wow, if only I could talk to my 14-year-old self now and give her the freedom, zest for life and joy that I feel now, knowing that I’m crazy, confident, kind-hearted and ENOUGH.

It’s not easy when the world tells us that success is being wealthy and well-known, that being beautiful is being slim and spot free and that being happy is having both success and beauty. It’s hard but it’s easier than you think. Wherever you are right now, whatever you’ve planned for tomorrow, whoever you’re sitting next to, you’re in control of what you spend your time thinking about.

It begins by understanding that we’re given 86,400 precious seconds in a day to be the best version of ourselves that we can be, without letting comparisons rob us of this time. We’re unique, incomparable and always amazingly different to the people around us. By learning to love ourselves we’re free and bold enough to be and do the things we love.

There are no set rules for loving who you are and not comparing yourself to other people but it starts by realising your smallest of talents and largest of gifts. Write them down, stick them on your mirror, remind yourself of them every morning and run with full speed at using them.

By focusing on the positives, you’ll be reminded that you’ll always be brilliant you and that like everyone else you’re not polished and perfect. Understand that no one is sorted and that by encouraging others instead of competing or comparing, you’ll feel more comfortable in who you are and will love the differences you see around you.

When you next find yourself comparing who you are or what you look like you’ll feel sadness and hurt. Kick those thoughts out and remind yourself of the precious you that’s like no other. You’ll love yourself, others, and life so much more.

Written by Hannah Stannard

I’m a third year student at the
University of Sheffield studying Psychology.
I love camping, being by the beach
and pretending I’m a professional backing dancer


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