Why I’m leaving my insecurities in 2016

Normally, I’d be the first person to say that New Year’s resolutions are pointless. Why should another turn of the earth around the sun change who you are as a person, or how much you exercise, or whether or not you’re allowed to eat a bar of chocolate? This year’s no different from the last, so why the need to make any great change? You can start a resolution at any time of year, you don’t need to start being nice to people or eating better just because another year has passed.

And really, it doesn’t matter when you decide to make that positive change in your life, whether it’s a rainy September afternoon at home, or the turn of the New Year, surrounded by celebrations. But for me, 2017 just felt like the right time. It’s my last year at college, my first year at university and I learned a lot of things in 2016 that I wanted to carry with me into 2017. However, there’s one thing that I’ve decided to leave behind – insecurity.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been insecure, whether it’s about the way that I look, the way my voice sounds, my talents, my relationship or anything in between. And it’s caused so many problems not just within my friendships and relationships, but also just within myself. It’s exhausting to always worry about what other people think and whether or not people are being honest with you.

And it’s taken me up until now to realise that the majority of my insecurities stem purely from off-hand comments that somebody has made to me, some even going back to primary school. And while to them it may only have been a passing comment for them, I have carried them with me for years. “You look weird with your hair tied up”, “she has a great body but her face doesn’t suit it”, “your boyfriend’s probably cheating on you”, “your voice is boring”, “girls don’t have body hair”.

All of those comments adding up to a swirling mass of insecurity that lasted for years.But when I thought about it – what did any of those people really mean to me? The only people that had ever made these sorts of comments were friends of friends or people that I only had to see a few times a week because we went to the same school. Why should their insubstantial comments and snide remarks affect how I felt about myself, when in my mind they themselves were little more than names to attach to derogatory words?

I spent so long wishing that I could be other people, unable to see the things in them that so many other people seemed to see in me. They didn’t have weird hands, or messy hair. They didn’t have bushy eyebrows or ill-fitting clothes that didn’t suit them. People didn’t criticise them or make comments that made them feel insecure. Or so I thought.

But in reality, everybody gets criticsed and everybody has things said about them that are hurtful or embarrassing. However, it’s where you choose to go from there that’s important.

Because when you think about how well those people really know you, how much does a passing comment from them really mean?

Although its going to be hard, my new year’s resolution is to shed the insecurities that have held me back for so long. I’ll wear a cute dress every day if I want to, whether it suits me or not. I’ll wear my hair tied up if I want to. I’ll remember that my boyfriend loves me, and that our relationship is our own and not up for the debate of anyone else.

And I’ll do whatever the hell I want to do, without worrying about what others will think. Because despite the past, I love the person that I’ve become. I’ve learned to embrace my body and the way it looks, I’m comfortable in my abilities and happy with my relationship. So why should anyone else make me feel any different?