For Yourself & Others
Weekly advice column, Hosted by Sofia Sperling.
Sofia is a psychology student, and self love & women’s rights advocate. She has been sharing her own struggles with depression and anxiety openly on her platforms for years in order to remind people that they are not alone, and to fight stigmas of mental illness.
Jealousy is a huge issue for me, I always experience it with my best friend when she's out with other friends or showing them her love. I understand why I shouldn't be jealous, but I just can't help feeling it.
Jealousy is such an ugly emotion, but it is also one that is very hard to beat. Keep in mind you need to learn to not to compare yourself to anyone. Whether it is someone on your Instagram feed, or a friend of a friend, or your ex's new girlfriend. There is no one like you, and there is no way anyone could have the same relationship that they have with you, with anyone else.
Specifically with this situation, whenever you feel yourself getting jealous, recognize that emotion and take a step back. Remind yourself that you have a beautiful relationship that isn’t hindered by their relationship with anyone else. Recognizing is the first step to eliminating these negative responses, then all you have to do is talk yourself out of them, and soon they will stop occurring as much, or it’ll be easier to shut them up. Remind yourself of the beauty and uniqueness of your relationship and how it is selfish to be jealous of others receiving love.
Um, with shaving down there, or waxing or whatever .... do you? That might be too personal. But I guess my whole life I've always been sure I wouldn't, and as I got older I've been bombarded with movies and advertising and books and more that all treat it as normal and expected. It's made me really self conscious and now I'm at a time where I have to make a decision. What are your experiences with this?
I have let my hair grow down there but for a long time I didn’t. I too felt pressured to be hairless from head to toe, like a lot of people do, but your hair grows down there for a reason! I believe it’s best to stay natural (but that is only my opinion). Getting to this point did not come easily, however. The struggle for me began in middle school as other girls seems to be less hairy than me and I felt embarrassed for having dark hair on my body.
I don’t remember when I began growing pubic hair, but I do remember hating how dark and thick and far out it was. Personally, my pubic hair goes inches down my legs, and it has always been a big insecurity to me. And so I’ve shaved, naired, waxed, and even lasered my body hair. I’ve spent so much time and money on trying to rid myself of some little hairs, which I realize now are just a part of me. I let all my hair grow out now and only get a rid of it if it’s making me uncomfortable - like during the summer my armpits get really itchy if they’re hairy.
Of course, it sucks that I have long thick dark hair, but why? Just because societal norms tell you to do something doesn’t mean you have to. If it makes you feel better to shave or eliminate your hair then do so, if not then don’t! Don’t base your decision off anyone else’s opinion then your own. Maybe shave once and see if you like it, and if not it’ll grow back.
Some people feel more clean without long hair. Some people prefer to be natural. One isn’t better or worse. It is really up to your personal preferences. And you don’t have to know what your preferences are yet, they can change overtime.
I’m 15 years old and one of my best friends that I’ve known since I was five always says she’s fat, ugly (which she’s not of course) and always is being very negative towards everything. She hates when her parents try to help her or show affection towards her. I try to help her and show her that she’s not ugly or fat and that she’s a beautiful human and that she should be positive, but she always argues with me and just keeps saying all these negative things about her self. How do I help her?
If you are being the supportive friend you say you are then there is nothing more you can do. It is hard to see a friend suffer in such ways, but ultimately it is up to her to help herself. You seem to be doing everything right, reminding her of the beauty that she is, but sometimes it is not enough, because a person is stuck in a negative mindset and cannot see what others see in them. Being a young teenager is a time full of angst and self-loathing for most, and sometimes frustration only occurs when someone is trying to help. Just stick by her side and try and show her the positives in life around her and in her, and keep being the beautiful friend you are, but don’t let it drain you. As I said there is only so much you can do for someone, the rest is up to them, so don’t sacrifice your happiness to try and help her.
Ask her why she feels that way. Give her your understanding as opposed to your skepticism and positivity. Sometimes when you’re in a cynical mindset, people telling you how to feel makes things worse because feeling that was may seem unfathomable. After she explains herself you should comfort her the way you are, apologizing for her feeling such a way and telling her how beautiful she is to you in depth.
Other than that, just try to be a positive light in her life. You seem to be a very good friend to her, even if she doesn’t recognize it and that’s very admirable.
Where can I find inspiration when I'm choked up by all the things I have to do and barely have any free time? How can I be creative (take photos, draw ,ect.) when I don't have much time to put into it all?
Sometimes life is busy and we don’t have time for the things we want to do, but it is important to secure time for the things in life which make you happy. We often get caught up doing things we feel we have to do, while neglecting the things that we want to do, but you must find balance between these things or you will become dull and depressed.
I often find myself forgetting to express myself creatively, do to my schoolwork and other obligations, but my mental health is my priority, and being creative helps me to stay stable. It is extremely important to make time for yourself to explore your interests and express yourself, even if it’s only for an hour a week. Maybe sacrifice hanging with your friends as much to focus on your arts, or even have a get together and just paint all together.
Inspiration is all around you, you just need to let yourself feel it and see it. Inspiration comes from your everyday life, but don’t pressure yourself into finding it, because it is often lost when we are on a search. Don’t force yourself into a creative mindset, let it flow and form as it comes. Sometimes I get frustrated because I want to paint but am lacking ideas, and so I leave it and come back when I’m feeling inspired.
I think the best thing to do, especially if you’re really busy is to make sure to always have a notebook/journal on you at all times. Whether you’re on the bus or in the middle of class, if something sparks an idea, at least you have a solid place to write it down, even if you can’t execute it at that time. Take lots of walks. I find the best inspiration comes to me when I am alone walking through nature, or even my neighborhood. Sit in a park and breathe the fresh air and just jot down anything that comes to mind. If you are ever lacking inspiration, give yourself the space and serenity to find it.
***You have compete anonymity when sending questions to sofia, but if we hear that you are planing on hurting yourself or someone else, we are mandatory reporters. Please note that this advice column is not a substitute for professional help. If you are facing serious family, personal, or mental issues, seek direct help***
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