25 Things You Don't Have to Justify to Anyone
1. Your job. Yes, even if you’re working something that other people condescendingly term “not a real job,” such as retail or service. If you have a job of any kind in this economy, you’ve already won.
2. Whether or not you have debt. If you managed to get out of your education debt-free, that doesn’t mean that your life is a financial walk in the park that you constantly have to be apologizing for. If you are in debt, it doesn’t mean you got a “worthless” degree and now deserve to be shamed for struggling to find work after you were convinced by your school that you were making a good decision.
3. The kind of food you enjoy eating, or why you enjoy eating. (No matter how “uncultured” or “boring” or “gross” someone else might deem your favorite food.)
4. Your decision to have children, or not have them, or to not be sure if you even want them.
5. Your dislike for marriage as an institution — and even if this one day changes, you don’t have to justify having grown as a person and moved into a new point of view. No one should be telling you “I told you so” over something as enormous as your decision to commit for life to another person.
6. Your sexuality, or your desire to experiment with it. You are allowed to have “phases” or “try things out” or be “confused,” and can take as much time as you want figuring it out.
7. Your gender presentation.
8. Your income level, and what you can and cannot afford. If you are having trouble keeping up with friends because you are not able to spend as much as them, there is no reason to risk financial ruin to try and keep up appearances.
9. Your body. The only person whom you need to talk to about with it is your doctor; everyone else can else can go kick rocks.
10. Whether or not you want to go out on a weekend night, or ten weekend nights in a row. The amount of time you spend in a bar or at a club does not directly correlate with how cool or worthy a person you are.
11. Your relationship status. If you’re single and happy, that’s great. If you’re in a relationship and happy, that’s great. If you’re either of those and not happy, you are more than allowed to be, and it’s no one’s business how you should “fix” it unless you ask them for their advice.
12. How many friends you have. One is enough. A hundred is enough. And there is no need to falsely upgrade acquaintances to “friend” status in your mind simply to fill out the ranks. A true friend is rare, and we don’t need to make it a competition for who has the most.
13. How much you drink when you go out, or if you drink at all, or why you choose not to drink if you do.
14. What kind of music you enjoy listening to.
15. What kind of an education you have or don’t have, or if you intend to go back and finish what you’ve started. If continuing your studies is something you want to do, good, but don’t be forced into saying that you want it just because it’s what people expect of you.
16. What you happen to be turned on by. If you like slash fiction, you like slash fiction. If you like people recording videos of themselves popping balloons, that’s awesome for you. It’s all good, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone, have at it.
17. Whether or not you know to cook, even if you’re a woman who “should” know how to do those things.
18. If you stay at home to raise your children, or if you hire someone to help you do so because you have a full-time career. Neither of those choices are more or less feminist, no matter what Elizabeth Wurtzel tells you.
19. How many people you have had sex with.
20. Whether or not you are a virgin, and whether or not you want to wait for marriage to lose said virginity.
21. Whether or not you believe in God, and what you think God actually is. (As long as you’re not imposing any of your beliefs on others, in which case we’d have a bit of a problem. But I trust that you’re cool and wouldn’t do that.)
22. Who you voted for and why. If you want to talk about it, you’re free to. But no one should ever make you feel like you have to tell them.
23. If you have sex on a first date, if you kiss on a first date, or if you won’t even hold hands on a first date. You’re allowed to do whatever you like when you’ve just met a new potential suitor.
24. Whether or not you choose to use dating websites.
25. Not knowing exactly what you want to be when you grow up, even if many people would already put you in the category of “grown up.” If you are considering going back to school, or changing careers, or moving, or starting a family, or doing charity work — it’s all good. And none of it has to be followed up with a longwinded explanation about why it’s a good idea and they should believe in you. If you need to justify what makes you happy to someone in your life, perhaps you should ask yourself why you even care about their opinion in the first place.
Thought catalog is my favorite
Stand naked in front of a mirror for a long time, under unflattering light if possible. Trace the rises and falls of the little ripples on your skin — the scars, the dimples, the cellulite — and think about how much you try to hide these things in your day-to-day. Wonder why you hate them so much, and if this hate stems from somewhere within yourself, or as a result of being told all your life that it’s wrong to have physical flaws. Wonder what you would think of your body if you never looked at a magazine, if you never thought about celebrities and models, if you never had to wonder where someone would rate you on a scale of 10. Look at yourself until the initial recoil softens, and you can consider your features in a more forgiving frame of mind.
Listen to the music which makes you want to both sob and dance with uninhibited joy, and allow yourself to repeat any song you want as many times as your heart desires. Think of the person you are when you have your favorite song in your headphones and are walking down a street you feel you own completely, swaying your hips and smiling for no good reason — remember how many things you love about yourself during those moments, how much you are willing to forgive in yourself, how confident you are for no good reason. Try to think of confidence as a gift you give yourself when you need it, instead of something you have to siphon from every unreliable source in your life. Dance because the music makes you remember how much you love yourself, not because it allows you to forget the fact that you don’t.
Write a list of all the things you like about yourself, even if you think it’s a self-indulgent and narcissistic activity. Start as early as you like in your life — put down that time you won a trophy playing little league soccer when you were eight and then got an extra-large shake at the DQ on the way home, and don’t feel silly for remembering it. Try to understand how many sources in your life happiness can come from, how many things you could be proud of if you chose to. Ask yourself why you so tightly limit the things you take pride in, why you set your own hurdles for happiness and fulfillment so much higher than you do with anyone else in your life. Let your list go on for pages and pages if you want it to.
Touch and care for yourself with the attention and the patience that you would someone you loved more than life itself. Rub lotion in small circles on your elbows and hands when it is cold and your skin is dry and cracked. Make soup for yourself when your nose is running and curl up, with your favorite movie, in a pile of expertly-stacked pillows. Light a few candles and let their glow flicker against your body. Admire how gentle they are, how delicately their warmth touches you — wonder why you don’t let yourself do the same. Soak your feet in warm water at the end of a long day, until they have forgiven you for walking on them for so long without so much as a “thank you.” Listen to your body when it aches to be touched, and don’t be afraid to give it every orgasm that you may have been too ashamed to ask for in someone else’s bed.
Be patient with yourself, and don’t worry if a switch doesn’t flip in you which abruptly takes you from “crippling self-doubt” to “uncompromising self-love.” Allow yourself all the trepidation and clumsy, uneven infatuation that you would with a promising stranger. Try only to be kinder, to be softer, and to remember all of the things within you which are worth loving. Listen to the voice in the back of your head which tells you, as much out of sadness as anger, “You are ugly. You are stupid. You are boring.” Give it the fleeting moment of attention it so craves, and then remind it, “Even if that were true, I’d still be worth loving.”"