Photo: Jody Hong Films

How To Stop Being A “Chill Girl” And Start Being You

News flash: It's cool to not be cool.


Being the “chill girl” is the same as being the flawless girl. Picture this: you roll out of bed each morning an hour before work and somehow manage to tame your bed hair, apply a gorgeous layer of make-up and choose the perfect outfit from the terrifying viscose and polyester mountain which is the chair – all with blissful ease. After briefly slipping into a parallel universe where humans are in fact sardines (i.e. the subway), you arrive to work five minutes early with a smile on your face. You look fresh and effortless, and for the rest of the day, you remain impervious to the elements, freak coffee spillages, even impromptu bird shit, because you are the flawless girl. Sounds pretty ideal, doesn't it? But you know as well as I that it's just a fantasy.

Being the chill girl is flawlessness of the personality: it's inherently a lie. It's a stereotype we've learned from movies, from preachy women's magazines, or from guys calling us “high maintenance” or “clingy” whenever we give any semblance of a shit. Being chill means swallowing your emotions, no matter the cost, no matter the personal discomfort or agony, because ultimately, feigning a breezy attitude makes us much more tolerable and appealing. Being a chill girl is living life as a desensitized robot, programmed to people-please – throw in a nifty mute button, a couple of self-lubricating orifices and some expert cooking and cleaning skills and you've got the perfect HouseWife3000.

In effacing our unchillness, we're effacing ourselves; we're living an utterly exhausting, damaging lie – and it's high time we stopped. Let's stop carrying guilt and expectations that aren't ours to bear, let's stop caring about the comfort of others over ourselves, let's embrace all of our “weird” quirks and individuality and scream from the rooftops, “I am NOT okay with this!” Because as healthy, functioning, messy, emotional, imperfect human beings, we have the right to engage with and be proud of the entire spectrum of our feelings. We have the right to be happily, and comfortably, ourselves. Take heed of the following advice and let's all walk one self-assured step closer towards banishing that insidious chill-girl trope for good. Here's to a whole new era of YOU.

Realize that saying “no” is a good thing

Our minds would have us think that “no” is inherently negative, but actually it's one of the most honest words we can utter, and therefore extremely positive. Us chill-girl wannabes somehow have it hardwired that saying “no,” even if we mean it, is committing to the instant inconvenience or discomfort of others. But just think about it: saying “no, thanks,” “no, not today,” “no, that doesn't work for me,” “no, I'm not happy,” “fuck, no” is definitely not going to bring the world crashing down. It's standing up for your own feelings and opinions; it's being true to yourself, and that's the only thing that matters. In fact, people respect this strength of character much more than the malleable sheep-like behavior of the “yes” man. If in doubt, ask yourself whether you feel entirely, 100-percent comfortable; if the answer is no, say it loud and say it proud. Leave the little white lies behind for good. Politeness should never come before your own comfort.

Break the habit of doubting yourself

I get it: you don't believe you're worthy or deserving of opportunities like everyone else. You might have landed a great job or be on your way to success in life, but you feel like a fraud. If you're being totally honest with yourself, you wonder how the fuck you managed to evolve past the reptilian brain stage and into a (partially) functioning human being, walking on two legs beside your much more talented contemporaries. You've got impostor syndrome.

Self-doubting is like smoking: it's a really terrible habit, and yet many of us can't resist doing it. We've grown to take some kind of twisted comfort from the self-sabotaging voice of negativity within us because it's much easier than finding the strength to wield the heavy machete of self-belief and continually cut through the crap. The point is though that actually no, you do not suck, and you do deserve an existence that's just as happy and fruitful as everyone else's. Every single one of us is a wondrous tapestry of experiences, successes, mistakes and utter fuck-ups: accept that and start to love yourself for it – it's what makes you unique.

Don't run away from your negative emotions by papering over them with your default chill-girl front: dive into them – allow yourself to feel and explore them – and realize that they are all a part of you. Never ever apologize or judge yourself for having a bad day: swim into the murky sea of the feeling, find out what's lurking below and bring it to the surface – surf a fucking wave with it. Choose to be yourself – literally rock the skin you're in as if it's the world's most beautiful one-of-a-kind designer garm – because self-acceptance is the gilded key to everything.

Get excited about getting to know yourself

It stands to reason that the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more generally chill you feel. If you are shouldering the heavy burden of low self-esteem, self-conflict, self-doubts – or worse, pretending to be someone else – how could you possibly expect to genuinely feel zen? Your mind's more cluttered than an episode of The Hoarder Next Door and you've lost all sense of why the hell you started stockpiling all that shit in there in the first place.

Forgive yourself for anything that's been dragging you down and give yourself another chance. Marvel at the miracle of your own existence – I don't wanna sound corny and say that you're made of star dust, but really, it's the truth. The fact you have the opportunity to experience the world by means of your whole body (not just your overactive brain) is wondrous and worth celebrating – I mean, unless you're vegan or gluten intolerant, you can eat pizzzzza, for God's sake. Feel the energy flowing within you and around you in every present moment: engage with your spiritual self and realize that you are a beautiful, humming vibration in the fabric of the universe.

Ultimately, to be truly happy you have to become your own best friend; to never take yourself – or your life – for granted and always be ready to explore deeper, challenge yourself and discover things you never knew before. Get as excited about getting to know yourself as you do about a hot new date; in fact, take yourself on a bloody date for once – making time for “me” time is essential.

Stop and take a reality check

In the midst of crappy situations or bad days when we just don't feel on form, it's too easy to start overthinking, letting negative thoughts and anxiety get out of hand. Learning to step outside of your monkey brain and point a finger at it as if you're your own physician is a great skill, and surprisingly easy to learn. You just have to be more conscious of how you generally react in certain situations – just saying, but getting to know yourself better really helps – and start to challenge your negative thoughts with logic, as if you have a frickin' PhD. Take a reality check and realize that in life people are going to let you down, opportunities will fall through, shit will hit the fan. But remind yourself how many times you've already got the better of life's crappy moments; how many times you've had to deal with unexpected detours and still came out fighting. You are one resilient motherfucker. Whatever you do, though, don't ever feel guilty for feeling the negativity: like I said before, explore the feeling, absorb it, exit right through the center of it. If that means being un-chill for a bit, go for it, girl!

Don't stick in relationships that don't work for you

Self-love doesn't sit well with dysfunctional relationships. In fact, after working through all the previous points – forgiving yourself, getting to know yourself, exploring your greatness, having courage in yourself – none of it is ever going to last if there is an external force constantly fucking up your progress by bringing you down. It's like sweating out your shit in gym every night only to be force-fed a salty Happy Meal every time you leave. The same goes if that person ever makes you feel guilty for having needs, because having needs is normal and it does not void your value – remember that.

Loving yourself is about respecting yourself and knowing what's good (or not) for yourself, your wellbeing, your happiness and your personal development. It might be difficult to let go of this relationship or friendship, but chances are there's a teeny voice in the back of your mind that's been telling you this all along. It all comes back to being your own best friend: nobody should come before that special bond, and you are much more capable of self-reliance than you realize. Cut it off, immediately and without regret. If it hurts, let it: follow the feeling through. Then smile and celebrate your strength.  


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