20-Something Girls Reveal How Misconceptions Can Inspire Strength


No one is immune to feeling misunderstood, and the relief for its symptoms varies from melancholy to motivation.

Adversity can actually inspire remarkable courage and outstanding change.

Once we enter adulthood, we have the maturity and emotional intelligence to produce positive energy from a place of fury and frustration. Or, as rappers tell us, “Let your haters be your motivators.”

It can also lead us to treading dangerous waters.

We have all seen friends and public figures alike overcompensate for their insecurities by spiraling out of control, falling victim to depression or, you know, dry-humping a foam finger when trying to shed skin they no longer or never felt connected to.

To further ourselves from whatever misconceptions or inappropriate adjectives we feel people identify us with, we make efforts to supersede them. At times, we make too many efforts.

I have recently questioned how much “good” misconceptions do for us and our self-awareness.

Is determination more or less just a derivative of oppression?

If we dared to give the amount of time we spend proving others wrong a percentage, would it be higher than the number reflecting how often we strive for excellence simply because it would make us happy?

So, I went out and asked several 20-something, professional women, “What is the biggest misconception about you, and how does that influence your behavior, if at all?”

And I can’t ask you to show me yours and not show you mine:

I found the results interesting, humbling and comforting.

Clearly, we all feel we are combating preconceived notions of ourselves. We all believe that either despite or in spite of our actions, we are more than them.

Each of us embodies vast dimensions.

The tragically ironic twist is most of us feel misunderstood or misrepresented, and yet, we continue to mask our faces with smiles, nods and murmurs claiming to be fine.

I can faintly recall my mom telling me something about not judging books by their covers. She was smart to dispense such advice, and it would have been wise to listen long before.

But, more than the cracks in our hearts, I see the strength misconception inspires. Because of it, we have stories, we have empathy, and we have a reason to get up and kick some ass.

I suppose the advice I would give is this: See the bigger picture. You will always be misunderstood or underestimated. And, if you try to abolish the misconceptions people have about you, you will always fail.

You cannot mirror a thousand different reflections. The truest reflection is the one you see of yourself.