“Honestly, I just love how you…you…” –I couldn’t quite think of what it was—“ you live so unapologetically. Yes, you are so unapologetically yourself.” I didn’t realize it was this, all along, that had drawn me to one of my best friends. We were sitting in my kitchen, all of us girls, chatting about boys. Invariably, the conversation had led to us to one of those chick-flick worthy heart-to-hearts, building each other up after a confusing day with our crushes. I remembered the first time I had met this friend, the one who lived unapologetically. I had been somewhat skeptical of her bubbliness and kindness and ability to open up people so swiftly and easily. I learned very quickly this was no façade, but just an incredible, high-spirited girl.

And it was true; she was unapologetically herself. People couldn’t help but gravitate towards her confidence and sincerity. Yet, I couldn’t help but be skeptical of the idea. Live unapologetically? I mean, it’s a nice idea, but I have flaws—imperfections— parts of me others might find rather annoying. From what I understood, to live unapologetically meant to embrace all of those things. All throughout childhood I was told to be aware of my shortcomings, change my bad habits, and become a better person, which ultimately meant abandoning the person I am now and striving to be another. How could I truly embrace myself if “myself” was always in a working state of change?

It didn’t help that saying sorry was a bad habit of mine. It was like one of those automatic responses people give even when it doesn’t make sense, like when someone says “Happy birthday!” and the other responds “You too.” I apologized for everything: in the middle of conversations when I felt like I was talking to much, when I tripped up the stairs (when no one was there), and even when people complimented me. I was the epitome of living apologetically, and though I wasn’t happy, I still wasn’t satisfied with the idea of fully embracing myself—imperfections and all—quite yet.

I couldn’t quite understand this concept until the understanding of my identity—true identity—shifted. To live unapologetically means to embrace our truest selves, and we are, in the truest sense, sons and daughters of God with a divine nature and divine potential. We are not our imperfections, nor are we our mistakes. We are defined by our ability to change. We are a work in progress, and we need not apologize for this fact.

Jessica Olsen, Editor, Stance