When I stopped trying to fit in

December 22, 2020

I’m Julie.
After my life transformed through style, my mission became sharing that process to help women experience that same magic - to live out the life of their dreams, too.

I was always trying to fit in. That’s what we do, right? We try to be accepted. We think that to be accepted – we have to be like everyone else. And in a sense, that’s what we’ve been taught. I will tell you that was the BEST thing I ever unlearned – by learning.

I got made fun of. I was too pale. They called me Casper in middle school. My skin wasn’t tan like my friends were – like the “norm” that told us what was “pretty”. 

So I did what every other high school girl does to be accepted. I killed my skin in a tanning bed.

When I was away at a summer program with a few other girls who had severe eating and body image issues – what did I do? Well – they were eating as few calories as possible a day – so what did I do? Well – I thought that’s what I was supposed to do, too. And when I got home from that summer program – everyone was worried about me because I lost so much weight in such a short amount of time. But all I was doing was trying to fit in.

But it went beyond my middle school and high school years – it continued in college. 

When I rushed sororities – the one I wanted to be in – they didn’t “accept me”. I guess I wasn’t good enough. {Looking back now it was a BLESSING – but at the time – it was devastating.}

So I did what I always thought I had to do to be accepted – well – be like everyone else. 

So – I started to try to dress like the girls I was around.

And you know what happened? I got made fun of. Ugg boots and leggings – that’s literally what it was – and it was all in light-hearted fun, but man did it get to me. 

And it broke me down. 

If I wanted to be accepted I had to fit in, but if I fit in I got made fun of, too. 

So where does that leave a 20 something girl trying to figure out who she is? 

Here’s the thing. All commonalities between elementary, middle, high school, college, and honestly a bit beyond college. 

I was a people pleaser.

And I lacked confidence. 

Because when you’re not sure who you are – you try to be like other people. Because you want to be accepted. 

You don’t stand up for yourself or for others when you should – because you’re afraid you’ll upset someone in the process – that you won’t be liked. 

I was in the school plays and on the tennis team in middle and high school. You know what comes with competitive sports and auditions? A whole lot of comparison. A whole lot of let down. A whole lot of internalizing disappointment and shaping your confidence.

When you’re young and your best friends get the best parts in the play and you get the part in the background – you’re the last chosen – or not chosen at all – and that happens time after time – middle school to college – where do you think that leaves a girl’s confidence who’s already struggling with it? 

I internalized those experiences and allowed them to bring me down. 

So what do you do? 

You QUIT because that keeps you from rejection. 

Quitting was part of my story. 

But it doesn’t define me. It actually helped to shape me. 

Our experiences shape us into the people we’re meant to be.

When I stopped trying to fit in – that’s when I started to become who I really was. That’s where my confidence started to build its foundation.

When you have kids – your perspective really changes. “Yes, honey – do what everyone else is doing so they’ll like you.” UMMMM yeah right! We would never say that to our kids. But somehow it’s harder to follow your own advice.

So what happened? I woke up one day and was like “I AM CHANGED! I don’t care what anyone thinks of me!” 

Oh no no. Not at all. It’s sort of an abstract concept because it’s so many components over time that add up to come into your confidence – to be who you want to be. 

It’s a series of thoughts that lead to moments that lead to actions that add up to a bigger picture.

But it all boils down to two things:

  1. Pushing your comfort zone

  2. Constantly working on it

Here’s the thing. Fearful thoughts keep you safe. 

“I’m scared people are going to think I’m annoying so I’m not going to post on social media.” 

“I’m afraid my coworkers will judge me so I’m going to stay quiet in this meeting.”

There is a commonality here – and it’s mindset. Humans act and make decisions based on fear. We want to keep ourselves safe so we instinctively TRY to keep ourselves in our comfort zones. 

But there’s the old saying: nothing extraordinary happens on the inside of your comfort zone.

Change happens when we push ourselves a little bit by little bit taking small actions that will add up. 

That’s exactly what I did.

I decided to become a Stella & Dot Ambassador. 

I put myself out there. I posted selfies for gosh sake – I mean – wouldn’t people think I’m so INTO MYSELF if I’m posting pictures of myself? 

That’s the story I was telling myself. 

But guess what happened? The outfit photos inspired people – and then my story inspired them. 

So much so that I grew a team of over 200 incredible women and was awarded number ONE in recruiting for the company in 2019 AND gave a KEY NOTE speech and earned trips and all the dreamy things I watched other people do that I so longed for – but lacked the confidence to go after myself.

And you know what happened after that? 

I used that CONFIDENCE to start my very own business. Me. With degrees in Special Ed and Counseling – and then studying under one of the world’s leading style experts – and starting a style business as an Entrepreneur. Not exactly the path I envisioned – but the one I am absolutely in love with.

And you know what happens when you build confidence? You can impact more people. Because you have the courage to be yourself – and to stand up when something isn’t right – and to dare to be different in a world that once told you to be the same. And start a business that helps women love themselves. So they can go take on the world who needs their magic.

There was a clear moment for me. I would always agree with others to be accepted – to be liked. And then one of the “cool girls” – she wasn’t being so cool, after all. She was talking negatively about someone else to me. And I stood up. I didn’t agree with her. I didn’t sacrifice who I was to fit in. It was a pivotal moment because it was something I was never able to do before. I was proud of myself.

THAT is confidence.

I’m not saying that my journey is over. It never is. I’m not saying I don’t work on pushing my comfort zone and on my mindset every SINGLE day. That’s the beauty. It’s a never-ending journey. You just have to decide to start.

You know what I hear all the time? “You’re so skinny – you can wear anything.” And I’m here to tell you – that we can ALL wear anything – as long as we have the confidence to do it – regardless of what the scale says and what number is inside the tag of our pants. It’s HOW you wear it. How you FEEL in it. That’s what actually matters.

That starts with a mindset of abundance. It starts from the inside and works its way out. 

If you’re willing to work on your foundation, then the tactics – what works for your body – and then figuring out who YOU are – despite what the girl next to you is wearing – you will find your style. And I’d be honored to go on that journey with you.

A support system – it’s paramount. 

Accountability? Will take you farther faster. 

And a tour guide to help lead you along the way? I’d be honored to be yours – and it’s exactly what we do in the CHIC community. 

And right after the new year we’ll be kicking off in a new format and I’m counting the days! Stick your name on this list and you’ll be the FIRST to know!

Vulnerability and opening up like this? It never gets easier or less scary. But it’s all part of the growth – pushing the comfort zone. And like I said – I still work on that every day.

If any of this resonated with you – send me a DM on Instagram (@juliekrausxo). I’d love to hear from you! XO


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  1. Gena says:

    Oh how I love you!! So proud of you. Thank you for sharing and inspiring…❤️❤️❤️. I’m so lucky that you don’t have any choice but to be my sister. 😂😘

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Julie Kraus | Stylist
〰️ I help you take the struggle out of style
Founder of CHIC▫️Podcast Host▫️Mom of 2