I was a bit of a late bloomer in high school. So as my daughter and I scrolled through her Instagram feed and she explained to me what “glowing up” meant, I could instantly relate! And I knew I’d be adding this phrase to my vocabulary.
Glowing up is what teens (and the Internet) are using to describe that transformation from young pre-pubescent tween to an “all glown up” teenager. Glowing up is all about teens growing into their features, looking older and more mature, and then wowing their peers with a look, style, or maturity that was hidden during those awkward years of puberty. So glowing up is something we can all to relate to. Hey, everybody had those off-years – like seriously, a whole bunch of off-years!
This new term is in Urban Dictionary too, so you know it’s legit. (Just kidding) It describes glowing up as an incredible or amazing transformation or “to go from the bottom to the top to the point of disbelief.” Turns out this slang term was born sometime in 2015 but all the cool kids are using it now. Just check out the hashtag #GLOWUP on Instagram or this YouTube video for before-and-after snapshots of people’s glowups. I love that kids aren’t afraid to post awkward photos from their years of braces, bangs, and ridiculous fashion choices.
But glowing up doesn’t have to be all about looks, puberty, or becoming more attractive physically! It could also refer to someone’s evolving sense of style, maturity, inner beauty, or confidence. As this article “The Art of Glowing Up” reminds us, glowing up is a slow process and once it’s finally completed, the aim is to have developed self-confidence and love for yourself. It can also be an evolution of your interests, talents, and goals . And teens shouldn’t worry if all this doesn’t happen right away, because everybody glows up at their own speed and it’s a process that takes years and years!
Nobody walks into high school feeling absolutely beautiful and confident on their first day!
Inner beauty, just like outer beauty, takes time to flourish. You remember when you finally came back to school after summer break and people in your class were all like, “Wow, you glowed up over the summer!” (No, well of course you don’t because this phrase wasn’t exactly a “thing” back then, but you do know what I mean!) You can definitely recall that time you or one of your classmates reappeared at school looking different and more attractive, or maybe just more charismatic, after only a few months away. Maybe you’d gone through puberty or maybe you’d gotten a little more mature and confident over the summer. Or perhaps you’d just gotten your braces off and learned how to dress. It can happen all at once or it can happen in bits and pieces. Everybody’s different!
No matter what we call it, this transformation of glowing up has always been something special for teens. They hope and wait for that time when they’ll feel comfortable and attractive in their own skin. And though the late bloomers might see their friends changing and maturing around them while they feel left behind, this isn’t the time to pile on the makeup and try to catch up! They should just be patient and let it happen naturally. Because the best thing about glowing up is that even though kids do it at their own pace… they all DO eventually glow up! It’s that wonderful promise that comes with age – that it will all come together in time. (It might not be until that summer before college, but it will happen!) And we can’t deny how nice it is to see when life starts coming together for adolescents as they glow up.