In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.
I LOVE this quote be Etta Turner. I used to work really hard to fit in. To say the “right” things, wear the “right” clothes, hang with the “right” crowd. It was exhausting, stressful, and I usually felt awkward and unsure.
Being yourself requires knowing yourself
Over the past few years, I’ve worked really hard to get to know and love my true self so that I can show up in a way that feels good and authentic. I try my hardest to ensure that my son feels safe being himself. And my wish is that others embrace this as well.
But here’s the catch - in order to be yourself, you have to know yourself - Who you are at the core. What you love. How you like to add value to the world. What gets you excited. And what makes you feel most fulfilled.
What often happens
Many of us have lived most of our lives trying to be some version of what society labels as success. We strived for good grades, plenty of volunteer hours, a well-paying job with benefits and vacation days, and the happy marriage, 2.5 children, etc.
We’ve minded our manners, tried not to swear too much in public, worn the “right” clothes, filtered excessive exclamation points out of our emails, and kept our thoughts to ourselves when we were worried about being “too much.”
And as a result we feel disconnected from our most authentic selves.
I’ve seen this show up in lots of different ways for people, but most frequently it shows up as habits that soothe our minds, such as eating past fullness, drinking too much alcohol, or excessive use of social media (the list of behaviors is long, these are just a few).
It also shows up in emotions such as dissatisfaction with the life we’ve created, a low (sometimes not so low) level of anxiety, and maybe even a fear of not being able to reach our true potential.
So what now?
Getting to know and love who you truly are is the best gift you can give yourself and the world. It helps you see the best opportunities, it gives a sense of satisfaction and joy and creates higher levels of confidence.
My favorite way to tap into my truest self is to use free writing - just writing ideas that come to mind when you ask yourself probing questions. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What are my best attributes? The ones that light me up when I let them shine through?
- How do I contribute to the world around me? When I am in a room, what do I bring more of?
- What are the top characteristics my best friends would use to describe me?
Spend some time becoming your own best friend and then share that beautiful light with the world. Because when we show up as our truest selves, we give others permission to do the same and as a result, the world has a more perfect mix of energy, personality and skills needed to make this a better place.