How to be your Authentic Self
It is100% natural to admire others. We grow up expected to have heroes and role models. We now live in a day where social media allows us to have much more access to the hero and role models in our head.
We often scroll the profiles of these individuals and take note of what we adore about these people. We wish we could do what they do, have what they have and/or be like them in some way.
Or is it just me? Am I the only one that does these things? Well if I am, I will just consider this blog post a letter to myself. Sometimes you have to encourage yourself, right?
I can remember when Tamia’s video for “Officially Missing You” came out. I will never forget how I basically watched her legs the entire video. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I wanted her legs! They were these perfectly muscular and beautiful shaped legs, strutting around in these cute little (eactually very little) denim shorts. Each time I watched that video I wished to have those legs.
Years later, I learned that Tamia was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disease effecting the central nervous system, which can cause problems with walking. After learning of her diagnosis, I immediately rescinded my desire for her legs. I now realized that there was a story behind her legs. Her legs might have to endure pain and discomfort which I would never voluntarily sign up to endure. Yet, I wanted her legs, right?
I recently finished Gabrielle Unions’ memoir and it steered my thoughts right back to the days of wanting those gorgeous legs of Tamia. Celebrities, like Gabrielle, are often placed on a pedestal. Us “civilians”, for lack of a better word, sometimes see them as extraterrestrials. We frequently forget that they, too, are regular humans who go through regular stuff; they just happen to have a career that puts them in the limelight.
As I listened to Gabrielle’s story on audio (which I highly recommend, if you want to read the book!) I was often met with shock that she had gone through some of the stories she shares…but why was I shocked? I obviously don’t know her personally, so why would I assume that her life has always been as cheery as she might look on the cover of a magazine? It is so easy to presume that celebrities somehow escape(d) the reality of living as a regular schmegular human being.
I was literally taking mental notes as I listened to her story, because it made me realize the importance of not wanting to be like anybody else, in any kind of way- the importance of being authentically you! But, how do we do that? How do we conquer the temptations to align our personalities, or desires, ultimately, our lives, with that of others?
Here are 6 techniques to be authentically you:
1. Figure out who you are. Rip away all the influences, titles, labels, etc., and ask yourself questions like, Who are you? What makes you happy? What are your goals? What is your personality like? What words describe you? What do you look like? What are your dislikes? What makes you, you?! Take yourself through self-discovery 101. Take some personality tests. Focus on finding out who you are, then commit to being that person.
2. Accept that you cannot be like anyone else in the world. Yes, you can admire qualities in other people and aspire to be more (insert adjective), but you cannot assume the identity of a whole other person. Ultimately, you cannot be anyone else, without taking on their entire story and everything that entails. This is impossible. You must live your life from your own lane. Ironically, just like a track runner, looking around at others with only slow you down and entering someone else’s lane will disqualify you.
3. Normalize issues and struggles. Most people have problems being themselves due to their personal struggles, insecurities, problems etc. We must accept the reality that everyone struggles with something. Basically, level the playing field for yourself. Quit thinking that there are people in the world that are without issues. I am not suggesting the “somebody always has it worse” mindset, because this often discounts your own experience. Instead, you should reconcile with the fact that your own problems are normal, real, and valid. Doing this will help you to work out your own issues and become a better you, rather than attempting to become someone else, in hope of escaping your own issues.
4. Stop with the “goals” comments. We have all seen it; the person that comments “relationship goals”, under another person’s post. Repeat after me: Thou shalt not have any other goals outside of yourself!! You are your only goals! Remember, you don’t always know everyone’s back story, and even if you do, no other human being should be the subject of your goals. This creates subliminal and unhealthy competition. You don’t need that in your life. The competition is you. The goals involve only you!
5. Celebrate you! Believe it or not, you are the bomb! Yes, you’re the bomb, even with the flaws you fixate on. You are the bomb, even with all those opportunities for improvement in your life. Psalm 139:14 says you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. It doesn’t say you are going to be wonderful some day. It doesn’t say you need to get yourself together to be wonderful. It says you are already wonderful. Celebrate that! You can deal with any desired personal enhancements, after you have first celebrated that you are wonderful as you are!
6. Choose your friends wisely. If you think you are weird or awkward, only choose friends who love that about you. If you think you are over the top and “too much”, only choose friends who love that about you. No, we do not need friends to validate any part of us. We do, however, need friends that value us. You cannot be 100% you, if the people in your circle are always pressuring you to be a different version of yourself.
You got this! You can be authentically you. We all have to live life from our own lanes, and we should do it as proudly and as honestly as possible.
Go on with your amazing self!
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