“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde
It’s taken me 30 years to fully embrace my authentic myself. It has certainly not been easy getting here, but it feels so liberating to be where I am right now. Today, we are constantly bombarded with an influx of messages and images telling us everything from what to say, to what to eat, what to wear, and even how to feel. It can be extremely challenging to weed through all of the incoming stuff – and just get down what WE as unique individuals, actually WANT.
So, What Do You Want?
That’s the first question I ask myself everyday. What do I want to do? What do I want to wear? To eat? To read? Who do I want to see? Where do I want to go? I prioritize and put myself and my needs first before anything else. I put my mental and physical health above everything because I know that will help me be the best version of myself, and will allow me to think clearly and logically, and most importantly make decisions based off my intuition.
Intuition Is Everything
We all have an inner voice and a sense of intuition, however most of us sadly don’t listen to it. We listen and do what others want us to do, or what we THINK other people want us to do. We are influenced by magazines, ads, social media, our parents, our friends, coworkers, significant others – hell, even strangers! When was the last time you took a step back, and made a decision completely based on YOUR intuition without caring what anyone else thought? It’s not easy to do, is it? It’s so brave – and you have to be extremely strong, but exercising this muscle will ultimately allow you to become your authentic self.
Stop The People Pleasing
Doing solely what YOU want to do, can sometimes result in others disapproval. It may even cause an uproar, and be looked down upon – but would you rather have other people’s thoughts and opinions dictate your life from afar, OR would you rather live the life YOU want right here, right now? I have a friend who became a lawyer just because both of her parents were lawyers and they forced (OK strongly pushed) her to be one. They basically made it clear that any other job wasn’t good enough or acceptable. She went through YEARS of law school, internships, and jobs working insane hours and after all of that, is absolutely miserable today. She is always complaining about her job, her coworkers, her hours, lack of a social life, etc. I’ve known her my entire life and to see her so unhappy and drained truly breaks my heart. She’s a 30 year old grown woman, and yet she’s allowing her parents’ opinions to dictate her life which is stifling her true self. Her parents aren’t bad people, and at the end of the day they only want the best for her, but only she knows what’s best for her. You cannot let anyone, even loved ones, tell you how to live your life. It is your responsibility and duty to your SOUL to listen to and follow your intuition.
You Do You
If I had listened to, followed, or been swayed by every ad, article, friend, family member, and/or stranger that I encountered, I would not be where I am today. I cannot tell you how many people thought that blogging was a silly, frivolous hobby when I started it 9 years ago!!!! So many people looked at me like I was an ALIEN when I told them I had a blog in 2011. And do you know how many so called “industry experts” and managers I’ve met with over the years who have compared me to other bloggers they felt were relevant and encouraged me to do crazy/outlandish/new things to stay “cool?” They actually DISCOURAGED me from being consistent, classic, relatable, and well, MYSELF! If I had listened to ANY one of them I would not be in this position! It has NOT been easy to drown out the minutiae – especially as a young woman in a new industry that is still not taken very seriously! But, I am thankful for the doubters, the naysayers and the boxes that people have tried to put me in. I am thankful for every struggle and adversity I’ve faced because it helped me develop grit and determination which every single entrepreneur needs. Over the years, I dug deeper and leaned even harder into myself, my desires and my dreams. Doing so helped me cultivate a strong inner voice. I’m here to tell you; Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Don’t let anyone try to push you to be someone you’re not. Don’t let anyone put you down, belittle you, or manipulate you. And remember, take nothing personally. Hurt people only try to hurt other people period.
Purge The Negativity
One of the most important things I’ve done for myself is heavily filtering out the people I surround myself with. Gone are the days of “the more the merrier”, and in are the days of “quality over quantity.” People come in and out of our lives for many reasons. Some relationships don’t always last forever, and some go in ebbs and flows depending on where we are in our lives. Learn something from each and every relationship, and cultivate a positive, uplifting tight inner circle. Pull away from anyone who drains you, makes small digs/backhanded compliments, or simply can’t be happy for you. Life is too short! Be clear about what types of qualities and characteristics you want in friends, business partners, coworkers, and significant others – and you will slowly start to meet more people with those exact qualities. This is called manifestation and something that I do on a daily basis. Ask, visualize and you shall receive!
Love Your Uniqueness
We are all unique and we all have something special to offer the world. When we hone in on that, surround ourselves with good people, and listen to our intuition – everything starts flowing from there. That’s not to say there won’t be hard times, hiccups and barriers along the way. There will always be ups and downs in life, but if you create a solid foundation for yourself you’ll be able to handle anything that’s thrown at you on your own terms, with grace.
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
-Dr. Steve Mariboli