Imagine pretending to be someone you are not. Looking, speaking and behaving in ways that are not true to you— almost as if you were cast under a spell ready to adjust your truest parts at the drop of a dime. Perhaps if someone told you to dress in a certain fashion because your look was not in style, you would do it. Or perhaps if someone suggested you engage in drugs because everyone else was doing it, you would do it, even if it meant going against your own moral judgment. With so much pressure from the outside world with its attempts to influence who we are, it can be easy to submit and succumb to what others expect. We can fall short and be susceptible to putting ourselves in a box when we were indeed meant to stand out. The truth is, there is great power in being yourself. A power that consists of the purest joy, the utmost beauty, and the greatest strength anyone can possess.
For most of my life I struggled with trying to be someone I was not. I walked around with invisible handcuffs chained to the lies of what it meant to be myself. I dressed in shoes that weren’t accustomed to my fitting. I wore masks that weren’t suitable for my face. And depending on who I was around, I would adjust my attitude and behavior to whatever I felt would make me appear in the best light. And for what reason? To feel liked? To feel accepted? To feel loved? The plain fact is that no matter how I chose to present myself and no matter how much I altered the pieces to my puzzle, nothing was ever enough; there was always a judge ready to scrutinize for the simplest reasons.
As a child, I remember being teased because of my physical appearance. I was told I shouldn’t wear my hair a certain way or dress in a particular style because it made me look like a boy. I was told I was too skinny, and that my lips and nose were too big for my face. Worst of all, I was called ugly by my childhood crush. The noise from the criticisms played tug of war with how I defined myself and left me scarred. I began to care greatly of what others thought of me.
I put so much effort into trying to be someone I was not. I exhausted money to keep up with trends. I spent hours in the mirror frustrated trying to look my best. I hung around people whom I would rather not spend time with. I had a voice but felt voiceless. It had all become incredibly exhausting. The time and energy expended trying to be someone I was not was far more challenging than simply being myself. Equally important, pretending to be someone else never brought me the pleasure I was looking for. I was pleasing others, but at the expense of my own happiness and it didn’t seem worth it at all.
It was not until I started to look inwards when the shift occurred. I focused my attention on myself and started to question who I really was and what I wanted for my life. I began to pour into myself and provided myself with the love I deserved. Everything I did was based on my happiness. If the things I did brought me joy and contentment then great, if not, then it had to go. The more and more love I poured into myself, the more respect I had for myself, which in turn boosted my self esteem, and self confidence. I began to act in alignment with myself and remain true to who I was and things started to fall in place left and right.
The thing about life is that nothing will ever truly work out for our greater good until we make a conscious decision to look inwards. Life will never work in our favor until we begin to focus our awareness on ourselves, get to know ourselves and do the things aligned with our values, and our beliefs. We are all different. None of us have the same DNA, the same story or life experiences. We are each coded uniquely, with a flavor that only we can produce. When we realize we possess a power as uniquely as our own, we become unstoppable.
The truth is, you can never be everything to everybody. You can only be yourself. There will always be someone who will criticize and negatively judge you, but as long as you provide sufficient love to yourself, and as long as you’re confident in who you are, then what others think of you will hold no weight. You will only disappoint yourself in the end and find yourself drained trying to be someone you are not. Out of all the years I spent chasing to be this fabricated person, the person I should’ve been looking for was directly in front of my face. The person who could have given me the greatest love and value was myself. I am completely honored of the woman I have become and the woman I am becoming. Flaws and all, I am unapologetically me.
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