Navigating life can be messy and hard but with the right mindset, support system and a little self-love, it can be a million times easier.
As a teenage girl, I believed everything the media taught me. I trusted everything I heard about body image, self esteem and confidence. My life revolved around the messages shared through 90’s pop music, TV shows, movies, the mall, and magazines. My friends, what clothing I was going to wear, and how “fat” my stomach looked were the things that consumed my headspace. I based every decision on the idea of “what will they think of me?” I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be liked. That was all that mattered to me and I was willing to take this empty advice from the media to shape what I believed to be the perfect life.
I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to learn from everyone and everything around me to become this person everyone would love. I didn’t give my authentic self a chance to take a stand in this world. I just muted her, put her down and buried the idea of her all together. I transformed myself into a people pleaser and never gave thought to who I truly was underneath it all.
No one was ever given a chance to see the confident side of me because it did not exist. My perception of myself was based on the opinions of others, self-sabotage and the lowest self-esteem possible. I believed I would never be good enough. I believed that I was fat. I believed that I always had to prove myself to others. I believed that to be happy, I had to agree even when I disagreed. I believed that to be happy, I had to help everyone but myself. I was not myself. I was this person I believed I had to be.
I didn’t know what it meant to be unapologetically me until I was 31.
So if I could tell myself then what I know now, I would tell that girl to stand up and shine bright. I would tell her that the opinions of others are just opinions, and the greatest gift you can give to yourself is to do what makes you, yourself, happy at the end of the day.
I would tell her that we are all unique and that it is so important to identify the qualities in ourselves that make us so special. Then, its even more important to celebrate those qualities. I would tell her to listen to her intuition, to love herself and to show up for herself in whatever way felt good to her. I would encourage her to journal and to learn about the things that bring her abundant happiness and then I would tell her to do those things every single day.
And when someone tried to knock her down…
I would tell her that they are just not meant to be in her life but that someone better was meant to be there. When something didn’t go her way, I would tell her that it is because something better is coming her way. If she was sad, I would tell her to focus on the things that made her happy. When she went shopping, she would know not to focus on the size of the pants she loved. She would simply go after the size that she felt most comfortable in without thinking twice because she loved the style. She wouldn’t own a scale because I would teach her that numbers don’t define our happiness. She would be able to live in the moment and embrace chaos because I would tell her that nothing is worth stressing and worrying about. I would tell her that what is meant to be will be. I would tell her to trust the universe. I would tell her to turn off the TV, close the magazine, ignore the negative comments and to simply be her. I would tell her that she would never be in the wrong for simply being her.
That innocent teenage girl wouldn’t feel scared. She would learn about the healthy ways to care for herself in times of stress and anxiety. She would learn positive coping skills to move on through the hard stuff. She would understand that going through things meant growing through things. She would appreciate the strength and lessons learned from the hard times. She would be able to appreciate the hard times that made the good ones that much sweeter. That girl wouldn’t be scared. She would be brave.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have met my authentic self a whole lot sooner.
Are you going through each day being the truest version of yourself or are you pretending to be someone you’re not? Maybe you are compromising that authentic version of yourself to accommodate others or maybe you’re afraid of how becoming your truest self could affect your relationships with those currently in your life. Maybe, just maybe, you aren’t sure who that authentic self is just yet. Whatever the reason may be know that it is never too late to be you.
Here are some questions/activities to help you identify your authentic self. Do them or don’t. It’s up to you.
What is your favorite color, food, movie, music?
Why are each of these things your favorite?
What is your favorite hobby? Why?
What activities make you feel confident, free and lighter?
What is one skill you are proud of? Why?
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Describe a time when you felt confident.
What qualities make you unique?
What are 5 things you love about yourself?
What is your personal motto?
How do you define yourself? Positive and negative?
List 3 personal wins.
Fill in the blank with 10 responses. I am ________.
What are my goals? In 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, etc.
What can I start tomorrow to get me closer to my goal?