When is the last time you were yourself? Truly yourself? It seems simple and a silly question because no one knows YOU better than you right? Why then do we have so much trouble letting our hair down, being confident in who we are and trusting our own opinions and intuitions? This may be the key and as elusive as the fountain of youth but don’t you think it’s worth it? If you’re ready to open up and trust that you are unique, talented, and worthy and that even though you may not feel that today…you could, then let’s go.
So if someone said to you…..who are you? How would you answer? Would you identify with your role in life: Father, Mother, CEO, Teacher, musician, artist, etc? Would you identify with your characteristics: chronically late, laid back, pretentious, a good friend, a great listener, etc? What if someone asked you if you were being “yourself” right now, how would you respond?
How long does it even take to become yourself? I hope, even if you have a handle on who you are that you are still evolving and growing. But even from birth, you had some inherent attributes. Things that made you…YOU.
I was outgoing from the start. I can remember before seatbelts my parents saying, “Kendall, sit back and be quiet!” Oh if I had a dime for every time I heard that phrase. In the first grade, Mrs. Sitter gave me an E in conduct and said: “she talks more than I do and I’m the teacher!”. My mother wasn’t worried about someone stealing me at the Mall, she was worried I would walk off with a stranger whom I already considered my best friend. This trait was inherent. Even though it has gotten me into trouble through the years it has also been my greatest asset and today my craft.
What hasn’t been so black and white and what took some development is my confidence and my self-concept. Professionally I have all the confidence in the world. I know I’m good at what I do and an expert in my field. But personally, I am quick to bend and conform to what others want and need. I’m a people pleaser and as a result, I am worried about other people’s feelings, comfort levels, and opinions of me.
Everyone starts out in life wanting to be safe, loved, and accepted. It’s in our DNA. Some of us figure out that the best way to do this is to put aside what we want or feel and allow someone else’s needs and feelings to take precedence. But this can be habitual and before you know it….you’re not even sure where your needs and feelings end and another begins. You lose touch with who you are and what you want.
Switching the focus to yourself will feel awkward and yes, even selfish. In this state, you can put too much importance on the responsibility, ie control, you feel you have over someone else and put your own self-care on hold thinking you just don’t have enough time.
But I challenge you, if this is your thinking, it’s time to let go. Slowly start stepping back and allowing your family, friends, and loved ones to lead their own lives, meet their own challenges, and right their own wrongs. It’s time you take care of you and in order to find the time you feel you don’t have, you must let go.
What a freeing feeling. When you have all that time and mental focus back and channel it into your own journey, dreams, and goals; LOOK OUT!
As a life coach I’m often asked if you could go back and tell a parent one thing to communicate to their child, what would that be. Without a doubt, it’s how to love yourself. Self-love and a healthy self-concept. When you have a strong core and sense of who you are it’s easier for you to stand firm on your morals and values. To defend what you believe instead of being afraid that it won’t be popular and you won’t be liked.
A positive sense of self is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. Children with high self-esteem feel loved and competent and develop into happy, productive people. So maybe you didn’t get that positive reinforcement by your parents and now you are having to dig deep and do all the work on your own. Let bygones be bygones and embrace this journey of self-discovery. As hard as it is sometimes, you’ll be better for it.
Now, how can you find your self-love and healthy self-concept so you can learn to be yourself? It starts with acceptance. That doesn’t mean you can strive for better and set goals and have dreams. It doesn’t mean settling in any way. It means accepting that you are you, unique, special, full of possibilities, creative, and passionate. Have acceptance is learning to love who are you are now. Love the person you are, the person you are trying to become, and everything in between.
Many of us withhold love from ourselves because we don’t feel worthy…yet. We aren’t handsome enough, pretty, skinny, smart, talented….you fill in the blank. We are always under construction. Think of all the time we’ve wasted and love lost and all the time we’ve spent loathing ourselves. None of that can be undone but it can change moving forward.
Take out a piece of paper and write down all the things you value about yourself. It doesn’t matter how small or short your list is, it’s a place to start. What do you like about you?
Have you ever asked someone else? Try consulting your accountability partner for some honest feedback. Some of your most positive attributes that stand out to others may not even make your list. Don’t rely solely on your own overly critical eye to give an accurate account of what makes you, you.
CHALLENGE: Let go. Release the doubt, the control, and the responsibility you’re carrying and channel that energy into learning who you are. Start with one thing you value and go on a quest to uncover more. Revisit the joy and possibilities your inner child possessed and get back to being YOU.
I Know YOU Can Do It!