Photo - Stas Svechnikov/Unsplash
Can you walk your talk? Can you be brave enough to own who you are, unapologetically?
Seems simple, right? Just be you. Be authentic, be true to yourself and your values, and dance to the beat of your own drum. And I believe it is that simple - once you've managed to rid yourself of the societal and parental conditioning which has molded you into a homogeneous identikit -conformist individual. (If we are fortunate our parents embrace the cool individuals we are and nurture our uniqueness - but not always, and not out of malevolence, but simply because they themselves were raised to conform).
We want to be authentic, intentional and conscious beings. The part that's the struggle is uncovering whom that person is beneath all of the shit that has been layered on top, and essentially embodied and internalized by us via the socialization process of growing up in modern Western society.
I had no fucking idea who I really was underneath all of the layers of whom I was supposed to be. The inner me did a runner when she realised at a young age that who she was was definitely not going to be welcome round these parts. Therefore, I embarked on an ongoing mission throughout my early adult years, to either: become someone who does fit in, or attempting to imitate others in the vain hope no-one will realise I'm an impostor and kick me to the kerb of society where the tumbleweeds blow free and the wind whistles eerily.
Suffice to say, that didn't work out so well (fake it til you make it doesn't work with actual 'self' apparently- or I'm doing it wrong). Nope, instead I most likely came across as unauthentic, lost, changeable, flaky and one hell of a social chameleon. My friendships throughout my early childhood and adolescence had a rather high turn-over rate. I decided I was simply anti-social, and likely didn't posses the social skills to maintain and nurture friendships the way others were able to do so effortlessly (all of which were not true). As if being a teenager wasn't challenging enough, it's even more so when you're feeling like a misfit and you've no idea why you don't fit in the way others apparently seem to.
People-pleasing is one seriously damaging character trait. But one which is adopted in an attempt to fit in and feel accepted. But, in doing so we lose who we are in the process. We crush our own souls and become filled with resentment and bitterness. Why can't I just say no? Why can I not say what I truly feel right now? Because I need to fit in. Because I need to feel accepted. But why do I need to fit in? And why the hell do I not accept myself? It's crazy, but not uncommon. As Dr Suess quite rightly said, 'Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter' (unfortunately I never read Dr Suess as a child - I reckon it could have been life-altering if I had!)
My son is one of my greatest teachers. If that child does not want to say hello or smile then he just doesn't. He say's what's on his mind, and he lacks any type of filter. He doesn't give a toot if anyone thinks he's impolite. He truly does please himself- and I bloody admire that in him so much. This is not to say he's a difficult child, nor is he unfriendly - he is one gregarious little dude who absolutely loves human interaction, but he will not compromise himself in order to be liked or well thought of. He knows who he is and he will not bend for anyone.
Earlier this year my son and I were returning from a trip away, and on the plane on the way back home we were seated next to a lovely women who I can only describe as Little Miss Sunshine incarnate. She was full of beaming smiles every time you caught her eye. My son asked her 'why do you smile all the time?' to which she responded, 'because it's nice to smile'. My son agreed with this statement whilst adding, 'yeah, but not all the time - only if you truly mean it, and you can't mean it all the time'. The dude's 6 years old and wiser than most grown up people I've ever encountered.
Let's not do things to be 'nice', let's do stuff cause' we mean it. Let's be sincere and authentic. Let's drop the sha-backle of people-pleasing and show it's boundary-less ass to the door. Let's let go of those in our lives who only accept us under condition. Let's show up and be us. Be you. Embrace you. And when we aren't too sure who that 'you' is, follow the gut feeling. Respond instead of reacting, instead of playing out a part that's pre-rehearsed from our mental archive of how we think we should act in a given situation - respond from the heart.
My intention from this moment forward is to show up every-single-goddamn-day as me, and only me.....
Cause' who gives a flying pigeons foot about fitting into a shape that's well outdated? I'd rather walk my talk and live like I mean it.