Why do we stifle our authentic selves?
Why do we feel the need to apologize for being who we are?
Time is too short to hide ourselves from the world. We are all unique and need to embrace all of who we are. It is simple to put up a facade and hide behind it. But, after a while, it gets exhausting. We become so comfortable with that persona that we forget who we really are. We become afraid to be our honest selves. And the pattern continues. But there comes a time when we get tired of pretending and trying to fit in. We begin to shift our focus on embracing our spirit.
We all have moments or periods in our lives where we are finding ourselves. For me, this was during my junior year of high school. I thought that, in order to be cool, I needed to fit in with the popular crowd. After multiple attempts and feeling even more excluded, I had my breaking point. I blamed myself for not being able to fit in because I was different. I was the reason no one wanted to be my friend. After having suicidal thoughts and talking to my best friend and mom about it, I finally realized something. I did not need these people to validate my worth. If they did not want to be my friend, then it was their loss. I needed to see the beauty and strength within myself, that those around me admired. My mom shared a song with me that gave me the power to begin to love myself. “The World Ain’t Ready” by Elisabeth Withers. She reminded me to “be you, the real you, love who you are.” From that moment on, I was free.
Free of letting other people define me.
Free of caring what other people thought about me.
Free of feeling the need to fit in.
Free of doubting my greatness.
This always reminds me to never lose sight of who I am. That was one, of many, defining moments that impacted the person I am today.
No matter how negative, hurtful, or mean people can be, we cannot stifle our true selves. To combat this we have to break through the mold of how people think we should be, how we should fit in with everyone else. There is a light within each of us that is waiting to be released. We just have to give ourselves permission. When we let our inner light shine it will be scary and uncomfortable. Sitting with this discomfort, with an open mind, will allow us to grow. We will learn what it means to love ourselves. We will learn that we are and always will be good enough.
There will be people, we thought were our friends, who will not understand, will not listen to you, will not accept you, will be uncomfortable, will suggest that you tell or don’t tell other people, and they may not remain as a friend. The most pertinent thing to get through this is time to process. But you will be okay. You are not alone in this. The pain, sadness, or hurt that you feel, may linger, but you are strong enough to push through. Whatever the outcome may be, you must remember how courageous you are to be your honest self, each and every day.
We may feel the need to constantly explain ourselves or apologize but this is not necessary. It takes us a long time to finally become comfortable with who we are and love ourselves. We do not need to apologize for embracing these parts of ourselves. We should find strength and empowerment in this process. Do not let people try to convince you otherwise.
In the world today, it is easy to conform to how society believes we should be, act, and who we should associate with. But this is not a rulebook that everyone needs to follow. We are all unique in our own way and have to embrace our differences. We have to stop lying to ourselves about who we are. We have to learn to express ourselves freely, openly, and honestly. Once we do this, we begin to believe in ourselves and become comfortable in our own skin.