In celebrating the launch of the new Feel Awesome Masterclass I’m teaching, I’ve put together a “How I learned” series to show you the steps I took to getting where I am. Check out the other 3 posts (linked when published): Screw Self-Doubt: How I Learned to Believe in Myself, How I learned to be more confident talking to people, and How I learned to (finally) raise my standards.
When I walked into my first American classroom, I had a bowl cut, a faint hint of a unibrow, I wore a unitard (before American Apparel made them cool again), and I didn’t speak a word of English. Man, 2nd grade was rough.
It didn’t help that the girls in my class immediately found me to be an easy target.
Throughout the years leading up to high school, I was constantly bullied. I was threatened, I had food thrown at me, and rumors about me spread like crazy everywhere I went.
One way or another – be it physically, verbally, or emotionally – I felt like I was always getting beat up for being me. I was way too young to recognize that this was a reflection of their inadequacies, and not mine.
Although to be fair, I don’t think that would have made much difference.
It all feels like such a distant memory at times, but at others, I remember every detail, right down to the tears streaming down my face, reminding me that being me was simply not enough.
That I wasn’t what they wanted.
And no matter what I tried, that feeling just kept showing up.
Like when a guy would cheat on me, I would immediately internalize it as a rejection and my instant reaction would be, I can change.
In fact, that was the first thing I tried. If I felt rejected in any way, in any circumstance, I would try to change myself to fit what they were looking for.
Did it work?
Well, as you probably know, trying to be something you’re not doesn’t ever work out.
It’s like picking up a really heavy rock and running with it at full speed. Sure, you might make it down a block, but eventually, your arms are going to give out, and your body will start screaming for peace and for rest and to just be.
That is the weight of trying to be anyone other than you.
That’s why it doesn’t work.
Even if you’re someone like me, who is really determined, is super type a, is a stickler for discipline and has the tenacity to keep at something, no matter how steep of a climb awaits.
Because I did it. I tried it. I would go out of my way to be exactly what people wanted.
If a guy said I was insecure and too clingy, I would hide my feelings and pretend to be the cool, down to earth chick.
And, yeah, it worked, until it didn’t.
It worked, until my arms got tired.
I just wanted peace.
Ok, so clearly, we’ve tried it and we’ve established that trying to be someone you’re not is just not going to work.
So I was left with the choice of either doing my block-long sprints with the rock and exhausting myself in the process, or, I could learn to just be me.
And it was by pure exhaustion that I realized that just being me was a lot easier. This was something I couldn’t fail at. I couldn’t tire out and return to baseline from this because this WAS baseline.
Me. I was the default.
So eventually, I gave in to that exhaustion, and I decided to give this a shot.
I thought, If I do my part and I surround myself with awesome people, I get rid of toxic relationships, I create an environment that is reflective of who I truly am, and if I focus all my energies on improving myself and my personal growth – what would that mean?
And that’s when it clicked. Everything clicked.
I was at peace with who I was and the decisions that I made. My relationships skyrocketed and became powerful and nourishing and supportive because I was showing up as the real me, and like puzzle pieces, the people that started gravitating toward me were actually meant for the real me.
They weren’t meant for some person I created who could only carry that rock for a block at a time. They were meant for me. The real me.
So everything around me suddenly started to be more fulfilling.
And like magic, being myself came a lot easier.
Fast Forward to Today
If any sort of relationship doesn’t feel right, I take the time to ask myself why. If I feel, in any way, like I am being asked to be anything but who I am, I turn it down. It doesn’t matter how much money is involved if it’s for business, or how hot a guy is if it’s romantic.
I’m constantly present in interactions and I check myself. One thing I realized is that taking things personally is a trigger because suddenly, my ego’s in the game. And it’s no longer about something not working out, it’s about me not working out. And when I’m not working out, I start questioning if I should be different to then fit whatever situation I want to happen.
And that’s not what we want.
So it takes practice. It takes conscious mindfulness, constantly. It takes presence.
It takes practicing what I preach, by also allowing others to be themselves around me. And yeah, sometimes that means the real them is not a good fit for the real me, but remember those puzzle pieces.
So here’s what I learned
The way you treat yourself is a guideline for others.
No matter how long you wear a mask, it’s just a mask and it will come off.
When you’re not true to your authentic self, the relationships around you reflect that inconsistency.
Being yourself is the easiest thing on your list. It’s the one thing you are guaranteed to know how to do.
You, the real you, is fucking perfect.
Come take the Feel Awesome Masterclass with me and download your free 30 Day Feel Awesome Boostkit.