I’ve spent many years of my life wanting to be different. I wanted to be cooler, taller, prettier, “blonder.” I was desperate for approval. I bought into everyone else’s opinions and never listened to my own.
In essence, I spent a lot of time being an inauthentic version of myself.
Now that I’m involved in the self-help world, I see this need for approval coming up in different ways—both in myself and in others in my field. We want to help people improve their lives, which means that we should have it all together, right?
I’m going to out myself right now by confessing that my life, my personality, my relationships are far from perfect. Sure, I have a ton to be grateful for. But I still struggle. I continue to seek approval by wanting people to like my products and services. I check (sometimes obsessively) the number of Facebook “likes” that I get on my status updates. I get down on myself when I make a mistake or when no one signs up for my programs.
But guess what? These faults and imperfections are what connect me to my truth. How could I possibly help others improve their lives if I don’t go through struggles of my own?
So I’ve decided to make a list of my “dirt.” Here goes:
- I don’t have it all together
- I get stressed, sad, anxious
- I get jealous, angry
- I cry
- I curse
- I get annoyed in grocery store lineups
- I speed
- I’ve made mistakes
- I eat nachos with salsa and chocolate every night before bed
- I fight with my husband
- I honk my horn at bad drivers
- I struggle to maintain healthy habits
- I have regrets
- I get insecure
- I love red wine (and red meat)
- I can’t touch my toes
- I eff up
- I get frustrated
- I forget to water my plants
- I don’t always do what’s good for me
- I get defensive
Why am I sharing this with you? Listen, I could pretend to be a raw vegan yogi who meditates for five hours a day, but that’s not me. Pretending to be someone other than who I am doesn’t serve me, and it most definitely does not serve my audience. Trying to be perfect is exhausting. I would much rather just be me—faults and all. Plus, I don’t even see my list as faults. This list is what makes me human.
Just like you, I sometimes struggle to hold it all together. When I fall down, I pick myself up and start again. One day at a time, I continually recommit to making my health and well-being my number one priority, and that’s simply the best I can do.
When life gets tough, do I float around with a magical yogic smile on my face, “blessing” bad things for happening? No. Do I drop a few f-bombs? Absolutely! But here’s the deal: I give myself permission to feel my negative feelings. Then I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and think of something I’m grateful for.
Here is what I want for you. I want you to take off your mask and start being unapologetic about who you really are.
Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but just for a moment, drop all of the self-help tips, tricks, and techniques that you’re currently using and give yourself permission to simply be you. Start becoming comfortable in your own skin. Listen to the voice inside that always has the answers you need. Stop trying to make everyone else happy. I guarantee that people will like you better when you drop the façade.
As for me, I’m still not cooler, taller, prettier, or “blonder.” And I’m not going to apologize for any of it.
Alright, it’s your turn. I want you to get unapologetic about who you really are. Post a comment below that exposes your “dirt.” Go ahead and out yourself! We’re going to create a tribe of people who are brave enough to admit that we aren’t perfect. We’re going to be proud that we’re working on ourselves. Go ahead, acknowledge yourself for being you.
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution.
If you’d like tips on the topic of manifesting your dream job, plus some personal instruction from Bethany, check out her online course, Creating A Life You Love: Find Your Passion, Live Your Purpose and Create Financial Freedom.
*Photo by JinxiBoo.