#5. START BEING YOURSELF, GENUINELY AND PROUDLY
No.5: START BEING YOURSELF, GENUINELY & PROUDLY
Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Be yourself. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else. Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms. Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
Which also means:
No.5: STOP TRYING TO BE SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT
One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?
Look, I grew up in a white suburban neighbourhood, and it was not easy to be myself. I knew I was different, and oh how I wanted to be like everyone else. That sucked. I had to defend myself and straighten ignorant people out and stand firm almost to exhaustion. I had to have backbone, people.
It wasn’t until I headed out to university that I began to let go of trying to be all that I could not. Mostly because the student body was diverse, and lo and behold, there were many students who looked like me! Thank goodness. I graduated, went out in the world and realized how there were times when I still had to straighten people out, stand firm, and break assumptions that I was going to be easy to manipulative, that I’d be submissive and meek. Oh no you don’t. Oh no they didn’t.
When I lived in Tokyo, I looked like everyone else…yet I didn’t act like everyone else. Oh yes, and my language abilities were below par, apparently, for someone who looked Japanese. Give me a break! I was born and raised in Canada and learned the language via my parents in Canada, making my Japanese more like “japlish” (mixture of Japanese with English). I swore that I wouldn’t become influenced enough to “fit in”….but after my third year there….the push was hard enough that I blew over that line. It was easier this way. I took the easier way out to blend in, than to be myself. I couldn’t believe it. It annoyed me. I annoyed myself. I wasn’t being true.
That was until I traveled some more and realized that trying so hard to fit in was stressful and a travesty. I was an adult, dammit. Traveling is great for clearing out your mind, and letting you be yourself. I suppose because you’re out of your element and have to revert back to your instincts and re-orient your senses. It’s the most wonderful thing I do for myself — travel.
I got older. Wiser. Started to not caring about the silly stuff. Just let it be. Of course, I’ve surrounded myself with lovely people who let me know, overtly and covertly, how they appreciate me — even though I have whinging fits, even though I have selfish moments, even though I can be forgetful, even though I can be lazy, even though I can be messy, even though I can be mean-spirited, even though I have very human moments.
I like myself. I’m okay with all that I’ve accomplished. I’m liking my place in the world. And there are people who have a problem with it, who want to protect me, who worry for me, but you know what? I think my cheerfulness sums it up just fine.