I Love You
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E Cummings
Every time we make small decisions to fit in, whether as a child or as an adult, we are burying a little part of ourselves down deep. This is really serious business, this denying of who we are.
We learn to make a habit, and you risk becoming confused about who you really are. Just search online for books on topics like finding your true passion or how to get back to your true self to get a sense of the energy it takes to find pieces that are lost.
Several years ago, I made a dramatic internal shift. Because of a newfound faith, I started to think about my future and felt that I had a responsibility to begin living my life in a way that reflected who I really was.
This, rather than the approval of others became a driving force for me. Small decision by small decision, I began to act with the courage to be me.
I’d like to say that from that period on, I have been always and consistently true to myself. That, though, would not be true. And ironically, not being honest about who I am.
The opportunities for adults to deny who they really are in favor of approval are endless, and choices can feel complicated. In some moments, I have done better than others, whether it be stating an honest, but unpopular position or leaving a lucrative career for more meaningful work.
I do know for sure that I have never met one human being—not one—who regrets making choices that reflect who they really are.
Recently, something reminded me of the rewards of being true to who you are. My son asked me to tell him about me. You can guess that question took me a minute to unwrap.
Had you asked me that question several years ago I would have been stumped. Really. Sincerely. Stumped. I would not have come up with one thing that was just me that was not tied to a role or a job that I was part of at the time. Ask me that question today and I could hand you a notebook full of “me-isms” . How? Because I continual work on discovering and loving myself.
Here are 10 easy suggestions for building the being your habit of self-love. Pick one or more if you like.
1. Express your uniqueness daily.
Create a daily practice of doing or saying something that expresses you without regard to its popularity or commonality. It can be as simple as a wardrobe choice or saying no to a social engagement that will leave you feeling drained.
2. Make time for brief moments of solitude.
Even just a few minutes during the day can help you connect to yourself rather than being caught up in outside forces. Sit with just you in silence.
3. Re-connect to a childhood passion.
Think about what you loved to do as a kid as it can be a clue to your truest expressions. Anything you want to try today?
4. Write down three things that you truly value.
Often we can see in other what we overlook in ourself. Turn the mirror towards yourself and say it boldly “I value (pick a qaulity) in you” Take one small action every day to express those values.
5. Go easy on the pressure.
There’s a difference between compromising your true self and having multiple passions. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make the right choice when it comes to your calling. Sometimes you just have to pick something and take action and not worry about how big a wave you will make. All great things start small and with a single action. Oddly small very powerful impacts can be made with small.
6. Create relationships based on being you.
We have so many relationships based on our roles and relationship to others; mother, father, brother, boss, employee, spouse. Sometimes we get trapped so deeply in the role we lose our true self. Go out and make a new friend that expects nothing from you than to get to know “you”. Let go of the role and discover you.
7. Find your mantra.
Sometimes we end up compromising who we are because it is hard to say no that’s not “me”. Write down on a small card your response to requests for your time, try “Thank you NO”. Have a mantra that reminds you that you are loveable, worthy, incredible and fully resourced Try out “I am enough” “I love me” or “I love”. Words have power use them for you.
8. Support someone else in self-expression.
When you see someone standing out rather than fitting in, be a voice of encouragement and support. Become aa cheerleader for others that take the bold step into something new.
9. Create art.
Buy a small journal or notebook just for self-expression. It will be one of the best purchases you will ever make. Spend even one minute a day writing or drawing a picture. No directions required.
10. Remind yourself how important this is.
Hang up a sign with the quote at the beginning of this post or another that reminds you the importance of being you and loving you.
If you feel like your true self is lost under the debris of fitting in, take heart, you are closer than you think. If you want a little help learning to love you try the 11 Day Journey of Awareness class its free on SuccessCoachingU.com, then add to the above list. Either way, I’d be honored to hear your stories in the comments.