Are you exhausted?
Exhausted of trying to be a certain way?
Fit a certain image? Label?
Look a certain way?
Have a certain job?
Portray a certain message?
Are u exhausted??
I hated when people would say be your authentic self. I cringed actually. For years. And then I realized.. that discomfort was telling me something. It was telling me that that is what I needed. I needed to be authentically me.
But first, I had to learn who that was.
I can say that I have acted authentically in terms of personality.
I am genuine.
But I was also suffocated. I was trying to fit the mold. The athletic, smart blonde girl who was good at a lot and never really ruffling any feathers. The middle child who strives for attention. And where did I get that attention? Through my athletic talent. Through my “different than average” body. Through my success and accomplishments.
This wasn’t bad, but looking back, it pigeonholed me. I started feeling pressure to be this way. To stay this way. To stay on top. To always be successful. To always have this body. To always earn attention for my body and athleticism.
I was never the underdog.
Recently, I was talking with clients about our memories of the pull-up test in elementary school. They couldn’t do pull-ups so they hated it. That ten seconds of embarrassment was still a memory today. But for me, I was EXPECTED to be able to do it. And it was just as traumatic for me. That expectation. That bar. That label. It was so tiring to always feel like I had to be top dog.
So. I got exhausted. I had other interests. But they didn’t get me attention or get me noticed.
I was labeled and I lived into it.
And I never realized I had a freakin choice.
Probably because these are relatively good/positive labels. I wasn’t labeled lazy. Dumb. Insensitive.
But I felt pressure to remain those good things.
So I was scared to try anything outside my box.
Anything that I may not be awesome at.
I did what I was good at and by doing that… I never got to find what else I could have become good at?
I didn’t really know who I was authentically because I wanted to keep the attention I was getting and if I strayed from who I was in any way, I feared losing attention.
That attention validated me.
Without it, I questioned if i was enough.
So looking back, I went through life seeking attention. This brought some major problems. I played everything safe. Fear of failure smothered me because I never really failed.
I was Lisa Nicholas. Smart. Athletic. Nice to everyone. No room for failure here. But I do believe experiencing some failure as a kid and teenager could have served me well.
So, in order to maintain my image, I did what I should. I said what I should. I acted how I should.
Then I realized I was so tired. Tired of succeeding. Tired of showing people I can do anything. Tired of wondering what I would be without these labels. Tired of constantly wondering what other people will think of me. I lived my life for “them.”
And at 32, I woke up. I took a breath of fresh air. I stopped beating myself up for the past. I stopped pressuring myself. I stopped worrying what other people will think.
I admitted my flaws.
I am putting vulnerability out there.
I traded my preoccupation with food and fitness for exploration of what I actually enjoy, some of which I had stuffed down or blocked all together.
I found a confidence in who I am and awareness that if people don’t “like” it, that is on them, not me.
I shifted my perspective from needing to be everything to everyone to needing to be me for me.
So when I hear be authentic now? I sigh. I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it took me.
Labels are just pressure.
They aren’t even necessarily true. You make them true. And guess what. You have the choice to live into them or not.
In the end, it’s your life and your life only.
Don’t make choices based on the opinions of others who will not have to deal with the consequences.
Because when you know who you are and you can be who you are, you have the freedom to have, do and be anything you want. ⭐️