In D.C. (well, and in many other cities as well), there are many individuals, walking around, playing a great game of “smoke and mirrors”. To those who do not know what that means, it means that in order to fit in with a group (professional or social) you aspire to be like, you start to make up stories about yourself, dress differently, and act differently than who you really are. In other words, lying to yourself and to others all of the time, in order to achieve what you think you want. It leaves most people I know, depressed, confused, scared, and alone.
At some point in our lives, we all do it. However, most of us do it as a sort of trial and error, to see if what we aspire to, would actually fit who we are and if not, we shed it and move on. We move onto more fulfilling, grounded lives where our true aspirations – our true selves – can actually thrive. Unfortunately, not everyone has the power to achieve that.
While I never went through that particular phase, I did get ideals in my head about who I should align myself with, to achieve a particular social status; or what I should do with my life, in order to tell the story I think everyone wants to hear. In the end, I ended up in miserable relationships (and friendships) and a bit exhausted from thinking I had to be seen at everything. I wasn’t taking “time outs” to figure out who I really was and what I really wanted to be.
In so many previous posts, over the last year, I’ve talked about my experiences, moving to San Diego (and back) and what they’ve taught me. To move away from everything you know, because it’s time for a well-founded change, is an incredibly difficult feat. However, the more time that went on, where I was by myself, getting into a routine meant for ME, the better I became at figuring out that I have one life to live, and I have to live it for me, no one else. So… who am I and what did I really want?
I turned to meditation, a healthier diet, complete sobriety, and plenty of SoCal sunshine to answer those very questions. It led to meeting some incredible people from all over the world that fit parts of me that I loved exploring. It meant not worrying about social status, a false appearance, or having to sell myself as something everyone else is. Although I always love to dress up, it felt good to spend my days in cut offs and a tank, or a sundress. I went from a D.C. socialite to a wanderer, and I’d have it no other way.
Then, I moved back a year later. I was a bit nervous that I’d lose all of the work I’d put into myself – especially all of that SoCal sunshine and what it did for my soul. But what I didn’t realize was that confidently knowing who I am, and how I’d behave, wasn’t going to change. Why? Because I inadvertently did the following, since I moved home in May:
- Shed myself of all stressful people and situations in my life. By either having up-front chats, or slowly phasing out those that didn’t jive with my lifestyle, I was able to evolve myself into a positive human being with less stress!
- Remained kind and patient with everyone I would meet, or have ever known. Everyone has their own journey and life and I learned to respect this. I stopped judging others and took it as an opportunity to learn more about a culture, or a different way of life, or even a different way of thinking.
- Remained focused on myself and my beliefs, not allowing others to tarnish that. These beliefs are the core of who I am – I have to live with me the rest of my life, no one else. In addition, I learned not to take on other people’s problems. There’s a fine line between friend and therapist.
- Decided that my likes and dislikes would allow me to experience my world in the best way possible, and to not care if I was judged for them. So what that I love EDM music and would happily live in an apartment above Echostage? It doesn’t mean I align with what that culture can bring – I grew up dancing, and that love will never die. And, so what if I actually do love camping and hiking? Just because I love dresses and girly things, doesn’t mean I don’t mind getting dirty. (These are just a few.)
- Remained honest to myself and others about who I am and what I will/will not put up with. The more honest I was with myself, the more honest I could be with others. This lead to a lot more respect and admiration than I ever could have imagined. It also lead to far better relationships and friendships than I thought possible!
- Remained open to all of life’s possibilities because so far, some of the best experiences I have had, have come from things I would never have done before. It gets addicting, doing things outside of my comfort zone. I’ve met incredible people, while dining alone (something I was previously terrified of doing). I’ve been to amazing parties, where people I was previously intimidated by, became good friends. I am with someone now who I never thought I’d open myself up to dating (and so far, it’s one of the best relationships I’ve ever been in). I’ve gotten up at 5am to experience first light at some beautiful ports in Europe (I love sleep). And, I’ve allowed myself to enjoy every single moment of life that I can, remaining present as much as possible. (To name a few.)
- Remained unapologetic for who I am and what I’m about. I have no need to justify who I am or why I believe in something. No one should have to defend themselves (unless of course they have done something illegal, but I digress) on who they are. I realize that not everyone in this world is going to like me, and that’s okay because not everyone will be in perfect alignment with each other.
I’ve focused on becoming the best me I could be, making sure that I was happy with how I’ve turned out, making adjustments here and there, to keep myself in a good place. Now that I’ve been living from a place of truth for almost a year, I can say I’m in the best place I’ve ever been.
So my task for you in this practice: Bring all of your learnings from the last three weeks, together. Realize that while sometimes you might feel lonely in figuring YOU out, you will only emerge stronger, and more beautiful than you already are. You will be surrounded by better people and better experiences because YOU are coming from a positive place, in which you have learned to love yourself and live your life from the best place you can – your core.