The Gift of Being Yourself
Give yourself the most important gift this year. The gift of self acceptance, learning about yourself and the permission slip to be yourself. How you think of yourself, how you treat yourself, how you value yourself, how you speak of yourself has more of an impact on your wellness than any other relationship. How much attention do you pay to that relationship? To growing and improving it? I invite you to change that this year.
Permission to Be You
I went for many, many years pretending to be a version of myself. I acted the way others wanted me to act. I dressed the way others thought I should dress. I did things other people thought I should do. Many call this, people pleasing; when we go along with what others want so as to please them. In many cases, it does make their lives easier. It certainly made my parent’s and my first husband’s lives easier when I showed up as a little puppet and acted how they wanted me to act and did what they wanted me to do. This is actually highly dishonest and not helpful for connected relationships. It is why I call people pleasing people deceiving. We are deceiving those that we’re in relationships with, they think we’re one thing while internally we are not. Even more damaging is what we do to ourselves, to our inner beings, our inner warriors! When we do what others want us to do, act how others want us to act, we send a message to ourselves that who we are, at our core, is not good enough. That there’s something wrong about our self that needs to be hidden. We feel disconnected and like no one really understands the real us. Uh, they don’t! You aren’t showing them the real you.
Let’s stop this. Let’s give ourselves the gift of self acceptance. Be yourself! Your true, amazing, awful, wonderful, dark, and light self. We are both. I am a driven worker and a great procrastinator. I am calm and I am enthusiastic. I am stubborn and I am open-minded. I can be kind and I can be cruel. I am human. Humans are light and dark. Good and bad.
When we can have this open-minded awareness that doing something bad doesn’t make us bad, we are more able to have self acceptance and look at our actions with kindness and compassion. In the past when I procrastinated, the voice in my head might say something like:
“Omg fail! Why didn’t you do what you said you were going to do this morning?”
The criticism closes me off to learning about myself in order to make progress the next time. The negativity is like throwing a blanket of hatred on myself and it just weighs me down. It leaves no room for learning and understanding.
Being open to my humanness looks like asking myself something like: Hey Susie, wonder why you didn’t do what you said you were going to do? This feels more open and more accepting of my good and bad nature.
We are who we are. If you’re like me, you spent much of your younger years fighting it or hiding it. Let’s give ourselves the gift of stopping that. The gift of being unapologetically ourselves.
One of the great by-products of being yourself is that there’s a lot less drama. You do a lot less overthinking about what others may think or covering up your true nature. You are you. People can take it or leave it. Now that I show up as my true self, I give very little thought to what others think of me. I spend very little, if any, of my time wondering if so and so likes or approves of me. Why? Because I approve of me. If they don’t, that says more about them than it does about me.
Be A Peach
This is a great time to reintroduce a concept I’ve written about before about peaches that I first heard from my coach, Brooke Castillo.
This concept helped lie the foundation for me to be myself, to love myself, to notice when I was trying to hide or change my peachiness.
I don’t like bananas. Does that mean there’s something wrong with the banana? I don’t blame the banana. I don’t tell it it should be more of one thing or the other. I let it be there for whoever wants the banana and move on with my life.
Same with peaches and same with us. If someone doesn’t like peaches, we don’t blame the peach. We don’t even blame the person who doesn’t like the peaches.
There’s nothing that peach can do to make that person like it. If that peach tries to become a banana so the person will like it more it will be a crappy banana. Take a step back in your life and see where you’re trying to hide your peachiness. Are you trying to be more like a banana? Do you have a friend who’s a banana and you try to be more like that? Maybe your mom was always trying to get you to more like a banana. Huh. Hard truth mom. I’m a peach. When you try to be a banana you’re going to stink at it. You will always be a sub-par banana. Your friend is here to be a banana. You’re here to be the peach. The more peachy you can be, the better.
Who Am I?
Now that you’re ready to gift yourself self acceptance, you may have that voice in your head saying:
“But wait! I don’t know who I am?!”
No worries. That was me too. This is normal. We’ve grown up in a society that encourages us to dull down the peachy parts of our personalities; to shapeshift so as to not rock the boat. To have the expectation that you know who you are and what you’re all about is not fair to yourself. Consider this is a relearning. A rediscovering. A coming home. Whenever you read this, start now. Maybe your kids are now adults. Maybe you’ve changed jobs, lost your job, or left your job. Maybe a relationship has ended. Maybe you’ve simply had enough living other people’s lives and up to others’ expectations. Many have the thought: “Isn’t there more than this?” Yes there is. And it lies in discovering you. It may feel like you’re getting to know a stranger. That was my situation and I got curious. If my opinion was the one that I prioritized, what would I watch on TV? What kind of music would I listen to? What the heck would I choose to eat for dinner?
Getting to know who you are is an important first step of letting yourself be yourself. Looking and observing with kindness where you’ve been trying to be something else in your life. Where have you been putting masks on? Pretending to be a banana instead of a peach?
You can start by thinking of when you feel like you can be yourself. Do you have any relationships where you feel free or unguarded? What do you act like? What do you show those people that you don’t show others? Why don’t you? For me, I didn’t have any close personal relationships where I felt safe and accepted. Rather, there were certain times when I felt free and unguarded so I started my learning there. I used to teach a group fitness class and felt safe and free there. I remember feeling safe and accepted around the parents of one of my childhood friends. There is no right or wrong answer.
Start with what you have. Question what it was about those experiences and those relationships that led you to feel free and accepted. I thought of how sometimes I felt super connected to the librarian at my son’s story time. I could let her see me in all my peachiness. I didn’t pretend to be a banana. Wherever you are, start there. Get quiet. Spend time with yourself. Learn about yourself. Self acceptance starts with spending more time listening to yourself than judging and criticizing yourself. Give yourself the gift of intimacy with yourself. Yes this can be scary. But dear warrior, it’s scary only because you’re thinking you should be a banana. Maybe your mom told you you should be more banana-like or was it a school teacher? Oh well. Too bad people. You’re a god damn peach. Let’s learn more about that peach, and how to be your amazing juicy self. Self acceptance starts with you!
Start being more you today
1.What do you want?
Get out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side write what I like and on the other side write what I don’t like. Start writing. What kinds of clothes do you like? Foods? Flowers? TV shows? I have both columns because when I began I had a hard time saying what I liked and an easier time saying what I didn’t like. I knew I didn’t like red carnations. I knew I didn’t like tomato sauce with beef. Start your list and leave it out somewhere so you can keep adding to it. Which music do you like? What do you like to watch on TV? How would you decorate your house if no one came over?
In past posts I’ve spoken about emotional abuse. I do need to make a note here acknowledging that this exercise may bring up some PTSD feelings if you’ve been ridiculed or criticized for speaking up. Be gentle with yourself as you get to know yourself and…keep at it. You’re worthy and when you show up as you, the better this world is. That is part of the abuse cycle. Thinking there’s something wrong with you or something that needs to be fixed about your peachiness. Nope. Keep brainstorming: about yourself. If no one was around, what would you wear? What lights you up? Do you like having music play in the background or not? Which oils are your favorite to diffuse? How do you care for yourself when you’re upset? Who are you?
2. What Do You Want More Of?
Grab another piece of paper and draw another line down the middle. On one side write “I want more of” and on the other “What do you want less of/what I am done doing”. Keep this list open and running. Add to it. I did this exercise with my coach about 5 years ago and it formed the foundation for my strong, connected relationship with myself today. Here are some things that I wrote: I’m done saying yes when I mean no. I am done over functioning in relationships. I’m done people pleasing. I want more connection. I want more peace. I want less drama. I’m done taking responsibility for my parents’ feelings. I’m done thinking about what my ex thinks of me. I want more confidence. I want more courage. I want more support. I am done talking meanly to myself. I want more emotional connection. Guess what I wrote at the bottom of that list, almost like I was afraid to write it? I wrote “ I want to feel more love for myself”.
3. Who am I at my highest? Who am I when I’m not at my highest?
Grab another piece of paper and make two columns again. On one side I want you to list you at your true, ripest, most amazing peachiness. Who are you when you’re shining your best light out into the world? On the other side, I would like you to list how you show up when you’re not being your best self. What are your tendencies or behaviors when you’re reactive and burnt-out? This list is where the self acceptance of our humanness comes in. The awareness that we are good and bad. We are light and dark. We have both sides and that is part of being human. Having this list helps me push pause before saying or doing something unskillful or unhelpful to others or myself. For example, when I’m not at my highest I can get over involved with my kids lives and become a bit of a rule maker/ task master. Meaning, I’ll become more of a dictator parent and tell my sons what to do. Having this list helps me see when those behaviors are showing up and to push pause on my actions so that I can learn from them. Why am I getting over involved in my kids lives? Why am I telling them what to do? Why am I snippy or short? Another opportunity to get to know myself and what I need. How do I re-ground myself? If we’re not aware of our patterns and behaviors You can’t change what you don’t know. Once we know better, we do better.
And oh warriors, this is where it starts. Relationships take effort and intentionality. They take openness and understanding. I hear from so many of you that you try to do that with the other relationships in your lives. You question why your mom would say something like that or why your husband does what he does or doesn’t do what he doesn’t do. This year I encourage you to give yourself the gift of self acceptance and doing that for your special self this year. To get to know yourself in a kind and loving way. To learn to accept yourself in all of your peachiness. Choose to be who you are when no one else is around. That you is treasured. That you is worthy. That you is needed in this world. We don’t need more half peach/bananas. We need YOU to be more you!
And let’s spread this message out. Reverse the messaging of patriarchy. Draw a line in the sand. Help women see we are worthy as is. No need to get smaller. To be quieter. To be less peachy. Achieve self acceptance. Take action today: Share this with another woman today. Two easy ways how:
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