We’re over perfect. We’re constantly seeing everyone show off their “perfect” lives, in school, in community and on social media. And we’re sick and tired of it.
We want real. We want authentic. We can’t stand perfect.
But we live in a paradox.
We long for truth and authenticity, but we put up walls and defenses to keep others from seeing our true selves.
The crazy thing is, we think people will like us more if we look like we’re perfect. But as humans, we’re naturally drawn to whatever feels real, and we know perfect doesn’t exist, so we stay far, far away from anything or anyone that pretends to be perfect.
We spend so much time running around spending our time trying to look like we have it all together, like we don’t have messy lives, and like we don’t need help. But it never works. We can smell fake from a mile away. Our BS meters work amazingly well, and we can smell when someone isn’t being real very quickly.
If we want to become the best versions of ourselves - better business men and women, friends, and leaders - then we must be fully ourselves, which can't be faked.
So how can we be more real with others? How can we be okay with our own imperfections? How do we start living in a way that tells the world, “This is who I am, take it or leave it.”
I've come up with 5 ways to help you be more fully you, but if you want to dig deeper on the subject, read anything Brene Brown has to say on the topic.
Without further ado, here are 5 practical tips we can all use to practice being more vulnerable, authentic, and fully ourselves
1. Admit that we all struggle with being real.
The first step to authenticity is admitting that everyone struggles with it. That I'm not the only one.
Some people have practiced the art of being real so much that they have become really good at truly being themselves, but no one is perfect. We all mess up. We have the good days where we feel like we're being fully me, and the bad days when everything feels like a struggle and we even forget who we are. And all this is okay.
We don’t care if you’re flawed, we just want the real you.
So never let the fear of not being yourself hold you back from doing the thing, because fear loves to see you hold back from your potential.
2. Be okay with being you (all the bad stuff, too).
This may be the most difficult, and most critical thing we ever become comfortable with.
We're all messed up, hurting, scared people. But each one of us is also the most beautiful, unique, and precious creation. And being totally okay with both of these is so important if we want to become the best and most real versions of ourselves.
But what does "being yourself" even mean? I think this quote says it all.
Being yourself means not being afraid to mess up, being willing to do things that might fail in front of the people you look up to. Being yourself means accepting your flaws as what makes you special and different from everyone else. Being yourself means not being afraid of being criticized for doing something brave. Being yourself means loving yourself for who you are, not for who you wished you would be.
Being yourself is brave.
3. Happiness is saying, “I am enough.”
Say this to yourself, out loud, "I am enough." Wherever you are reading this, stop for a second and say it. Say it twice, three times. Maybe even shout it out if you like. Scream it. Because believing it will change your life.
Because when we truly recognize that "I am enough" can we begin to experience life the way it was intended to be.
Relationships will be sweeter. Friendships will be deeper. The way we see ourselves will change. We will begin to appreciate things for the way they are, and begin to live in a more peaceful state with less striving.
Put this on a post-it note and stick it on your fridge, your laptop, or your phone. Sooner or later you'll begin to believe it, and then you'll see the power it has to change your life.
One small statement, one big impact.
You. Are. Enough.
4. Don’t care about what (the wrong) people think.
This is taken straight out of Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
Make a list of the people whose opinions matter to you. These people know your strengths and weaknesses. They've seen you at your best and at your worst. They know you. If one of these people tells you something, you listen very carefully to what they have to say. And you ignore anyone else who isn't on that list.
If someone is criticizing you, maybe over something you've done or made, it's likely coming from someone who is just out to make someone's life miserable. They're having a bad day, so they want to bring other people down with them. And they are terrible people to be taking advice from.
If they're not on the list, ignore them.
5. Stop trying to be cool. It's not.
There's nothing cool about playing it cool. This pisses me off more than almost anything else. Watching people put others down for getting too excited, laughing too loud, or being too invested in something. I hate it.
I hate humble bragging, so much so, that I wrote an article about it here. Flaunting our ego under the guise of "humility" or "being cool" gets me going. There's nothing humble about that.
When we try to play it cool, we're no longer being ourselves. We can't pretend to be something that we're not, so we need to forget about cool, jump in the deep end, and practice being vulnerable and authentic. Because expressing joy or excitement can be just as vulnerable as fear or shame.
"Cool" is not cool any longer.
Practical Next Steps
Write the words "I am enough" on some post-it notes and stick them around your house. Stick one on your fridge, in the car, or on your laptop to remind you every day that you are enough.
Make a list to put in your wallet of the people whose opinions you listen to. And if you're confronted with a situation in which you're criticized or poked fun of, pull out that list and see if the person is on there. If not, feel free to ignore them.
Did this post challenge or encourage you?
It would make my day if you would share my newsletter with a friend! Have your friend text the word AWESOME to 444999 and I'll take it from there. And make sure to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so I can personally thank you for being so awesome :)