In a society that thrives on competition, very few people are comfortable being themselves. Many people – especially women according to the plethora of news articles and research – want other qualities, skills, and traits in order to get a leg up in the world. Living in a world of interpersonal comparison, we often find ourselves drowning in anguish, despair, and frustration because we can’t be or do like someone else. As a teenager and into college, I suffered in the grip of this mindset. I always wanted to be who others were or what I thought they expected me to be or have what others had; I made people my enemy in my head because they had what I thought should have been mine.
Within the last couple of years, I have genuinely begun to recognize and take pride in the person I am, the skills I have, and the talents God has poured into me. As I ventured out on my own, holding fast to the ideals that ground me while taking a few risks (like moving to Houston, TX and becoming a high school teacher), I began to realize how naturally I would become my best self, especially when I learned to follow my instincts.
How’d I do it?
I stopped comparing myself to who I was in my heyday and to other people. My “heyday” as a 25-year-old was my four years in high. I’d received my fair share of accolades during that time, and since my high school graduation (in 2007!), I’d been trying to relive those days of accomplishment and recognition. I had to realize that I was not the summation of my titles and kudos; I am a spirit that vibes and creates energy on Earth, and that energy affects all of the people who come into contact with it.
I learned that as a person created by God, I have undeniable, natural worth. The work I do does not determine my worth; the fact that God created me for a reason does. When I became clear on that principle, life became much better for me. I had been competing with the work I’d done previously instead of striving to flourish into my fullest self.
In the last year or so, I have begun to settle into the principle that me striving to be my best self in a way that allows me to fulfill my purpose is the ultimate way to give back to the world, to the universe, and to the Creator of it all. In this time, I have learned the importance of being quiet. So often, we clutter our minds and spaces with TV, others’ opinions, technology, and a gamut of distractions. In being quiet – or as my mother continues to tell me, “getting still” – I am undeniably aware of the subtle hints that God is sharing with me about who I am, what I am supposed to do, where I am supposed to go, and how I am supposed to live. That quietness has taught me to trust my instincts. We oftentimes second guess that calm, nudging voice that says “do this,” “say that,” speak to her” because everything else is so loud.
Listening to your instincts can keep you out of danger – and can guide you straight into and through the fulfillment of your purpose. Being aware of and in tune with that internal voice helps you to step out of fear and into faith. I will be the first to tell you that the path to becoming your truest self is nerve-wracking. You’re concerned if this is the life your parents had envisioned for you, if the people who look up to you (because there are some – seen and unseen!) will be proud of you, if what your heart is pushing you to do is valuable. My advice? Feel the concern. Feel the fear. And let that energy propel you into following your heart anyway.
Giving back as a manifestation of being yourself
Being your truest, best self puts undeniably positive energy into the world that ultimately returns to you at least tenfold. The universe conspires in your favor, according to the energy you give it. Your “time, talent, and substance” compose who you are; giving that time, talent, and substance for the betterment of others means that you will receive from the Universe in ways far greater than your imagination could fathom. Our beloved Dr. Seuss encouraged us the best, saying: “Today, you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Follow your heart – and be the youest you that you can be! You are your gift back to the world!