There is nothing like putting yourself out there in the world. It's scary.
For me, living in a small town where everyone knows your business gives "being yourself" a whole new meaning. Who am I to sit here and write? I wonder if there are girls getting together and making snide whispers, "What is she doing?" or "Does she have a problem with alcohol?".
Following my heart and no, I don't. Alcohol and drugs have affected my life so much that it has become important for me to share some thoughts and ideas about it.
Regardless of what anyone thinks, being myself in a world that is so quick to judge is hard. Damn hard. But, I press on. Here are 5 tips on how I'm doing it.
1) Quit overthinking.
Easier said than done. Women, in particular, seem to overthink every single look, glance, comment, word, and whisper that comes their way. I am far from exempt on this one. I still struggle with worrying about every little thing, but I am working on catching myself in the process.
So many times, I have thought things incorrectly. I have thought that after seeing two women whispering after church that it must've been about me. What the hell? Do we realize how absurd this is? It is possible that it could've been about me. It is also possible that they were talking about shopping without their kids or grabbing some dinner. They could've been talking about the President or the stinky smell coming from down the hall. There's a much less chance that they were talking about me than something else.
But, what if they were talking about me? Does it matter?
The simple answer is no. You, my friend, do not need anyone's approval. You don't need their buy in or their agreement on whatever it is they might be talking about. It is none of your damn business what they think about you. What matters is what you think about you.
Do you love yourself? At least, like yourself? If yes, then forget what everyone is talking about. It doesn't matter if you aren't one of the people in the conversation.
Juggling the Jenkins has an excellent video showing just how absurd this is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC40E8lJi0M
2) Practice gratitude.
This one can be tricky, but I promise if you start to make it a habit, it will become natural.
Rachel Hollis first introduced me to this concept with her Start Today journal. She recommends writing down 5 things you are grateful for each morning. I would do this after my morning runs and it is really fun to go back and see what I wrote.
Some of my favorites: a cute bunny that I seen every morning for about a week last summer and the fresh smell after a rain.
Notice how these are pretty small things? The bunny was so cute. By day 3, I was looking forward to seeing that bunny. It didn't last forever but it sure made me excited to turn the corner on the trail I was running.
Once you get into the habit of being grateful for little things, you will notice how you find things throughout your day to be grateful for, even things about yourself that others might not like. It's a blessing.
3) Don't break promises to yourself.
Another Rachel Hollis gift. I never really understood the power of keeping promises to ourselves until I tried it.
Probably the biggest lie I told myself is that I would get up and go for a run in the morning. I would lay out my clothes all to hear my alarm start ringing at 5:30 and groggily roll over and reset it for 6:30. ALL. THE. TIME.
Once I learned this last summer, I started getting in the habit of setting out my running clothes and checking the weather the night before. I set my alarm and when it went off, I told myself that I didn't break promises I made to myself. That snooze was a chance for me to take my inhaler and hit snooze for 9 minutes, allowing time for the medicine to do its thing. Then, when that alarm goes off after that snooze, there are no excuses. If it is magically raining, I can run in the rain or hit the Peloton, but I must exercise.
This works, ladies. I am still trying to get it to work for my eating habits, but for exercise, this thing is my jam. It improves my self-confidence and reminds me how great I am. Don't break the promises you make to yourself.
4) We choose what we tolerate.
I am putting the final touches on my book set to be published by the end of the year. In it, I share some information about addiction and mental health as well as share stories of recovery from 12 different women. One woman’s story discloses a personal relationship in which her boyfriend was cheating on her and using drugs. This woman was determined to give her relationship one final effort at success. She continued to put up with this crappy behavior from her boyfriend and would often complain to her friends. Then one day a brave friend said to her, “Well if you are still with him, it must be okay with you.”
Isn’t that interesting: “It must be okay with you.”
It wasn’t okay with her at all. She was miserable at home with this man. Yet, she was still with him. She was tolerating his behavior.
What are you complaining about? Are you tolerating someone or something that you aren’t okay with? How can you pivot or make a change in a positive direction?
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
You deserve to choose good things for your life. Surrounding yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are is a game changer in being yourself.
I shared this in a blog post a few weeks ago. You can read more here: https://www.riseupmission.com/post/we-get-what-we-tolerate
5) The grave truth.
We are all going to die.
That was blunt but it's the hard truth. Regardless of what Susie or Pam at church think, regardless of what look Rhonda gives you, we are all going to die.
I have been reminding myself of this one HARD this week.
Whatever it is what makes you who you are: do it. Please don't be some half ass version of yourself. The world needs the version God created you to be.
I am loud and opinionated. Anytime I try to tone that down I start to feel like shit. I am not being authentic. It affects me and everyone around me. Some people might not like me. I'm learning to be okay with that. Some people might think I am harsh or too direct. I'm still working on being okay with that.
When I am on my deathbed, I know that what Susie, Pam, or Rhonda thinks never mattered. It won't even be a thought in my mind. What will matter is that I listened to my heart and let my heart do its thing, even when it was hard. What will matter is the relationships I had with the people that appreciated the real me.
I hope you enjoyed these. Please send me an email or comment below with your tips!