Being human is definitely not an easy task- there are so many social and peer pressures all around us, asking us to be someone we’re not, pushing us to think that it’s not acceptable to be who we are. I’ve struggled for a big part of my life with that feeling. From being teased in grade school (I wore adidas track suits on a daily basis -it was like they sponsored my grade 5 to 7 years; had a side ponytail to the left and big curly bangs to the right, not to mention an uncontrollable eagerness to answer every single question in class. Let’s just say some kids didn’t like who I was) to being a local television news personality and being criticized on a daily basis for everything under the sun (“hair is out of place”, “voice sounded strange”, “too tanned”, “too happy and smiley”, “huge teeth”, “big bottom lip”- umm ya, people are mean), to being one of the only women sitting at a boardroom table (not a member of the old boys club). These are all experiences that really tried to tell me that I could not be comfortable with who I was.
To feel truly comfortable is a long road consisting of overcoming these experiences but also knowing exactly who you are and what your heart is all about. Getting comfortable definitely gets easier when you feel a true sense of inner confidence, and it’s not a cocky self-absorption, fake it until you make it kind of attitude, but an understanding of your differences and what makes you unique. It’s also not allowing those fears or insecurities that developed over the years, get in your way. So how do you get to that point?
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, that I finally woke up. Literally I woke up and got out of bed one morning, looked into the mirror and just said…. OK. And then broke out into Beyonce’s “I woke up like this… I woke up like this, ladies, we flawless”. I was at a crossroads in my life. I could either accept and become what the world wanted me to be or I could decide to understand the world, and then go about creating my own; Become my own Queen Bey…errr Bay. I went with the latter. I finally figured it out.
I didn’t need acceptance from anyone else- I really just needed to accept myself. ME.
Sure, it’s human nature to want to be liked and respected by others, but how much you care about what others think, is really actually up to only one person- it’s up to YOU. Mind-blowing. Really let that sink in. Think about it, the opinions that other people have about you is their problem, not yours; And get this, the less you worry about what they think of you, the less complicated your life really is. From that morning on, I really started to own my awesome. I began to stand my ground, rebel, and go against the tide.
It`s the ultimate dream to feel truly comfortable in your own skin. To do, say and believe exactly what you like, without worrying about what others think. We all have quirks and different ideas and perspectives, we are all weird… but in an awesome way…so, the more relaxed that you become with your own differences, the more comfortable you will start to feel.
I am no longer focused on being a people pleaser who listens to every opinion but my own. I am comfortable. I am owning my awesome. And not to sound cheesy, but life is way to short to do or be anything else. To own your awesome means not listening to the negative, confidently sharing your ideas and beliefs, allowing yourself to grow from failure (while still feeling the sting- Ouch!), not compromising yourself to win other people’s approval, living up to your values, never settling for mediocre, realizing and admitting mistakes, improving your skills, recognizing your successes, and really understanding that there will be times when your strength will be tested (over and over again).
Beauty is being confident and comfortable in your own skin- owning your awesome. That, or wearing a really wicked pair of heels… or blanket? Now go, Bay Awesome. Xo
Photos by Damien Gilbert of Epica Pictures with makeup by Carly Hughes of Wink.