“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”
~ Danielle LaPorte
In a world that is constantly trying to shape us into being something that we are not, “it’s the privilege of a lifetime to be who you are,” Joseph Campbell wrote.
Do you feel brave enough to speak your truth into the world? Do you feel brave enough to share with others who are really are?
Finding Happiness Through Authenticity
Some of the most challenging but important moments on my life’s journey were when I decided to share the not-so-pretty parts of my past with my readers and my community. I was used to just playing the part of the shiny, happy, successful person, but I fought for years to become that person.
I was afraid of sharing parts of my past, and of being judged for them. Only those closest to me knew of my struggles.
But at some point, but in 2009, when I first decided to speak out about being a victim of sexual trauma at a Take Back the Night rally, I did it because I thought maybe we sharing my story of trauma and healing from it could help someone.
It was hard talking about my struggles after being drugged and raped in my early 20s. It was scary retelling the story of the stalker I had in college as well.
Yet it ultimately became just an empowering part of my story, because I could see that over time, with the help of many healers, teachers and coaches, I had overcome so much.
I had found true happiness! And not feeling like I had anything to hide from the world anymore ultimately felt more empowering.
Being Who You Are, All The Way!
It took me a long time over the years to step into the freedom to show the world who I am in all ways – including the parts I used to be ashamed of, and the wilder parts of me, and the tender parts of me. I now am proud to show the world what I have overcome, and to own all the parts of me, including my more sensual side as a tattooed woman and dancer who loves being in a body, without feeling the need to hide.
Owning all of who we are, including our pasts, our quirks, our perceived flaws, and maybe the wild woman within, just feels good. I have come to feel strong enough to know that those who love me love all of me, and adore me more because of all that I bring.
It’s freedom to not feel the need to try to conform to be like anyone else. It’s freedom to embrace all of who you are and to decide to love all of you.
It’s freedom to just speak from your heart and not feel like you have to hide anything. It’s freedom to feel happy just being yourself.
Remind Yourself of This, Often!
We are taught to judge and value ourselves according to our accomplishments and material successes. And it’s easy to fall into that trap of wanting to be more and do more and not being happy “until” we do more.
The truth is that we will always desire to be more and do more, and it’s also so important to love ourselves just as we are right now. It’s so important to decide to love ourselves for who we are, and not just for what we have done.
Of course it’s still great fun to set big goals and to have big dreams and to work towards them. There is great joy in creating our lives to be what we want them to be.
However, it’s important not to get caught up in the gap between who we are and who we wish to be. Living and growing means we’ll likely always be striving to be more.
But loving ourselves right now, just as we are, is so important for finding true and lasting happiness.
Be With People Who Celebrate You!
Part of feeling good about being who you are is choosing to surround yourself with people who love you as you are and elevate you. Whenever possible, try to spend as little time as possible with people who bring you down.
Try to spend as much time as possible with people who are your cheerleaders, who lift you up and who adore you just as you are. I believe we all have a soul family on this planet of people who love and intuitively understand us, and these may or may not be your actual family.
Some people feel like they don’t really “belong” to their family of origin. Others adore their families of origin – I am lucky to fall into this category.
I also have a large soul family around the globe, however, of people who just seem to “get” me. I’m so thankful for these friends, who lift me up and add to my joy and give me permission really to be me, all the way.
Can you find some more happiness this week in just BEING you, speaking from your heart, and celebrating those who love you and lift you up?
We have a lifetime to live out our goals and dreams, and that is fun and important work too. But I hope you can also find true happiness, each day, in simply being beautiful you.
Lisa Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on the Madam President Project.