Speak up, be proud. Successful at Being Yourself.
How to be successful at being yourself in a world that tells you to be someone else.
No, this post does not contain strict guidelines and steps that you need to follow in order to be more authentic and more “you” in everyday life. See this more as a guide to help you question your path and redefine what these keywords – success, authenticity, and having a voice – deeply mean to you.
There are countless ways of being successful and defining “success”.
For some, it might be the pursuit of money, not only having enough money to survive but having a surplus to live comfortably without worrying about finances. It might be the idea of having a backup, the security to fall on something, if nothing else works or everything falls apart.
For some, it might be managing everyday affairs, not only having their life together with a house, family, good relations and a pinch of adventures on vacations but also being content with who they are and how they are perceived in society.
For some, it might be creating meaning through action, not only having a great career, excellent job, title or responsibility, but also creating meaningful change in life. It might be the approach of helping others and giving back, to find and help yourself.
What if your definition of success sits somewhere in-between the ones I mentioned? What if your understanding of success is a bit of all of those?
Don’t worry. I am not here to force the “right” definition on to you – because, spoiler alert, there is no right way of being successful, it’s an intrinsic journey that manifests in your extrinsic lifestyle.
The reality is that somehow at one point in our life or another, we start questioning our daily actions. How did we end up in a job that we don’t like, using our time on earth with situations that don’t fill us with purpose? How did we end up miserable almost every other day, working towards a paycheck to survive, to numb our brain and pain?
What does it mean to be authentic, to be yourself? Who are you?
Authenticity, a buzzword that companies, brands and social media influencers like to use to describe that they are genuine and honest. A sought-after virtue, honesty and “being real” seem to be a key element in connecting with others and portraying your identity online.
Behind the term, authenticity hides the importance of being true to yourself and being unapologetically “you” in life – be it at work, with friends or at home. Authenticity means accepting all the bits that society tells you not to like about yourself. Once you acknowledge and consciously see the “you” that has been hiding away behind labels and stigma, you will start to see the things that truly matter. Choosing between A or B will not seem as discouraging as it is right now. If you know why you work towards a goal, or why you stroll in a park rather than going to the fifth meeting that day, the pressure of being a “perfect people-pleaser” decreases.
What is society expecting of you? Is there even room or space to be yourself in these structures? How on earth are you going to throw away everything you build and take that trip around the world that you have been craving your whole life?
Your journey starts within, you can’t find happiness and peace if you are at war with your self. Travel the world, but don’t do it to discover who you are, because that person is already here. Maybe not as polished as you expect them to be, or perhaps not as “successful” as you imagine them to be. But they are here, and they are waiting for you to stand up, stand out and stop being scared to show your true colours.
“The one constant in your life is yourself.”
It is crucial to have an understanding of success before approaching a path and walking to a destination that is not fulfilling your life. The society we live in, the media representation that we have and the stigma and dogma that is surrounding us, paint a clear picture of the life that you should lead. If someone appears happy on social media and their success can be measured in interactions such as likes, shares, comments and followers, it sends the wrong message to a generation of people who compare their everyday struggle to someone’s high-reel life. This generates a false portrait of success and fulfilment. The need for validation and being accepted by “everyone” proves to be an impossible resolution, which in turn can lead to anxiety and mental health issues.
Stop trying to be (and do) “perfect”.
If you are stepping out of your comfort zone, you will likely make mistakes, and you will experience rejection in one way or another. Get comfortable; growth happens once you stop being scared of failing. It’s fine! No matter what they tell you, you are not supposed to be perfect and flawless, least of all you are not supposed to be a copy of someone else. Honestly, in a world with over 7 billion people, your uniqueness is impressive. Embrace it and use it as your power moving forward. There is freedom in accepting failures in life.
Embrace your fears and evaluate the voices around you.
There is always going to be a storm you have to go through, voices looking down on you and those trying to diminish your achievements. In the moments where you feel lost, and it feels like your goal is not worth pursuing anymore because “the world is against it”, remember that these people are miserable because they lack the strength, discipline and willpower to pursue their dreams.
Seeing someone else “effortlessly” have what you feel you deserve, the things that you should have in your life might feel unfair. Your struggle might be harder than theirs, and yes, life might not invite you with open arms, but guess what? The journey is more important than the result. The journey is what gives your life meaning and knowing you went through all those struggles and made it? That’s priceless.
Have the courage to show up, and stand up for yourself.
I read somewhere that self-confidence is not caring about what people think about you once you step into a room. Use this liberating thought in everyday life to alleviate the need to be liked and loved by everyone. It’s not happening!
Become aware of your strengths, your real strengths, the ones that you hide away because they might not “fit” into your surroundings. Found your strengths? Try implementing them in your life, step by step. You don’t have to “change overnight”, take your time, it’s a process. Once you accept yourself, who you are, and what you want out of this life you are living, it will get easier to walk the path you’re paving for yourself.
Be proud. Choosing yourself is a brave decision.