Growing up with established expectations from my home, school, society along with an innate desire to please everyone around me I have spent my life, until recently, “trying to be”. What do I mean by “trying to be”? Well, trying to reach and maintain all of the standards set by my family, trying to reach preset academic standards, trying to be pretty by society’s standards, going along with friends interests long after they were my own- all in all trying to fit a preconceived mold that simply didn’t work. What didn’t know then that I know now is that it didn’t fit me.
I spent years feeling like I didn’t fit in whether it was in school or with friends and while I didn’t know why that discomfort became an increasingly comfortable feeling as much of my childhood was spent moving and adapting to new cultures, so I didn’t question it. By the time I got to college, I was battling severe anxiety unable to leave my dorm let alone get to class. I compensated through codependency whether it was in friendships or personal relationships and generally sought validation from the outside world.
By late 2010, my life completely changed and I was forced to examine and evaluate how I had come to this place- it was a massive turning point for me. I retracted from the world and really delved into why I was living a life that didn’t actually represent me, what didn’t I like about myself and why? Were the parts I disliked actually of merit or were they superfluous standards I held myself to? More importantly, who was I really and how could I get my inner self to confidently and unabashedly shine.
During that time I spent an exhaustive (it was a lot) amount of time writing all of my thoughts, completely unedited and started to discover who lived actually inside of me. Asking myself what I actually liked, what I felt, what I wanted to do, what I was passionate about and examining my answers. I looked at my life and instead of treating the experiences that I wasn’t comfortable with as a negative, I owned them because they reflected a stage and place of my life and without them I wouldn’t be at this pivotal juncture.
I also reinvested in daily, meditative prayer, an activity I had strayed so very far away from simply because I let life’s activities get in the way. Slowing but surely, I began to discover my authentic “self” and I accepted myself and that was the moment that transformed my life. I began to understand that if I was being the best person possible in everyday that was all I could ask of myself. Instead of running myself ragged with worry, frustration and unfounded fear I found it being replaced with an overall calmness and self-confidence.
Discovering that the person I was becoming was so much more awesome than the person I thought I should be was the most surprising part! After spending my time running on a treadmill to “perfection” I realized that I could be enough.