Stay True to Who You Are
"Stay true to who you are. If you feel that something isn't right or you're becoming someone you're not, listen to your inner voice." Normani
I started this blog to encourage people to love their own brand of Unique. I wanted e people to stay true to themselves rather than living a cheap version of someone else's life.
In my journey to authentic, I have felt "out of place" many times. I felt insecure about who I was. I determined in my mind that I would fit in. "Get with the in crowd" roared the voice in my head.
At the end of that road, I found myself alone and lonely. People can smell a fake a mile away!
For a long time, I did not recognize myself as a phony. I had convinced myself that I was playing it smart. How was I supposed to get ahead in life being my authentic self? I had no idea.
You may believe that you are living your authentic life. You may feel strongly that you are being bold and fierce. I say to you, "You might. Let's see if you can up your game a little."
Here are 10 signs that you are not living your Unique and authentic life:
You shy away from public events. What I also mean here is that you shy away from events that would benefit you in some way. This could be training events, conferences, or networking meetings. Fear of being around other people is a sign that you are not comfortable in your own skin. Pushing past those fears and stepping outside of your comfort zone is a sure sign that you are either confident or fearless - both of which are signs that you are living Your Unique. You don't have to be a social butterfly. But being sociable is required for any type of personal success.
You ask other people's opinion before expressing your own. Hesitating to speak up or speak out in conversation could be a sign that you are not confident of your own opinion - the own voice inside your head. You may have been belittled or called "strange" for expressing certain thoughts. I am not encouraging you to tell everyone your deepest and darkest secrets. I am encouraging you to be bold and confident in expressing your opinions. Don't worry if people disagree or don't get your point. Consistently worrying about what you say is a subtle way of disowning your own Unique perspectives and opinions. Don't be rude or belligerent. But DO express your opinions with confidence. And do not be intimidated by those who are bold in expressing their own opinions.
You are afraid of conflict. When you really fall in love with your Unique, you lose fear and terror of the enemy. You also are not afraid to speak up and speak out because you are confident in who you are. When you shy away from conflict and flip into people-pleasing and performing to make other people like you, it is a sign that you don't value yourself. Loving and living Your Unique is about understanding the value that you bring and not backing down from people who ignore or shame you.
You go along to get along. This one goes along with the conflict avoidance issue. Going along to get along means that you give up what you value to please someone else or make them like you. At the end of the day, you feel miserable or discontent because you did not follow your own heart. When you repeatedly violate your heart in this way, you become discouraged. You may lose your passion and not know exactly why. You just can't put your finger on it. Well, I am here to tell you that going along to get along is the worst way to devalue and demoralize yourself. Stand up and speak out. If you don't like it, say so. Learn how to speak your mind with bold and fierce kindness.
You only hang around or interact with people who have your same opinions and viewpoints. When you hand around people who are just like you, it is called living inside of your comfort zone. And let's face it, all of us crave being comfortable. Advertisers and marketers understand the power of this. So, they consistently use ad copy that shows you being comfortable and carefree. "Make it easy" is a tagline you can add to all of them. But a fulfilling life is never easy. It is like doing a fitness program. You may hate every minute of it, but you know it is for your own good. When you value your Unique, you can also appreciate the Unique in others. So you are willing to be uncomfortable with other people's difference. And the side effect of hanging out with different people is that you will learn to appreciate your difference even more. There is NO ONE else like you!
You try to control things to make them turn out the way you want. This is a biggie for people who have had their feelings hurt deeply by people who didn't appreciate their Unique. They put their shields up and work at controlling every aspect of their own life - and the life of the people around them. The ultimate form of confidence is the willingness to let others be the way they are and do what they choose to do. As a believer of the Bible, I often tell people that even God gave man a choice. Jesus gave people a choice. And when you are confident in who God made you to be, you are willing to give people a choice. This requires you letting go of the reigns of control and being willing to accept what comes your way. You can do this because you are confident in the strength of Your Unique. And you know that what happens to you in life does not define you.
You put other people down for being different. When you disrespect the difference of other people, it is a sign that you don't truly understand or value Uniqueness. Your critical commentary says more about your beliefs and attitudes than it does about the other person. Put-downs are self-reflective. And how you treat people says more about you than it does about them. When you understand, love, and value your own Unique, you will also respect and appreciate the Unique of other people. Your behavior here is self-reflective. Struggling to accept the difference in others is a rejection of the Uniqueness that lies within you.
You find it hard to accept your weaknesses. There is not a person on that planet that is great at everything. Granted, some people have a broader range of talents, gifts, and abilities. But no person can do everything with excellence and passion. When you understand that about yourself, you are willing to let go of the perfection trap of wanting to be everything. It's called proving yourself. If someone points out something that is not so perfect about you, you go into performance mode trying to prove them wrong. This leads to a life that is unfocused and unruly. You try to become all things to all people. And when you do that, you take your focus and energy away from living inside your Unique set of strengths.
You don't take criticism well. The inability to take criticism or truth-telling is a sign that you have a voice inside of your head that is self-critical. When people begin resonating with what you are saying inside of you, your self-defenses kick in. Your argument with them is really a reflection of your argument with yourself. When you are settled in loving Your Unique, truth-telling becomes a gift and not an offense. When people hold the mirror of who I am up to me, I am willing to look deeply into it to see what I learn. Even your worst critic starts with a grain of truth. And when you understand that, you can value the reflection of their words. At the end of the day, you may ultimately disagree with their opinion. But the strength of loving Your Unique means that you are willing to look in the mirror and acknowledge your own truth. And accept it.
You can't say "No" and mean it. When we don't value our Unique, it is a sign that we are not clear on who we are and our purpose in life. And when you are unclear about your purpose, saying "Yes" all of the time is a cheap way of making people like you. You live in fear of being left out or left alone. So you cop out and say "Yes" and the hope that other people will reciprocate. When that doesn't happen, you became angry at them. This is a sign that you are performing to please. When you value your person, the person that you are, you can say "No" to the things that violate who you are. And it doesn't make you feel guilty at all. That's the freedom of loving Your Unique. You can say "No" to the things that don't align with who you are and where you are going. And you are OK with people who choose to leave or ignore you just because you had no time to be side-tracked by their selfish desire to get you to be to them what they needed you to be to them.
This is the short list of things that I have learned in my journey to the peace and freedom of loving my Unique.
There are so many people that have helped me along the way.
People like Iyanla Vanzant who showed me that truth telling is a gift.
People like Brene Brown who showed me that people pleasing and performing to be liked is a cop out.
People like Tony Robbins who taught me the value of being bold and fierce about living out who I am.
People like Zig Ziglar who taught me to walk in integrity wherever I go.
People like Les Brown who helped me to understand the greatness that lies within me.
People like Marcus Buckingham that taught me to see and value my own Unique set of strengths.
People like Seth Godin a thought guru and business leader that is not afraid to let his Unique shine.
People like Lisa Nichols who taught me to say "Yes, yes!" to my most authentic life.
People like Dr. Cindy Trimm that taught me to boldly and courageously declare truth with conviction.
These people are superstars in my book because they embody in different ways the value of loving and living Your Unique. And they are not afraid to let their own Unique shine.
What are you waiting on? It is time for you to break free and be the best you that you can be!
And on your journey, I will always be here cheering for you!