On a day like Halloween when everyone is pretending to be someone they aren’t, it’s hard not to notice that today isn’t the only day this occurs. In fact, many of us are going about our lives trying to be somebody else. Dressing how we think we should dress. Acting how we think we should act. Talking how we think we should talk. All for what? Maybe to fit in, maybe for someone to like us more, maybe to get closer to where we want to be. But no matter what the circumstance, people always appreciate authenticity. Plus, it’s simple to sniff out a phony. So, what happens when we aren’t even aware of being out of alignment with who we truly are? This mostly comes down to intuition, but there are a few avenues you can go to check in with yourself and see if you are being 100% you. If you notice that you aren’t, here are some ways to reel in your real self and dump out the rest.
Don’t Dress The Part
Some people went to schools that required uniforms. Others went to schools that enforced dress codes. Either way, we grew up being told what to wear and what not to wear. Then we go off to work and experience that on a whole new level. Business formal, business professional, business casual. Then we have events like black tie, white tie, formal, semi-formal, cocktail and so on. Needless to say, we play a lot of parts. Now, I know we can’t change the rules in one day and we must comply to some degree with these policies, that doesn’t mean that when you have time to yourself, you have to dress like someone you aren’t. Whether your outfits have been influenced by the media, stereotypes, trends, insecurities, or outsiders’ opinions, wearing something that isn’t truly you will always show. When you start to dress in a way that fully expresses the real you, your confidence will grow and people will begin to relate with you in a whole new way. You may even inspire people to do the same.
Dress True To You
We usually instinctively know when we are wearing something that just doesn’t feel like us. We also know when we have something on that makes us feel like we can take over the world. You have to go with your gut on this one. Spend a day going through your closet and separating the “this is so me” from the “what was I thinking”. Try on outfits and see how they make you feel. If you don’t feel comfortable, powerful, sexy, happy, inspired, energized or confident, put it in the “to go” pile. Once you have finished, take the “not you” clothes to a second-hand store and either get some money back, or exchange for items that are more you. Now remember, we are always changing and growing so our style will go along with it. It’s okay to like something today that, in a year, doesn’t suit you at all. The important piece to note is that is has to make you feel good and the only reason that you are wearing whatever it is, is because you love it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
Don’t Talk The Talk
So often we don’t speak our mind because we are scared how it will land on the other person. Even more so, we tend to not ask for what we want or need to know. This can stem from a variety of reasons such as not wanting to burden someone, not wanting to come across in a certain way, not wanting to upset anybody, or not wanting anyone to dislike us. The truth of the matter is that there are over 7 billion people on this planet, which means there are 7 billion minds and 7 billion opinions. Not to mention there are about 7 thousand different languages. It’s impossible for everyone to perceive things the same way as you. I had a teacher in University once tell me that the story is always in the interpretation of the reader. This relates so perfectly with how we speak. No matter how you phrase something or how carefully you choose your words, the listener is always going to understand it in whatever way makes sense to them, which is usually determined by their upbringing, their views on the world, their mental state at the moment, or their own meanings attached to the words you decided to use. Needless to say, crafting your speech to suit another isn’t worth the tireless effort.
Talk True To You
We’ve heard the phrase plenty of times, “say what you mean, mean what you say”. Feeling unheard or misunderstood can be very frustrating. Although we can’t control how other people receive what we say, it is up to us to fully express ourselves in our speech. Of course, it is always important to uphold care and compassion in what we say, but that doesn’t mean to be so cautious of what comes out of your mouth that you end up saying nothing at all. Or even worse, you become a puppet to the ventriloquists of society. If you don’t want to talk or gossip about something, don’t. If you don’t want to say things in a certain way, no need to. If you don’t feel comfortable using certain words, choose other ones. It’s really simple. And on the flip side, don’t be scared to speak your mind. Always be bold and ask for what you want. The worse that can happen is someone says no, which is going to be the same answer you get if you don’t ask at all. Also, if you believe in something strongly, share it. You may inspire a movement or even change peoples’ lives. Stop caring so much about what people will think of you. Just speak your truth, whatever that may be. You might even surprise yourself with how many people feel the same way as you and how much deeper your connections will be once you are able to express yourself with complete honesty and authenticity. You will even begin to attract likeminded people and you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by others that do the same.
Don’t Walk The Walk
Acting like others is the easiest way to lose ourselves. If we are already dressing like them and talking like them, it’s pretty easy to slip into their behaviors. It’s sort of like that terrible feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you are doing something you aren’t supposed to do, or something that doesn’t register with your own morals and values. Just because someone may be in a position that you want to be in, or they have certain possessions or people around them that you’d like to have, doesn’t mean that you will end up in their shoes if you act the same way as them. This isn’t to say that you can’t be inspired by someone or be open to mentorship. These powerful people have gotten to where they are because they stayed true to who they were. People are attracted to people who are transparently them. It’s easier to trust somebody like that. If someone is untrue to themselves, what does that make you think they will be to you?
Walk True To You
Start to take mental note of why you do the things you do. Are your actions really coming from your own heart and mind, or did you learn them from someone else and therefor you are just replicating their actions to try and attract the same results? Make an effort to always act out of integrity. If you don’t feel like something is right for you, don’t do it. And if you are shying away from being truly you, it’s time to make a change. Do the things you want to do. Be the way you want to be. And don’t ever worry about what other people think about it. A friend recently told me a powerful quote that rings very true for this exact scenario. It goes, “what people think of me is none of my business”. People will think what they want to think and say what they want to say, but that shouldn’t ever matter to you. Just keep being true to you and feeling good in your own skin. You were made uniquely you, not to change into somebody else, but to express your own voice, your own style, and to share who you truly are.