On Being Yourself [And Other Fears]

Love yourself! 
Even the most confident people can have trouble with this. How do I know? I am one of them. I have great and very healthy self confidence, and yet, I was surprised when an old fear of mine resurfaced recently. At its core, the fear is of abandonment. Of course, it's a pretty tried and true fear, but this one specifically had to do with my friendships.

The thing is, I had this whole phase where I was soooo carefree. I partied a ton. I wouldn't care about things like where my future was headed, and life just wasn't all that serious. When things came up, I was like, "cool, let's be casual about it all." It was easy to write things off, or just plain laugh them off. It's "that phase." Friendships are easy and convenient. Showing up is half the battle. 

Anyway, those days started to wan a couple of years ago and when I quit smoking cigarettes, I found that I totally backed away from a lot of the things I used to do, especially the partying. I began changing--in good ways--and for lack of a better group of words, I was growing up. 

Recently, this became a little polarized for me as I started to actually internalize a lot of these lessons and how they changed things within me. One example is the fact that I am, despite myself, a goodie two shoes in a lot of ways. Despite my past, despite my partying, I am the designated driver in many instances, or just feel a sense of responsibility to things that I just can't shake.

The fact that I don't have to put up with certain things I don't like anymore was another realization I was beginning to internalize. If I saw someone doing something I didn't like, I could walk away. Or not participate. The only problem was that I didn't know how to give voice to these things, especially when it came to my friends. 

This is not a new issue for me. It was also an issue for me in *cough* high school *cough*. The ironic part is, I can communicate pretty well with a lot of different people. Obviously on my blog, but also in my work settings and even within my family. With some of my friends...well, that is another story entirely. I have this fear that if I am honest with my friends about my goodie two shoes boundaries and my certain quirks (like the fact that I just don't like going to bars) that they will decide that they don't like me and just abandon the friendship. True story. 

Somewhere in my soul searching on the subject (which included being a hermit for a few weeks and cooking meatballs....) I came to the conclusion that there was only one solution to the problem. I had to get over it. My fear was that if I am honest with people they will dislike me and then discontinue their friendship with me... okay. And the problem is? The real problem was I wasn't being comfortable and secure in who I was, even though I desperately wanted to be. Because if people are going to walk away from friendships, that is probably inevitable anyway. And if you can't be yourself, well, what's the point?

So, I strapped on my big girl panties, pulled myself up by my bootstraps, and whispered to myself a couple more cliches, and decided that if people didn't want to be my friends because I was who I was, then it was what it was. And I made a vow to myself: 

Dear Self, 

I vow to love you the way you deserve to be loved. I will stand up for you--myself--and have faith that who I am is good enough because IT IS. I will not be ashamed of you, or tuck you away in some recess of my mind. If people don't like you, then that is okay. Not everyone will like you, but I love you despite that. 

You and me, self, we are gonna be okay. 


Sometimes being yourself (even in a normal scenario) is a hard thing to do. Sometimes we all feel ashamed that we fall outside of the box of what others want to do or find acceptable. What I am keeping in mind these days is that it's okay to be different. You don't have to be like anyone else, you only have to be like yourself. I talk a lot about self esteem and I feel it really is the key to life. 

Love yourself and when you find yourself unable to speak or stand up for yourself, dig deep and find that confidence. Because you are enough, just the way you are! If other people don't see it that way, well, it's just a matter of taste. Personally, I choose ME! 

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