Fall is definitely in the air. The clouds are rolling in over my hometown today and the air has a bit of chill, but today, there is brightness and sunshine in my heart and body. Yes! I’m feeling happy and motivated today, and on top of that I am bursting with a heaping amount of gratitude. What better way to start off our month of thanksgiving! (Although every day should be a day of thanks!)
From this point on until the end of December, things are going to get a bit hectic and stressful because of all the holidays descending upon us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue on with our routines of mindful practices and making sure we take care of our own well being first before attending to our busy schedules.
With all that in mind, I know there are going to be plenty of us striving away at creating the perfect holiday experience for ourselves and our families and friends. Sure, it’s all good and well when we’ve crafted the perfectly arranged table where upon our delicious meals will lay and when we’ve acquired all of our perfect gifts for the ones we love under our beautifully decorated tree. But, be honest, how exhausted are we after all is said and done? Not to mention the amount of pressure we put on ourselves to be the perfect host and keep up with the rest of our daily routines all at the same time? It’s a ton of stress for one person. And yet we do it. Why? Because we want to please everyone around us and make them happy and joyful. AND while maybe it is not our first intention, we are looking for that tiny acknowledgement that their happiness was created by our successful attempts at striving to make things happen.
What if we took it further, past the holidays, and throughout the entire year? Don’t most of us strive everyday? We strive to be the best at what we do at our jobs. We strive to be the best parents. To be the best girlfriend or boyfriend. To be the best spouse. To be the best friend. The best in our hobbies and interests. We even go further sometimes and strive to be the hottest or prettiest person around by pushing ourselves to work out hard and limit our calories. All for what? AFFIRMATION. So someone out there that we care or sometimes may not even care about at all, will say “GOOD JOB. You are worthy of praise. Here is my approval.” Then when we receive our imaginary stamp of approval, we go about feeling a little bit better and a little bit more worthy until it wears off and we begin striving AGAIN.
And when does this cycle end? When do we become satisfied? Funny thing is, we don’t. You know why? Because someone out there will always be better than us and that will only drive us harder into striving to be better than them. Being the best is an impossible goal. It simply does not exist because it is unattainable. And yet while some of us may recognize this truth, we continue to do it anyway because deep down, all of us desperately want that approval.
What would happen if we stopped striving?
Have you ever asked yourself that question?
Would your world collapse?
Would you be completely rejected by everyone you know and love?
Or would you, for a moment, feel like the pressure is off? Like you could breathe and simply be yourself. Not having to be the best at everything you identify yourself as, but just being YOU.
I’m sure you would disappoint a few, but in the end, I feel you would be living a much richer and more authentic life, and that’s how we all SHOULD be living. We shouldn’t be striving to be liked or loved or wanted. We should already know that we are enough. We are already loved. We are already amazing no matter how we are.
When you take off that pressure of needing to try too hard, you begin to realize that there is much more to life. That you can enjoy things more fully. That you can live more presently. And that you can be your true authentic self without having to pretend to be anything more. Doesn’t that sound amazing It sounds so freeing, doesn’t it? And yet why do we continue to follow that pattern of trying too hard day after day to be someone we’re not just so others will like us or approve of our behavior?
I read this inspiring story today of a 15 year old Australian girl who tailored her entire life to appear like it was absolutely perfect. Perfect body. Perfect lifestyle. Perfect everything. To everyone, it appeared she was happy but deep down, she was miserable. She was striving. She was trying too hard to get everyone to like her. And although, she succeeded, it was at the cost of her own identity and happiness. She was not living authentically. She was living for everybody else. She decided that she did not want to live this way anymore because she was missing out on real life and being who she truly was. So she is creating a movement to encourage others to live more authentically and to stop striving to be liked through social media. You can view more about her movement on her website www.letsbegamechangers.com.
She, among the many other amazing people in this world I have come across, have inspired me to live more authentically myself. To stop striving for that affirmation. To stop molding myself so that my life will appear more attractive to others. I want to be real. I want to be raw. I want to stop hiding my flaws or shortcomings. I want to go after my dreams, rather than following paths that others want for me to follow. I want to pursue my own passions. I want to create whatever I want to create whether or not it is liked or read or “favorite-d” by anyone. And in the process, I’m going to stop judging others too for wherever they lack. If their lives don’t appear to be put together perfectly, I’m not going to judge them for it or look down upon them. Everyone is at a different point in their journeys. Everyone is brilliant in their own way. We have to stop hating, and start loving more!
Doesn’t it feel freeing to finally have that permission to be ourselves?
To stop trying to hard to attain the unattainable?
To stop pretending?
To stop caring so much about what others think of us or our lives?
I want to encourage you all today to stop striving. Be you. Be the REAL, AUTHENTIC you. Who cares if your turkey doesn’t come out perfectly baked this season? Or if your Christmas tree doesn’t look like it came out of Better Homes magazine. Or if your body is perfectly fit. Or if you’ve eaten too much chocolate today. Or if you’d rather learn French than Business. Or if you’ve decided you want to become a writer instead of something more stable?
WHO CARES! WHO CARES! WHO CARES!
Be you. Live authentic. Live real. And stop striving.
And you know what happens when you stop striving, you begin to see life more beautifully. You become more beautiful. You begin to create more. You begin to inspire more. You begin to feel more confident. Things just happen more naturally and that’s how it should be.
The Self Love Daily Challenge:
Stop striving to be liked and just be you. Live more authentically.