Before we were bombarded with messages of who we should be, how we should act, what to and what not to say...who were we??
So many of us get to our adult years and realize that we don't even know who we are. Myself included.
The first time I ever heard of the concept of "loving myself" or "getting to know myself" I was like...what does that even mean? And where do I even start?
Well, it all kinda started one step at a time. But the biggest step was uncovering all the bullshit I picked up along the way that buried me. And the next step was to begin sloughing off the layers bit by bit.
Sometimes I'll do guided meditations that prompt me to recover that childlike joy I experienced at a young age. Sometimes it can be really hard for me to remember a time when I felt joyful and free as a child. For a while I wasn't sure I ever even experienced that.
But the other day, I remembered some videos that I watched of myself as a two year old. From the beginning, I was super independent and always just loved to entertain myself. My mom would come over to me with the camera and say "Lauren, dance for the camera! Jump for the camera"...wanting me to perform. My sister would jump in front of me and say "look mom, I can dance! I can jump!" I could tell that even as a young girl, I preferred it that way. I wanted my sister to take the spotlight. I didn't feel it was something I needed.
In another video I can recall, my mom once again had to track me down as I wandered off. Preferring my own company always. She came over to get me on camera and I don't remember what I said, all I know is I pulled off my cute little Ray-bans, made a silly face and walked away.
Growing up, I was given messages that my introverted ways were wrong. That it was weird that I wanted to be alone so often. That it was odd that I found small talk to be draining. That I should be like my sister...fun, charming, and outgoing. I just never felt that I was. And because I was treated as if something was wrong with me, I spent years trying to change myself.
A few years ago, my boyfriend's son moved in with us full time. Something he started bringing up was how he wanted me to be around more often, to come out of my room, and to be more friendly. I struggled with that...I felt bad that I wanted to hide away so often. I once again felt like there was something wrong with me. And I became resentful.
Going to parties has also often left me feeling drained and wanting to hide away. And because of that I've avoided having a social life and putting myself out there for so many years.
But just recently, as I've thrown off the layers of expectations placed on me...I've realized something. I protect my energy because it's precious to me. When I do show up, I want to show up as the best, most loving version of myself. I spend a lot of time in my head, which is how I'm able to do creative, inspiring work. And if I'm happiest when I get a lot of alone time, that's totally fine!
I told my boyfriend's son that I just require more alone time than most people, and it's something he'll have to accept about me. I've allowed myself to throw away any expectations I have for myself when going to parties. I've been working on just showing up as me, in whatever way that feels like.
I can't fully connect with people if I'm not my true, authentic, and vulnerable self. I'd rather be true to myself and be happy than to try to live up to someone's expectations and be miserable.
If you're feeling unsure about who you are and what your role is in this world, start by noticing the expectations and roles that are being put onto you. Are they really you? Feel those expectations in your body. Do they feel right or wrong? There's nothing wrong with becoming your own advocate and protecting your energy. No one else is gonna do it for you!
Being who you are is the best gift you can give the world, so start to release who you think you should be and exchange it for that beautiful, gorgeous soul living inside of you.