As humans we have a deep desire to be accepted, understood, seen and heard and to feel like we belong. This stems from our early tribal days, where if you were left out from the tribe, your whole survival was at risk. If you were left outside of your tribe, you were vulnerable to many external threats and therefore you faced the risk of not finding food for yourself and starving to death or not finding a shelter and freezing to death or being eaten up by a predator. To be accepted and feel a sense of belonging are deeply ingrained in our core needs.
Still to this day we feel like we will die if we don’t get accepted by the people around us, so much so that in order to avoid this uncomfortable feeling we instead have unconsciously chosen to shape-shift ourselves in accordance with what we think everyone else expects us to be. We are so caught up in this conditioning thinking that we need to be the version of ourselves that others want us to be, that we have gone out of our own way to fit into the societal norms and groups, at the expense of losing touch with who we are at the core. This, oftentimes unconscious pattern, has cost us losing touch with our own truth. No wonder that the most common regret of the dying has been that they wished they had had the courage to live a life true to themselves, rather than living a life others expected of them.
The deep desire to belong and how it pushed us further away from our own truth
What Does it Mean to be Unapologetically Yourself?
Being unapologetically you means becoming conscious of all of your conditioning and patterns of who society and the people around you taught you to be and to instead give yourself permission to truly open up to your true authentic self. It’s about stripping back all the layers of who you are not and about making the conscious decision to no longer be any other version that you think other people want you to be, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel at first.
In the journey to becoming unapologetically yourself it's not like you're becoming someone different. It’s about you no longer feeling the need to seek external validation and acceptance, and instead giving it to yourself. It’s about you no longer feeling the need to hide your true authentic self and your full expression due to the fear of being judged or left out.
Becoming unapologetically you is an incredibly worthwhile journey that allows you to live more freely and to fully express yourself. When you release the weight of other people’s expectations and opinions off your shoulders, you begin to live your life differently and it feels liberating. Being unapologetically yourself is the shortcut to more happiness, peace and fulfilment in life.
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How to Be Unapologetically You
Become conscious of all your conditioning.You need to start stripping back the layers of your past conditioning and address your trauma, old wounds, fears and worries - because all of these hold you back from expressing your true authentic self.
- Whose attention and acceptance did you crave as a child? Who did you have to be and what did you have to do in order to be seen, heard, validated and accepted?
- What patterns keep repeating themselves in your life? e.g. same kind of relationships or job circumstances
- When you think of times in your past, where have you changed who you are at your core and instead played a version you thought you should be based on someone else?
- What are the beliefs you hold about yourself and who you are supposed to be?
Spend more time alone and get to know yourself at the core.In order to show up unapologetically, you need to first know yourself from the inside out. Most people never take the time for themselves to contemplate on what they truly desire in life, and instead they float through life, often ending up living lives identical to their parents, family members and friends.
Take 30 minutes to sit down and journal on the following:
- Who are you when nobody else sees?
- If nobody was mad at you for showing up as your true expression, how would you show up?
- What do you truly desire in life?
- What are your values? Goals? Needs?
- What would it look like if you were to be all of you, unapologetically?
- If you were yourself unapologetically, in what ways would your life look different? What would your interactions with other people look like? What would you do on a daily basis? How would your actions be different? How would you feel? Where would you be spending your time?
- How will you honor all of yourself (also the parts of yourself that you don’t fancy that much)?
Stop apologizing for who you are and instead honor your truth.When you’re in alignment with your truth, there is nothing to be sorry for, because that’s when you're acting based on your intuition. When you're unapologetically yourself you will meet people along the way that won't like you or resonate with you, so what!? What’s the worst that could happen!? That’s part of the game of being unapologetically yourself, and you will soon notice that you save yourself time and energy because those people won't stick around. Instead you will find yourself having more time to focus on the people that resonate with you and because those relationships are based on authenticity and truth, they will also be much deeper and feel more fulfilling.
Stop apologizing for who you are, because every time you do, you are basically implying that there is something wrong with who you are. Apologizing keeps you small and is oftentimes an action that comes from fear: fear of being rejected, judged or abandoned by your actions, words or opinions. Apologizing for who you are is also tied to self-worth and not feeling good enough, which also stems from an unhealed wound. So stop saying I’m sorry for talking too much, for being too loud, for being emotional and showing your feelings, for setting firm boundaries, for desiring more in your life. By being unapologetically yourself you also show others that it is okay for them to be themselves, and you allow others to do the same. It doesn’t mean you should never again apologize. But rather start being more mindful of your apologies, and reserve them for the moments when you actually hurt someone or did something you didn’t mean to.
Set healthy and firm boundaries.An important part of being unapologetically you and living an unapologetic life is setting firm boundaries and clear expectations. It means you refuse to shape-shift and compromise who you are to conform, and it can feel scary at first, especially if you're used to always being there for other people. Start small and say no more often. If people invite you somewhere you don’t want to go, just say no instead of coming up with excuses for why you cannot attend. The more you say no to things that are out of alignment with you, the more you say yes to yourself and your own desires. Protect your time and energy, because they are your most valuable assets. Honor yourself so much so that you say no more often to things that don’t light you up. Boundaries are showing other people how you want to be treated, by treating yourself that way first. And trust me, people will respect you more when you are authentic. Saying yes when you really want to say no is being dishonest and it sets you up for failure because you'll end up living a life of not being seen and liked for who you truly are.
- What are you saying yes/no to that doesn’t actually serve you and makes you feel good?
- What are you tolerating and allowing that doesn’t serve you?
Be okay with not being liked and accepted.This one is deeply ingrained in us, from the times when we were living in tribes. You will never be accepted and liked by everyone no matter what you do, so why even try to act in a way that you think other people will approve of? You will always be deemed too sensitive, too loud, too this too that, so why are you even trying to act for anyone else? By being someone you're not you will set yourself up for failure, so just be yourself.
Stop pleasing other people or trying to fit in.These are behaviours based on past conditioning. It’s time to let go of the behaviours of showing up for everyone else first because you want them to like and accept you. Instead go inwards, and learn to like and accept yourself.
- In what ways have you been pleasing people and tried to fit in?
- What actions have you taken out of fear of being left out?
Shine your light and own who you are.Give yourself full permission to show all of you to the world. Some people will not like it that you have changed, because they feel that they cannot control you anymore and you're more unpredictable to them - so it will trigger them and shine light on a part of them that they need to heal. Be aware that some people might even try to dim your light, but this always comes from their own unhealed parts.
Along the journey to becoming unapologetically you, some people will naturally fall away. Yes, it will hurt at the moment. But you showing up unapologetically as your true self and owning all of you will still be so much more worthwhile than having people around you that likes a version of you that you truly are not. Let them go, you will soon notice that you gain new, even more fulfilling relationships. Make a conscious decision right now not to give the power to other people to dictate your emotions, beliefs, thoughts and decisions. It’s your life so own the shit out of it!
- How have other people’s opinions and expectations held you back in life and stopped you from doing things you would have wanted to but didn’t do e.g. out of fear of judgement?
Create a self-care practice and stick with it.It doesn’t have to be a practice that takes one hour, in fact, I highly recommend you start off with something as short and simple as taking 5 minutes per day to yourself. The goal here is to do it every single day, no matter what! Here are some questions to help you find your thing:
- What do you love doing?
- What is something you’ve been meant to do for a long time but have been putting off because of being busy?
- What makes you tick?
- What is something that, if you did it constantly on a daily basis, you know you would feel amazing?
Still not sure? Don’t feel bad. After so many years of putting off your needs and wants in order to be there for everyone else, it’s completely normal if the answers don’t come to you immediately. Here are some of my favorites:
- Taking a bath
- Going for a stroll along the beach
- Putting makeup on
- Going for a massage
- Doing breathwork for 10 minutes
- Listening to an audiobook or podcast
- Moisturizing my whole body with oil
Work on the fear of being seen and judged for who you truly are.The truth is that you will be judged anyway, so why not show up as your true authentic self and be judged for being 100% yourself? After you give yourself more time and start your self-care practice, you will learn to know yourself at such a deep level that it doesn’t matter what other people think about you because you know who you are at your core. Remember that what other people think of you is none of your business!
- What would happen if you stopped caring about what other people think of you?
- What's the worst that could happen if other people saw your true authentic self?
- What have you been afraid of?
Stop seeking outside validation and instead validate yourself.Ask yourself, and be honest with yourself here: Are you seeking outside validation in order to feel worthy and good enough? If this is something you recognize yourself doing, please have compassion for yourself. The most important part is that you now are aware of this part of you and from here on you can make the conscious decision to change this pattern.
- What have you been relying on for validation and feeling worthy and good enough?
- How can you start validating yourself?