In the relentless pursuit of approval, of wondering if people like you, what you look like, how you dress, and what you say, you forget to ask yourself the most important question:
Do you like you?
We never talk about that. We never ask ourselves that. We talk about society’s pressure on us to look a certain way, to be a certain way. We talk about what others expect from us. We talk about the intense expectations that we have to live up to. We ask what men want. We want to know what’s attractive. We want to know how we can be better… for other people.
Within the insanity that is the constant barrage of expectations on who we should be as women, we never take a step back to check in, to see if how we look, how we’re acting, what we’re doing, who we’re with, who we’re friends with… are even the things we like. Amidst the pressure to be an acceptable version of ourselves in order to get the thing we think we want, we distance ourselves from the person we want to be in lieu of becoming the person other people want us to be.
Because, we want to be loved. We want opportunities. We want that great job. We want that great partner. And, we’ve been told since an early age that we should be ourselves, but ourselves should change into something else. We’ve been taught that you have to earn the right to love yourself. We’ve been taught that, as much as we put in the work, we are still a work in progress.
And, throughout all of that, the most important valuation has been discarded. We’ve forgotten to care about whether or not the person we morph ourselves into is actually a person we like. Because, we think that as long as we measure up and as long as we have a set of attractive qualities, then we will be happy, we will have it all. We think that on the other side of someone else’s approval is our own.
We have been told over and over that who we are naturally is not good enough. We’ve never been told that if you like you, then what the hell else matters? Especially because, that’s the truth. That’s the capital T, Truth. What else matters? Nothing.
Do you want that great job you earned by being someone you’re not, by being a person you don’t even like? Do you want someone to fall in love with a version of yourself that you don’t even respect? Do you truly want to shape-shift into a person that you don’t even recognize just so you can have things you think will fill a void?
The only void left to fill is the one that is telling you that you have to earn the right to love yourself. That’s the only thing holding you back, that there’s a certain degree of changing of who you are that will unlock some sort of secret wonderland that contains the life you don’t have. Don’t waste your life trying to find that wonderland. Because, while your eyes are fixed on the horizon of who you think you need to be, you are missing what’s happening right in front of you and what’s right in front of you is your life. You are in it. You are not on pause just because you aren’t measuring up to who you think you should measure up to.
Your life is happening right now. It doesn’t begin on the other side of some makeover. Don’t get trapped within the confines of the constant need to improve upon yourself. It’s wonderful to grow and evolve, but that happens naturally, if you’d just let it. Don’t let the life you have get spent on the relentless pursuit of a daydream life you’ve built up in your mind. It is our biggest blind spot that we think whatever hand we’ve been dealt is inadequate, that our life would be “better if…” We will spend our entire lives in a daydream and that will be our biggest regret in the end.
Do you like you? Inevitably, that’s the only question we need to ask ourselves. It’s the only one that matters.