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I Wish I Had the Courage to be True to Myself

Last week’s post mentioned the five regrets of the dying according to Hospice. I wanted to take the next five weeks and focus on one regret a week with the hopes of helping you live the life you want now so that when the time comes to moving on from this world into the next, you have no regrets.

The regret I want to focus on this week is “I wish I had the courage to be true to myself and not what other’s expected of me”. What does it mean to be true to yourself? It means being the person that you were meant to be. It means reaching back to when you were five years old and thought you could do and be anything you wanted and doing it.  It means not wearing a mask when facing the world. It means allowing yourself to accept and permitting the world to see that you are not perfect. It means allowing yourself to be vulnerable. It means wearing your heart on your sleeve knowing that it could possibly get hurt.  It means being the weird, crazy, awesome person that you are and making no apologies for it.

I think many of us can relate to this feeling. We live our lives wanting to make other people happy believing that in return for their happiness we, ourselves, will be happy. We want to make our parents, our spouses, our friends, our children, etc. happy but in the process we lose who we are. We go through life being the person that everyone but ourselves need and want. When we do this, we begin to forget who we are and more importantly that we matter. We forget that happiness comes from within us and not from outside.  Living your life this way only takes you to a place of anger, helplessness, loss, and regret. We feel angry for letting who we are sit on the sidelines, we feel helpless thinking that our designated roles put on us by those around us and society dictate who we should be, we feel lost not knowing who we are and wondering how we can find ourselves and regret for ever allowing ourselves to feel this way.

Many of you maybe thinking, how do I find myself and why is that even important. Life is like an oxygen mask on an airplane, you have to put yours on first before helping those around you. If you don’t have the oxygen you need, you will be of no use to anyone because you will not be around long enough to do anything of value. Taking care of yourself and putting your needs first is like that oxygen. If you don’t learn to be true to who you are, allow your true self to shine through, how will you will be any good to those around you. Don’t you want your friends and family to get the best version of you? Don’t you want to be the best version of you? Don’t you want people to see the real you? You will find, the more you are true to yourself and let that self shine in the world, the more people will respond positively to you. For those people that matter in your life, that’s all they want for you and from you, for you to be the you that makes you happy.

Finding your true self is a process that begins with small steps.

  1. Start by giving yourself permission to put you first. Don’t feel guilty for making you a priority.

  2. Set aside time each day for yourself, whether that is taking a walk, exercising, taking yourself out for coffee, or just spending time alone.

  3. Get to know yourself. Try new things that you always wanted to try like dancing, swimming, improv, etc. Start checking off that bucket list.

  4. Speak only kind words to yourself (no negative speak). Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend.

  5. Learn to love ALL of you not just the best parts. We are complex beings that have attributes and faults.

What can you do this week to start learning to be true to yourself? What steps can you take to make you a priority in your life? Start now with no regrets and no guilt for giving yourself the attention you need and deserve.

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