One of the best advice that my parents would tell my sister and I growing up is to be yourself. Although, at the time it seemed really simple to say, just as it’s easy to tell someone don’t worry or you’ll be fine. However, it really ties in with authenticity, vulnerability and honesty. It’s honesty to yourself, and embracing your quirks, interests, and personality. The moments that I feel the most myself, are when I am doing something I love. Whether that’s reading, writing, going for a run, learning something new, spending time with loved ones, talking to a cat, laughing about nothing, or being surrounded by nature. It’s most often the little things.
Staying true to your personal values, acting from your heart and doing the things that bring enjoyment into your life. Having awareness that everyone experiences and perceives things in different ways can build empathy. It also allows one to judge less, and see things from different perspectives. How we judge others, can also say a lot about how we judge ourselves. In order to truly embrace ourselves, we have to love, respect, forgive and accept ourselves. There are days where I feel challenged more than others, where I feel like I should be kinder to myself. Those are the moments where I have to remind myself that no body is perfect.
I was recently re-reading The Little Prince, and one of the most golden words are: “You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.” The beauty of children is that they are unapologetically themselves. One of the best sounds is hearing a baby burst out laughing or a choir of kids singing. You are yourself, in a world where every person has a perception of someone, but we are filled with layers, stories, and experiences of hurt and laughter. Everyone has their own story.
The art of being yourself, is living with what truly matters in your life. It’s striving to always be better than you were yesterday, and to continuously grow and challenge yourself. As someone who’s incredibly tough on myself, I know that I’m my own biggest critic. I remember conversing with a dear friend, and she said that we can be very encouraging towards our friends. We have confidence in them and we believe in them. However, when it comes to ourselves, we need to be our own best friend and be kinder to ourselves. It’s those quiet moments, where we are by ourselves, where we must face ourselves. Those are precious moments to reflect.
“You’re not what you have; you’re not what you do; you’re not even who you love, or who loves you. There has to be something underneath all that.” – Caroline McHugh
Art by Liekeland