Sometimes we try to show the world we are flawless in hopes that we will be liked and accepted by everyone, but we can’t please everyone and we shouldn’t try. The beauty of us lies in our vulnerability, our complex emotions, and our authentic imperfections. When we embrace who we are and decide to be authentic, instead of who we think others want us to be, we open ourselves up to real relationships, real happiness, and real success.
There is no need to put on a mask. There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not. You have nothing to prove to anyone else, because…
1. The people worth impressing just want you to be yourself.
In the long run, it’s better to be loathed for who you are than loved for who you are not. In fact, the only relationships that work well in the long run are the ones that make you a better person without changing you into someone other than yourself, and without preventing you from outgrowing the person you used to be.
Ignore the comparisons and expectations knocking at your door. The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. Prove yourself to yourself, not others. The RIGHT people for you will love you for doing so, and they will appreciate all the things about you that the WRONG people are intimidated by. Bottom line: Don’t change so people will like you; be patient, keep being your amazing self, and pretty soon the RIGHT people will love the REAL you.
2. No one else really knows what’s best for YOU.
Don’t lose yourself in your search for acceptance by others. Walk your path confidently and don’t expect anyone else to understand your journey, especially if they have not been exactly where you are going. You have to take the steps that are right for you; no one else walks in your shoes.
Let others take you as you are, or not at all. Speak your truth even if your voice shakes. By being true to yourself, you put something breathtaking into the world that was not there before. You are stunning when your passion and strength shines through as you follow your own path – when you aren’t distracted by the opinions of others. You are powerful when you let your mistakes educate you, and your confidence builds from firsthand experiences – when you know you can fall down, pick yourself up, and move forward without asking for anyone else’s permission. (Read Awaken the Giant Within.)
3. YOU are the only person who can change YOUR life.
In every situation you have ever been in, positive or negative, the one common thread is you. It is your responsibility, and yours alone, to recognize that regardless of what has happened up to this point in your life, you are capable of making choices to change your situation, or to change the way you think about it. Don’t let the opinions of others interfere with this prevailing reality.
What you’re capable of achieving is not a function of what other people think is possible for you. What you’re capable of achieving depends entirely on what you choose to do with your time and energy. So stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. Just keep living your truth. The only people that will fault you for doing so are those who want you to live a lie.
4. Society’s materialistic measurement of worth is worthless.
When you find yourself trapped between what moves you and what society tells you is right for you, always travel the route that makes you feel alive – unless you want everyone to be happy, except you. No matter where life takes you, big cities or small towns, you will inevitably come across others who think they know what’s best for you – people who think they’re better than you – people who think happiness, success and beauty mean the same things to everyone.
They’ll try to measure your worth based on what you have, instead of who you are. But you know better than that – material things don’t matter. Don’t chase the money. Catch up to the ideas and activities that make you come alive. Go for the things of greater value – the things money can’t buy. What matters is having strength of character, an honest heart, and a sense of self-worth. If you’re lucky enough to have any of these things, never sell them. Never sell yourself short. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” and “Simplicity” chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
5. Life isn’t a race; you have nothing to prove.
Everyone wants to get to the top of the mountain first and shout, “Look at me! Look at me!” But the truth is, all your happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing, not while you’re sitting at the top. Enjoy the journey by paying attention to each step. Don’t rush through your life and miss it. Forget where everyone else is in relation to you. This isn’t a race. You get there a little at a time, not all at once.
Let go of the foolish need to prove yourself to everyone else, and you’ll free yourself to accomplish what matters most to you. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you don’t have to always be and do what everyone else is being and doing.
6. The path to all great things passes through failure.
You are an ever-changing work in progress. You don’t have to always be right, you just have to not be too worried about being wrong. Screwing up is part of the process. Looking like a fool sometimes is the only way forward. If you try too hard to impress everyone else with your “perfection,” you will stunt your growth. You will spend all your time looking a certain way, instead of living a certain way.
It’s impossible to live without failing sometimes, unless you live so cautiously that you aren’t really living at all – you’re merely existing. If you’re too afraid of failing in front of others, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful in your own eyes. You have to remember that it doesn’t matter how many times you fail or how messy your journey is, so long as you do not stop taking small steps forward. In the end, those who don’t care that failure is inevitable are the ones that reach their dreams. YOU can be one of them. (Read The Last Lecture.)
7. It’s impossible to please everyone anyway.
Some people will always tell you what you did wrong, and then hesitate to compliment you for what you did right. Don’t be one of them, and don’t put up with them.
When you run into someone who discredits you, disrespects you and treats you poorly for no apparent reason at all, don’t consume yourself with trying to change them or win their approval. And be sure not to leave any space in your heart to hate them. Simply walk away and let karma deal with the things they say and do, because any bit of time you spend on these people will be wasted, and any bit of hate and aggravation in your heart will only hurt you in the end.
You don’t need a standing ovation or a bestseller or a promotion or a million bucks. You are enough right now. You have nothing to prove. Care less about who you are to others and more about who you are to yourself. You will have less heartaches and disappointments the minute you stop seeking from others the validation only YOU can give yourself.