The simple life. I know that’s all I want. I don’t know what other people are searching for, but a life void of complications and drama in my own little utopia is all I ever wished for. Why does that seem so unattainable? My reply is, we make things complicated unnecessarily. Simplicity requires first and foremost, authenticity. You have to be who you really are; not what others expect you to be. If you live your life according to the expectations of others, then you are not living your life for you. Authenticity is defined as the quality of being authentic; genuine, original, legitimate, valid. We live in a world where being fake is normal, and it is glamorized. Everything is filtered and everyone is trying to be something or someone they’re not. The culture we live in is image – obsessed, driven by what is accepted and who accepts us. Even a simple conversation can leave you feeling vulnerable or exposed when you are being honest because people are so accustomed to being lied to. Trust me, I had to have a completely honest conversation this week and it felt like ripping a band aid and exposing myself down to my organs. You can’t airbrush a conversation or add a filter to your vulnerability like you do a picture on social media.
Simple is unattainable because we refuse to remove the masks we wear daily. Those masks that we chose to wear to hide our real selves, or the “super” versions of ourselves. It may be our social media persona mask, our greatest friend in the world mask, the consummate professional mask, hell even the relationship mask. These masks become so ingrained into our daily lives that when we do take them off, we don’t even recognize the person staring at us in the mirror. We’ve become an impersonator in our own bodies, left wondering – who the hell am I? There’s hope, and the simple life is attainable. We can throw those masks away and choose to be our authentic selves. There is no law that says we must conform to societal norms. We can march to the beat of our own drum, let our freak flags fly, be who we are and let those that accept us do so, and those that don’t – well; long walk and short pier sounds appropriate to me.
Why is it necessary to fit in when it is our ability to stand out is that makes us unique, unlike anyone else. I’ve watered myself down to accommodate others before in my life and ended up so unhappy. Trying to be someone you’re not is not good for your mental health, which if you hang around here enough, you know I am all about what is best for your mental health. After suffering from depression and anxiety – partly due to my own mask wearing, I realized it was time to take off my mask and let the world have me as I am. If they can’t handle it, that’s on them – not me. We live in a world where everyone is not going to accept the real you, even if they once did. I own a shirt that say’s, “You’ll be too much for some people, those are not your people.” I know very few truer words ever spoken. You may not be pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, tall enough, or you may not have enough money or status for some, but none of that defines you. It’s about character and your true self.
Finding your authentic self takes some work. It requires you to tap into your courage, to go soul – searching, and to find clarity. Authentic isn’t an action, it is who we are. We have to do the work to undo all the years of building up our inauthentic being. Let me tell you something you may not know, you are always going to be criticized, so you may as well do what makes you happy without the masks. When you find the real you, it will be like falling in love for the first time, talking to someone who no matter how long you go without talking – makes you feel alive because you’ve always shared a connection without masks, or finding something that you love without question. So, how can I find myself?
- Stop caring about what other people think. Trying to fit in is a sure way to lose yourself. The less time we spend living up to other’s expectations we can live up to our own and express ourselves as we should, without reservation and with our real feelings. People that don’t want to know the real us, are not worth our time to begin with…hello!
- Embrace your imperfections. No one is perfect and allowing those imperfections to show is proof that we are human. Accepting all flaws and allowing yourself the room to make mistakes in order to flourish is proof that those masks we used to hide behind are unnecessary. We are all works in progress, never finished pieces. We are living, breathing, walking, talking works of art, and even art is imperfect.
- Unplug. If you can’t successfully be who you really are in life, in person, one on one while on any social media platform – lose it! Get rid of it, just let it go. It is serving you no purpose but hindering your growth.
- Follow your passions, not what’s popular. You don’t have to follow what’s popular or trending at the moment. That is just another way of following the crowd. Do you. What is it that makes you happy or interests you? You aren’t a fan of Bridgerton…don’t watch it. Watch the Expanse instead if that’s what you want. Everyone has a Peleton, but you would rather get out in nature and ride your bike in the fresh air while listening to your music…do that. Someone else’s passions do not have to be yours, and that is what is important.
- Have Fun! Nothing is more simple and more authentic than having fun. Let your hair down and let go. Don’t think about it, just be in the moment and take it all in. Enjoy it just for you, and don’t necessarily share it with anyone else but the person or people that you’re with. Simple and attainable if you make the choice to let go and drop all pretenses and take off the masks.
The ability to live your simple and authentic life is within reach. You just have to want it bad enough. Take off those masks that limit and hide who we really are, know when to say no, learn yourself – truly, and initiate hard limits with people around you, by all means, stop filtering yourself for the benefit of others. If the people in your life can’t handle the unadulterated you, maybe those aren’t your people.