Originally published on The Just Girl Project
From a young age, girls are taught to be polite, to blend in, and to fit the status quo.
Be ambitious! But if you try too hard, people might think you are a bossy know-it-all.
Assert yourself! But make sure you do not hurt someone else’s feelings.
Express your opinions! But be careful not to offend someone.
Dress nice and elegant! But don’t show too much skin.
Do you worry that people will think you’re strange or lame if you wear an outfit that doesn’t match the latest trends? Do you always say “yes” so people don’t think you’re rude? Do you hide your ambition and determination, because you don’t want other women or men to be intimidated, or think you’re a showoff?
Whatever category you fall into, please know that you are not alone. Women have been programmed to live for the comfort of others. Being mindful and respectful of the people around you are wonderful qualities. But when you hesitate to express yourself authentically, it can become detrimental to your personal development and growth. So how can you live without fear of retribution or shame, while embracing your truest self
1. Stop the comparison
A flower does not think of competing with the other flower next to it. It just blooms. – Zen Shin
Each one of us harbors a personalized energy force. There is no one like you in the entire universe. That is something to be celebrated, not hidden. Comparison destroys happiness and fulfillment. You are a perfect combination of everything life has provided you. Your experiences, good and bad, have shaped you into who you are! And guess what? You have the power to take those unique experiences and insights, and use it to your advantage!
Ask yourself: Who have you become? What have you learned? What do you want to share with the world? What changes do you want to make, if any? The collective impact of your life experience allows you to reflect and engage with your truest self.
To compare yourself to others, and use their life experiences to shape your own, will diminish your own self-worth, and prevent you from discovering your authentic purpose in life. Accept that you are destined to follow your own path, regardless of what the world is doing. The sky's the limit!
2. What other people think about you is none of your business.
It is normal to worry what people think. It makes sense that you may fear trying something new, sharing an opinion, or chasing a grand goal. Outside opinions cause undue stress, which can sneak up on you when you’re trying to be brave. However, when you make decisions based on fear and judgement, you prevent yourself from embracing your genuine goals.
For example, let’s say your parents want you to pursue a degree in engineering, but you are passionate about English. They tell you “an English degree will get you nowhere. You’ll never build a lucrative career with that education.” After absorbing their advice, you change majors, preventing yourself from expressing your passion. What happens when you make these kinds of fear-based decisions? You start living for others, and stop yourself from becoming the amazing person you were meant to be. You lose passion and motivation, and life becomes dull. You never reach your full potential.
When you embrace your passions and move forward, without fear of judgment from others, you begin the process of writing a story that was created for you. Remember, you are the only one who has to walk in your shoes.
3. You have the power.
It is easy to forget that we have the power to make choices. When we become more aware of what makes us happy, we can make conscious decisions to build a life that fills our souls with passion. To start embracing your uniqueness, think about what lights you up. When you avoid focusing on comparison and judgement, it becomes easier to envision your ideal life.
What do you want to be doing with your time? What types of people do you want to connect with? How do you want to express yourself – physically, verbally, and emotionally? You have the power to start living authentically. Amazing doors can open for you when you start to embrace your personal talents, gifts, and personality.
Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ― Howard Thurman
What makes you come alive?