Do you have trouble being true to yourself?
Take heart, you're not alone.
Being true to ourselves doesn't come easily to most of us.
Most of us feel this constant pressure to do what others want us to do, do what we're supposed to do and do what looks successful, right and impressive, but never too "out there," never too far away from the beaten path.
And so, beginning at an early age, we adapt. We play our part, pretending to be someone we're not in order to do what? Fit in? Be accepted? Loved?
Yes, yes, and yes. We learn that we can only be part of a community if we act a certain way and if we don't, we're scared of being judged, left out and, well, not worthy of being loved.
That's the space of mind I was trapped in at the World Domination Summit a few weeks ago.
As part of the WDS fun, there was an inner tube float world record attempt, and I had signed up for it.
The thing was: It was in the cold water, early in the morning, with hundreds of people.
Now, I love water, but only in the tropics, where it's warm, kinda like a hot bathtub. I like mornings, but for things like reflection and waking up, slowly, comfortably. I like people, but not 600 on one spot.
Great idea for me to sign up then, no?
I didn't go. I didn't want to. But all day, I felt like a failure. Another thing in my life I hadn't done. Another chance of having fun I had missed. Could I not just have pushed through?
The truth is, I could have. I could have been cold, could have pretended to like it and could now be holding a world record. But it wouldn't have been me.
I would have done it to earn bragging rights and to feel "cool," but I would have denied myself the right to feel whole and complete, exactly the way I am.
This was my biggest lesson throughout the weekend: the importance of staying true to myself; no excuses necessary.
I'm not someone who likes huge crowds. So I felt very much overwhelmed and depleted all weekend. I was angry for not using every moment, but I just couldn't. Am I a bad person because of that? No.
I don't drink very much and didn't drink with the others. Sure, I felt left out, but am I bad for not drinking? Not at all. I'm just myself.
I need a lot of sleep and I know that, so I didn't party until 3 a.m. I felt very, very, very judged, and maybe I was. But it doesn't matter because I stayed true to myself.
Now, staying true to yourself doesn't mean that you get to make all kind of excuses for not working because "hey, I'm not a worker" or for not making an effort or for not stretching your limits and going out of your comfort zone. No, that's chickening out.
Staying true to yourself is acknowledging who you are, knowing what your body needs, knowing what you need to thrive and be present and not letting peer pressures make you do things you'll later regret.
Being who you truly are, drawing your energy from that true core will make you more powerful than you ever thought possible and will enable you to do things your way.
The beauty of this world ensures that we are all different, and if you happen to be a 25-year-old girl who doesn't like to go to the disco every weekend and would rather stay at home watching Dexter, then go you.
If you're depleted after sitting in a room with 3,000 people all day and you need some "alone" time, then take it.
And if you are energized by being around thousands of people for three days, then have fun and enjoy yourself!
There's no right or wrong to live life. There's no good or bad and no "supposed to." The only rules we have are the ones we build ourselves for ourselves.
Just be the person you are and stay true to that core. Others will always respect that. And if they don't, they're not worthy of being part of your story, part of your life.
For more by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.