It took me 20 years to realize that no matter how much I thought about it, there was no simple way to follow my mum's’ advice; “just be yourself”. It took me 20 years to realize that so many of those times that I made a decision about who I was, the decision wasn’t really mine. It took me 20 years to realize that most of what I believed about myself, wasn’t actually true. And it took me 20 years to realize, that I, Rosalyn May Balsdon, am okay, just the way I am.
The first 20 years of my life is a blur. A blur of successes, mistakes, a few odd jobs and high school. I’m sure I wasn’t the only teen who felt like they were stumbling around in the dark, trying to find their purpose, trying to fit in and trying to make good friendships at the same time.
At least, I hope it wasn’t just me.
At nineteen years old, I made the decision to move across the globe to Toronto, Canada. I was a confident, shallow, smart girl who knew all the right answers, knew exactly how to please people, but had no idea who I was.
It was here, in Toronto, that I began to watch the people around me build deep, long lasting, real friendships, and it was here, in Toronto, that I began to realize that for some reason, my friendships were never quite like that.
I watched the girls next door bond, not only over their common strengths, but their differences. I watched them cry together, laugh together, just be together… and I began to wonder how I was different. My confident persona slowly decreased, as I realized the common factor these girls had allowing them to build those friendships that I so longingly desired.
They knew who they were. Therefore, they could be known by each other.
“Just be yourself” What a frustrating phrase! “How can I be myself, when I don’t know who that is!”
PTL God knows me better than I know myself. Over the next year and a half, God taught me how to be myself, and the steps I needed to step into that person.
So here it is: The Art of Being Yourself.
1. Don’t compromise.
The first thing I discovered, is that ‘me too’ was one of the most common phrases in my daily vocabulary. The second thing I discovered, is that I only meant it half of the time.
“I have to agree to fit in, and I’ll only be liked if I fit in.”
“I can’t disagree with this person, this will limit our connection!”
Your opinions are your opinions. For reals though. Own them. When you shove aside your own thoughts so that you can pick up someone else’s, not only are you killing yourself off thought by thought but you’re also stealing their right to individuality too! You were created perfectly already. You don’t need to change yourself in order to be liked. You are already loved beyond measure. It’s okay that my favourite colour is yellow and everyone else’s is blue. It’s okay that your favourite music is the Spice Girls when everyone else likes Justin Beiber the best. Silly examples, but it’s real! Be true to you.
2. Be real.
It’s okay, to be not okay. If you need to cry, then cry. If someone hurts you, don’t brush it off because you think it’s a stupid thing to be hurt over. Be real. Feel. How can you be yourself if you pretend that everything is okay when it’s not? In fact, the more you do this, the more hurt you will get. People won’t know that something bothers you unless you tell them. Yep, you don’t have to tell me that doing this takes boldness and vulnerability, but it is a good thing.
Letting people see your heart can be scary to begin with, but it is totally worth it every time! Watching those girls fearlessly talk about their hearts, enabled me to talk about and discover mine, so let us be powerful people who own our emotions. You never know who you could be inspiring to be free! Be the person who loves and accepts people who are real with you. Honour tears and honour laughter.
Along the same lines, if you feel passionate about something, share it! The world needs what you’ve got. Okay, maybe you’re passionate about something super random, or something that no-one else knows anything about, but maybe that’s the point. You were planned with a purpose, and that purpose is imperative to how the world works. What if Martin Luther King Jr had stifled his passion because he was afraid of standing out? Or Nelson Mandela? Or Rosa Parks? Or Jesus? Shout about what makes your heart come alive. In the words of Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive”
Be real. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Be raw. Be fearless. Let people see the real you, emotions, passions and all. Unrehearsed, imperfect & beautiful.
3. Pursue freedom!
So many times, we believe things that just aren’t true. Just like a grey cloud in front of the sun dampens the sun from showing its full self, the lies we believe hide who we actually are and dampen who God made us to be. For a long, long time I believed that I was stupid. Therefore, I started acting stupid, not intentionally, but because I genuinely believed that was part of who I was. One day, God told me that I wasn’t stupid. That I have the mind of Christ. That He actually created me for intelligence. I stopped acting out of stupidity, feeling powerless in my mind, but acted out of who God made me to be. Smart. Clever. Intelligent.
The sunny side (geddit?!) that is who we are, is always there. Just sometimes, we act out of the lies. Sometimes we put a limit on our potential. On our reality.
“I’m not good enough.”
“So and so can do it better.”
“I can’t help being this way, I was born like this.”
“This is my reality. It sucks but I’ll accept it because I’m powerless to change it.”
Nope. You are a powerful person and God’s truth about you is so much bigger than the lies you believe. Give them to Him. The lies are already nailed to the cross, and the truth is waiting behind your cloud for you to grab hold of.
The more you pursue freedom and truth, the more YOU will shine out! You’ll believe that you’re intelligent. Funny. Kind. Good enough. Beautiful. Loved. Not all the other junk you used to believe.
No matter what the world says, you are most attractive as yourself. You don’t need to fight for attention or affection, because you are already loved, chosen, and have been planned with purpose. Everything you need is already inside of you. No need for comparison, envy or shame. You, yes, you, are perfect. Just the way you are. Before the world was made, God thought you up in His heart, and he knew exactly who you needed to be.
Therefore, the world needs what you’ve got. And only you have got it.
So that’s it.
Just be yourself.
Simply, beautifully, you.