Sometimes, when I'm in the shower, I like to pretend I am giving a Ted Talk. It’s one of those secret dreams of mine I haven’t shared with anyone.
Yes, one day I want to give a Ted Talk and I often practice in the shower. It goes a little something like this.
I’m introduced and eloquently float out and take my spot center stage. I stand before an audience of hundreds waiting for me to speak. To bare my soul, share my truth and change their lives in some way.
Then maybe all the pain I've experienced in mine will finally have meaning.
I pause and scan the audience as the nerves settle in my belly. And then I begin. Words flow gracefully from my lips as I deliberately and meticulously speak.
Line after line, I stand before the audience with grace and ease and pure poetry escapes from my mouth and I feel alive. As if I am finally living in full alignment with my purpose.
And this is what I would say:
When I was a little girl I was desperate to be accepted and loved by everyone.
I learned early on that if I said and did the right things, molding myself to every person in my life, I would always feel a sense of ease and acceptance.
I would always feel, loved.
But that really wasn't the case.
As I grew older, trying to create that sense of peace started to be become like draping individual chains over my shoulders. Eventually the stories and facade became too heavy. I hit a wall and could no longer continue carrying that weight around.
This was about the time I stumbled across my first personal development book. It was a few months after I turned twenty and I had just made my very first big life decision all on my own. And I was scared as hell to go down this new path.
I had made the decision to drop out of college.
This decision proceeded a massive nervous breakdown in the middle of a raging frat party. My friends found me sobbing uncontrollably, wrapped in a tiny ball sitting on a bed in the basement. They couldn't console me. I was unconsolable. In shock.
They took me home and called my mom. It was 2 am. The next weekend I was driving back to Seattle to tell my family I was leaving school and in that one decision, I felt one of the weights release and fall to the ground.
This decision changed the course of my life. It sparked something deep within me that would take years to turn into a full fledge fire.
You see, it was the first moment I realize that I am not going to be for everyone and neither would my decisions and I had to be okay with that. It sparked the courage to finally explore what I really wanted and ask some really big questions.
Years later I stand before you with one message and one message only. I truly hope you take it in.
Under no circumstances, whatsoever, are you going to be for everyone either. And that is okay.
It's easy to get caught up in what other's think of our lives and it's really easy to paint a pretty picture that we have it all figured out and that our lives are picture perfect.
We do this because we are all longing for the same thing; to be loved and accepted.
But here is the thing, no matter how hard you try, I promise you, there will always be someone who is just itching to find your flaws. To point out your mistakes, bring you down to 'reality,' burst your bubble and keep you feeling small.
Certain individuals will look your life and criticize and judge no matter how perfect you paint it.
So drop the act. Lighten up your load a little.
There are always going to be people who have so many opinions about YOUR life because they are too afraid to step back and address the areas they are unhappy with in their own.
Caring too much what family and friends, acquaintances, and strangers think is a paralyzing behavior. It will prevent you from serving your purpose and doing those things that your heart desires.
I've realized that when I get caught up in thinking about what I should say and do with each and every person in my life I’m actually deeply neglecting my own needs, wants and desires. I'm completely out of alignment and in some place in my life I am not giving myself the love I deserve but rather, judging myself in some way.
As cliché as it may sound, it took a year of dealing with a rare cancer diagnoses to get some real clarity into the trajectory of my life and accept this one very crucial and important thing; I will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be for everyone.
I may not even be for people in my very own family and I'm learning to be okay with this too.
Every single day I have to fight the urge to crawl back under the covers where it is safe and warm. Where people can't see me. Where I can play as small and feel as safe as I want to.
Why? All because I'm scared of what other's think?
I’m not perfect. I’m a work in progress and I still find myself grasping for acceptance and the idea that to be loved, I have to say and do everything in accordance with everyone else.
I still fall short of my best self every single day.
However, I often think about those who conquered great things in their lives didn't do so by playing small or spending too much time caring about how they looked to others. If they had, they would have never done the thing that helped the person that changed the lives. Now would they?
And in the great words of Oprah, this is what I know to for sure:
You will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be for everyone.
You will not, under any circumstance whatsoever, be accepted by all.
And you will absolutely, under no circumstance whatsoever, be able to make everyone happy.
And you will absolutely, under no circumstance whatsoever, be able to fit a square peg in a round hole. So stop trying.
So please, I ask this of you with so much love in my heart, just be you. Every single beautiful part of you.
If we continue living our lives for everyone else, we will never truly know what we are capable of creating. Your purpose is in no way shape or forms the same as any other person's in this lifetime. When you step back and look at it that way, maybe you can find the strength to act in accordance with your own self, your own desires, your own needs.
I want to leave you with just one more thing before I go.
Before you open your mouth to speak to anyone, pause for just a moment and ask yourself this, "Is what I am about to say imparting my own judgments onto them? If so, don't say it.
When I have nothing more to say I turn off the water and dry myself off.
Then I go back to my life and leave my dream in the shower for another day.