I know it’s been a minute since we last spoke, and I apologize for that.
Well, actually, I don’t. You see I’ve been on a journey, it’s been a rather long one. It’s ironically still taking place. The destination was a better version of myself. For that, I will never apologize, and have come to realize, you actually owe it the world to LEAVE where and who you are behind. Why? Because they’re waiting on you!
When I say “you,” I don’t mean the “you” that they know at the office. I don’t mean the “you” that your family, friends, or social media knows. I’m not even referring the “you” that your church or professional organization knows. Because, let’s be honest… NONE OF THAT is actually you.
If we can be honest, you probably aren’t even dressing the way you want to. Some of you don’t speak, eat, or do the things you really want to out of one concept.
If I actually was who I wanted to be… what would “they” say. Would they still accept me? Would I still have this job? Would I still make this money? Would they still LOVE me? Love? Now wait a minute, that’s a little deep, right? NOPE. Some of you have to wear a mask in front of your significant other because if they really saw who you were… you don’t even know if they would still love you. With all of your secrets… With everything you’ve done... With everything you’re actually interested in… With all of your imperfections and flaws… With the person you actually have the desire to be, you go to sleep wondering… “Would they still love me if they knew?”
It comes in many forms, but I’m here to tell you, no matter how fear masks itself… as insecurity, pain, hardness, running, trust issues, fighting, coldness, business, bitterness, distraction, delay, denial, shame, jokes… it all has the same result. You will never be the best version of yourself until you are willing to become unapologetic.
So here are 3 steps to getting there:
1. Stop everything and find YOURSELF
In 2017, I was busy. I was working 40 hours a week, volunteering for a nonprofit, launching a business, eliminating debt, writing blogs, traveling the world, partying, relocating, making money, spending money, healing, hurting, looking for a relationship, ending old ones… I was busy. Not productive, just busy.
You see I had recently left the church after 26 years of being a “holy roller.” I left because personal relationships, conflict and disappoint were interfering with my actual spiritual walk. However, in leaving, I quickly realized my identity was tied to things, people, and their opinions of me. I had, in my 26 years of living, managed to become a people pleaser… and without those people around to please anymore… I felt completely lost.
So, I began burying myself in other things trying to figure out who I was. I said “yes” to everything, including money, events, social gatherings, trips, toxic relationships and my career, in an attempt to fill the emptiness, I felt inside, and find out who was I meant to be. However, doing all of that only made things worse. I felt overwhelmed and unfulfilled, not to mention tired because now I had even MORE filters than I had before.
I went to therapy which helped significantly and actually changed my life and prompted me to seek answers. However, It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that everything came to a standstill. I was out of money, single, lonely, jobless, and had lost everything I seemingly worked so hard to gain. But, it was in that moment, when I was stripped of everything, that it was quiet enough for me to actually think about who it was I wanted to be.
So, step 1 in becoming unapologetic is to know that in order to become productive, rather than busy, you must stop everything that is a distraction. If that means ending or pausing a friendship or relationship, do it. If that means slowing down on your jobs , business or projects, do it. If that means leaving organizations or groups that don’t align with who you think you are meant to be, do it. If that means cutting off social media or going out, do it. Most of all, when you do any of these things, do it with the mindset that none of these people or places were not benefitting from you anyway because they weren’t actually getting they best version of you.
Remember, though, that this is not an excuse to isolate yourself. That’s a big mistake we often confuse for growth. When I pulled away from everything and everyone, I intentionally kept 2 friends by my side, that I talked to daily, who knew everything I was doing every step of the way because they were my accountability partners. On your quest to find yourself, you should never lose yourself. It can be easy to fall into depression once you remove all of that surface stuff and toxic relationships. Those 2-3 people who act as your anchors can be enough community for you to keep a healthy mindset in the process. I have since rejoined the church and society but no longer feel the need to please anyone but God.
2. Forgive Yourself
There will be a time within your journey of becoming unapologetic, that you feel like an idiot. It’s usually right after you analyze how much time you’ve wasted on things and people that don’t matter. You may get angry, you may cry, you may even feel hopeless or like you don’t know where to start now.
All of this normal. Why? Because your “normal” is now gone. You can literally go into shock from too much change. I’m telling you this, so you can know what is happening, but also so you can move on from it.
Forgive yourself, we all make mistakes. Even those people who judge you for not meeting their expectations of you. Energy is not created nor destroyed, merely transferred. So, if you spend all your time hating yourself or your past, you won’t have the energy it takes to begin again.
3. Let Go of People Pleasing
I am talking to myself here but come on into the conversation. To this day, I carry a lot of guilt, and even more shame, that I am constantly working through. Most of it comes from that fact, that ever since I was 12 years old I’ve wanted to do one thing more than anything in this world, art. I’m gifted in all thing’s art, but one more specifically, interior design. However, I had a skill for math and science. How many of you know that, in society, your skill can be more socially acceptable than your gift?
So, it was at 12 years old that I learned the art of people pleasing. I became apologetic for wanting to do art more than I wanted to be a doctor, scientist, or engineer. I liked math, but I loved art. Yet I apologized to the world because I was often told how smart I was, how much potential I had, or how much money I was going to make.
For the rest of my life… Interior design, art, writing, music, poetry, dance, acting, photography, and entrepreneurship... all took a backseat to math, technology, science, business, and Corporate America all because I was ashamed and fearful that it wasn’t good enough. That I was not good enough. This left me feeling unfulfilled at every job because I had no creative outlet and could never actually be myself.
However, Amber, at her best self is 100 times better than the Amber anyone else can define me to be. Not to mention $100,000 made interior designing is still the same as $100,000 engineering. Even if at the end of this journey I decide I want to be an Accountant or a Baker… it doesn’t matter. I still enjoy business and technology, but to designate it as the only path for me is ignorant and limiting to what life is truly all about!
At the end of the day, no one else has to live your life, except you. When that job is gone, when your career is over, when your kids grow up, when your spouse, parents, friends and relatives pass away… you will still have to live with your choices.
So, stop trying to please everyone and walk in your truth unapologetically.
No, this won’t happen overnight. It may start with you wearing that shirt you’ve been wanting to but you were not sure what the people at your job would think. It may also start with your telling the person you’re interested in, that you want to date them. Maybe it’s time for you to get on google and start looking your dream job.
I can’t define with being unapologetic means to you. But I can tell you that the world is waiting on the other side, so start that journey today. I cant want to meet you and I support whoever you decide to be, even if no one else does, and so does God.
If your enjoyed this blog, subscribe to the CEO Need to Know to Blog for the receive the next week's blog!