The teenage years are hard. Cliques and cliqués—having to maintain a façade of false confidence to fit in. Heaven forbid you say or do the wrong thing and your reputation is ruined. You spend a little more time primping in the bathroom and a little less time worrying about your studies.
They are hard and for this reason: they leave a lasting impression that many women carry with them for the rest of their lives. Putting aside our true inner selves and morphing into what society wants becomes second nature. Only when we’re alone in our car, behind closed doors, or otherwise sure we’re alone do we dare focus on what’s going on inside. Only when it’s safe.
There’s a tendency for women to get stuck in the same circles over and over again throughout the various stages of their lives. First, we try to blend in with the “cool” crowd. Then, it’s the “other cool crowd” or “party crowd”. After that, with a ring on our finger, it’s the “married crowd” and post-baby, it’s with the other moms. Women are social creatures by nature, and we’re forever trying to define our social circles.
Why? To ward away negative feelings of detachment and aloneness. It can be terrifying to feel alone, misunderstood, or unacknowledged. It’s much easier to be “a part of” than “apart from”. This is a concept that’s instilled in us early on in life, and unfortunately, oftentimes, it takes tragedy or an otherwise extreme life event to center us and bring us back to what matters most – ourselves. For, it’s amid tragedy that we’re often made to realize who are true allies are or are forced into realizing that at the end of the day, we are essentially alone.
This is why, although there is much devastation attached to tragedy, there can also be immense healing and self-discovery. Once you are propelled through a journey back to self, you’ll never return to who you were before. Those who have completed the process feel ‘full’ for the first time, maybe ever. They feel courageous and complete, comfortable in their own skins.
Of course, this evolution doesn’t have to stem from a traumatic event. We can all choose to wake up one day and say enough is enough. It’s never too late to hit the restart button and choose to love ourselves. All we need is a little motivation to inspire us, and perhaps a few extra minutes of quiet time.
Once we understand who we are and what makes us tick, a few wonderful things start to happen. We create a domino-effect of positive energy:
We begin to focus on goals aligned with what makes us happy. Maybe you love your mom’s club, your book club, attending Toastmasters, and playing online trivia. Cool. These are things you want in life—not what others want for you. This is very important. Keep doing what you love and loving what you do, and this will be evident, so evident that…
We fulfill the law of attraction. We become more positive when we’re happy with ourselves and the journey we’re on. And, this is evident to others. The law of attraction says that by focusing on positivity or negativity, we bring positive or negative experiences into our lives. Thus, point three…
We project happiness. We’re so filled with positive energy, that this energy almost visibility illuminates our steps. Everyone can’t help but notice, so…
We attract others. Positive energy is contagious, and people start asking how they can get in on your secret. It’s hard not to notice you’re killin’ it, and they want what you’re having.
By attracting positivity, our dreams come true. Believing in yourself is the first step to fulfilling even your most fantastic goals. If you project confidence, others will see this, and they’ll believe in you, too. When others believe in you, you are presented with opportunities. It’s as simple as that.
Choosing to start this journey is like choosing to embark on a positive, self-fulfilling prophecy, much as deciding to disengage from self and continue trying to “fit in” is like accepting a path of discontentment. We are all faced with decisions, large or small, throughout our lives. At the end of the day, the choice is yours.
by Sara E. Teller