As a kid, I was constantly told by my family I was pretty.
But I never believed them.
Instead, I believed what the media told me was beautiful. I believed what my peers said, and I kept searching for a magical potion to make me look better.
As a little girl, I associated being beautiful with being liked. Subconsciously, I bought into the false idea that I couldn't fit in unless I changed my appearance and personality.
So, my teenage years and early 20s involved me manipulating who I really was, just so I could fit in and have friends.
All I was really looking for was to be liked by everyone. However, that destructive process led me to lose my unique essence.
By trying to please every group I deemed superior, I never took the time to ask myself what I like and what I don't.
What are MY beliefs?
Fortunately, life has a beautiful way of bringing you what you need when you least expect it.
After failing in more ways than one, I've learned I am likable exactly the way I am. Here are just a few ways you can stop beating yourself up and start accepting not everyone will like you.
But please know you are more likable when you let go of the people pleasing and start being your authentic self.
1. Show up as yourself.
This crazy, messy, exciting, joyous life needs us to be our most authentic selves.
We all have unique gifts that must be shared with the world: There is absolutely no risk that comes from sharing our gifts with others.
The risk is much greater when we hold onto our gifts for fear of being judged. It's our unexpressed gifts, dreams and ideas that destroy our self-esteem. We can even undergo depression and anxiety when we repress our talents.
Obviously, there aren't any shortcuts to becoming your authentic self. It will require commitment and serious inner work. When we allow ourselves to look within and see the real person hiding underneath all that camouflage and protection, we witness the good, the bad and the ugly.
By accepting we aren't perfect, we take the first step toward living a more authentic life.
2. Forgive yourself because you love yourself.
We have all made mistakes in life. No matter whether we were shitty friends or horrible partners, we have all had experiences in our lives we aren't proud of.
Maybe we cheated on someone who trusted us, or maybe we lied to get what we wanted.
It doesn't matter what happened in the past. Today is a new day, and you get to start fresh.
Cultivating kindness for yourself is hard work. After years of constantly berating ourselves for all our past mistakes, it can be a very real struggle to stop and choose to love ourselves instead.
But when you're finally able to honor and accept your past, you begin to move forward and love yourself.
Think about all the lessons your past mistakes have taught you.
Be grateful for those lessons: Life has a way of teaching us exactly what we need to learn at the perfect time.
Loving yourself may seem like a really hard thing to do. But the more you practice being kind to yourself, the closer you come to being your authentic self.
3. Practice mindfulness.
This isn't some hippie, new-age concept.
Hear me out: Authentic people accept their life experiences and allow themselves to feel any and all emotions that arise. They don't repress any of their feelings or allow them to boil up inside.
Anxiety and guilt develop from a lack of being present because you're either stuck in the past or projecting your fears onto the future.
If we begin to doubt our ability to handle any challenges that come into our lives, we create unnecessary anxiety in our lives. Authentic people experience life challenges from a loving place.
Being liked involves being authentic.
Authenticity requires the daily practice of being kinder to ourselves. By embracing our own truth – no matter what that may be – we become less concerned about people pleasing or being rejected.
And there is absolutely nothing more liberating for your well-being than being comfortable in your own skin.