Then vs. Now: Authenticity

Have you ever opened an invitation to a reunion and had your stomach fall out your butt at the thought of seeing old friends? 

But I haven't lost that weight that everyone knows I've been talking about getting rid of
But my job hasn't taken off like I bet everyone else's has
But that guy that I thought I could do better than is going to be there and I don't even have a date to go with me

All realistic responses, in my experience. Today we are going to move past that and look at the next chapter of the story: the steps you take to show others that you are better now than you were then.

It's a pressure that we all feel. You go away for a while and, when you come back, you have to have some incredible proof of success and achievement. God forbid you make a mistake and move out before you're ready. How dare you even consider not going to grad school or, even worse, choosing a career that doesn't require school. And what about that man you were supposed to find? Everyone else is going to be married and showing off pictures of their beautiful little devils. 

Enter the crash diet, the desperate Eharmony or FarmersOnly.com profile (please tell me you have seen this commercial- it's hilarious!), a pretend white-collar job, and a name brand dress or suit that you charged to a credit card. 

What is wrong with us? Not you, US. It's a universal problem.

Why do you think that mistakes, or even happiness from an unusual situation is, makes you unsuccessful? I can tell you that appearing to be perfect isn't always the answer. You don't have to have the best answer pre-planned to any question that might be asked. "I don't know" and "I messed up" are just as valuable. It shows others that you are genuine and that they can let their guard down too. Before you know it, you're past the rough spot in the conversation and back to reminiscing about all of your old memories.

Losing weight, dressing well, having a jaw-dropping date, and appearing perfect on the outside do not equate to a life full of happiness, and the more often you do it watch everyone be awed by you for it, the further and further you wander down the road of insecurity. If you show up, be you, and show others that you are walking down the road towards success, I promise you it will be worth so much more than pretending that you are already there.

I was the girl who went away to private school, lost over fifty pounds, got good scholarship money, and loved life by the ocean or, at least, that's who everyone thought I was when I came home for Christmas at the end of my first semester. They didn't even know half of the story. The part where I moved rooms 8 weeks in because of a roommate conflict, spent most of my time alone in my room, changed my major because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, felt like a failure for struggling in classes, and was battling a serious eating disorder. That's not even the end. I don't talk to any of those people at all anymore and I think it's because I was "perfect". Perfect doesn't equate to a great friend. It's intimidating, threatening, and it makes others want to run the other way in fear of judgement. Lay the perfect version of you that's in your mind to rest. See what happens. Authenticity is worth so much more.

Be authentic today. Decide that you are enough. Your approval is the only one that matters.

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