You’re Allowed to Be Yourself

Us women hold ourselves to the most impossible standards. At least I do.

Society (and the Internet) tells me I’m supposed to:

You get the idea. It basically never ends.

But then I realized that no one else really holds me to the high standards that I hold myself.

And if anyone else really does judge me for these things, then I can learn to ignore them.

Because I have better things to do with my time than worry about what other people think.

I’m allowed to take a break. I’m allowed to breathe.

Life isn’t about getting to the finish line first and checking all the boxes along the way.

I recently had a small epiphany about this.

I was listening to some music that I really liked on Spotify, but I felt like I wasn’t allowed to like it.

That’s when it occurred to me.

There’s really no such thing as guilty pleasure music. If you like it, you like it. No need to be embarrassed or hide the fact.

You’re allowed to like things that aren’t popular.

You’re allowed to like things that are popular.

Liking what you like without shame doesn’t turn you into a one-dimensional stereotype.

In fact, the opposite is true. Often the things we hide about ourselves are the things that make us multifaceted and interesting.

So here’s my list. My manifesto for myself, and for other women too.

It’s my reminder that I am not a one-dimensional person.

That I matter.

That being “cool” means absolutely nothing.

That being “authentic” is more than a cliché, but something to truly run toward.

 

My Manifesto of Authenticity

You don’t need to pretend to be someone that you’re not in order to be accepted.

You’re allowed to like the kinds of music you actually like. Not what you feel you should listen to.

You are not required to workout everyday. You are not lazy for taking a day off. Or even a whole season of life off.

You’re allowed to wear clothes you like, unafraid of what perceptions people may make about you.

You’re allowed to be comfortable and not care.

You’re allowed to dress up if you feel like it.

You’re allowed to wear athleticwear when you aren’t working out. (Yes, leggings are pants. Because I said so.)

You’re allowed to drink all the tea / coffee you want. Especially when it’s cold and / or rainy. Or just a good day for drinking coffee / tea.

You don’t need to go to everything you’re invited to.

You don’t have to give a reason for everything you do.

You don’t need to have a strong opinion on every controversial / popular thing.

You don’t have to be “ladylike.”

You’re allowed to have dreams and ambitions for yourself. (Yes, even if you’re married with kids. Don’t stop dreaming.)

You’re allowed to have emotions. You’re allowed to be complicated. You’re allowed to have a good cry without being labeled weak.

You don’t need to fit into one, easy category or stereotype. (No one really does, anyway.)

You’re allowed to ask questions if you don’t understand something – without embarrassment or shame.

You’re allowed to speak up if something makes you uncomfortable.

You’re allowed to set boundaries for yourself and for your family.

You’re allowed to go slowly and take your time in our hurried, time-centric culture.

It’s okay to be unreachable. The world will not stop spinning because you turned your phone off for a few hours.

It’s okay to keep traditions you like and ditch traditions you don’t.

It’s okay to say you don’t know.

It’s okay to change your mind.

It’s okay to speak the truth in love.

You don’t have to shut up.

You don’t have to pretend anymore.

You’re allowed to love yourself.

You’re allowed to take care of yourself.

You’re allowed to be yourself. Authentic. Flaws and all.

 

Photography by Agnieszka Boeske

4 Comments

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  1. AH-MEN! I love your manifesto; it resonates so much with me. I’ve learned that I don’t have to feel responsible for whether or not everyone in the room is happy and having a good time. I don’t have to wear cool ankle-length skirts and my hair brushed long (neither of which are practical for my lifestyle or very comfortable for me due to my sensory issues) just because I think it makes me look like a cool hippie. I don’t have to continually buy books to prove that I like books, and I don’t have to be a huge indie music fan when all I really want to listen to is The Who.
    Performing is second nature to me, and the past couple years have been a hard journey of trying to embrace who I am without the “crazy extroverted traveler” performance going on– awkwardness and all. It’s tough, but so much better in the long run.

  2. This is such a great post! I just re-read it a couple times & boy it sure hits home for me. Thank you!

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