“So, you’re telling me that you went to this great university and got your degree, and now you’re just going to drop everything and become a yoga teacher?”
I remember the tone of disappointment and judgment in his voice as he asked me this question.
I remember my face flushing, my thoughts racing.
I remember feeling small. Cornered. Trapped.
“No, I’m still going to get a job. I’m going to teach yoga on the side, just for fun.” I responded quickly.
Phew. I’m safe now, I thought. Now he can’t see through me.
He looked reassured. The conversation had gone back into a place of familiar terrain. It was no longer as difficult to navigate.
Looking back at it now, I realize we have moments like these every single day. Moments where the world is asking, “Who are you, really?” In that moment, you have a choice to respond truthfully, in line with your soul’s deepest desires and cravings, or to put on the mask of what we think the world wants to see. In that moment, you can choose to courageously be yourself, or to be whatever it is that the world wants you to be.
That one conversation steered me toward a path that would continue to make me feel small, cornered, trapped. By stepping into the version of myself who I thought the world wanted to see, I was literally telling my true self: You’re not important to me. You’re not valuable enough for me to listen to what you want. Shut up for a sec, will ya? I’m trying to live my life here.
It’s not a surprise this didn’t work for long.
When you live in a way that’s molded around someone else’s standards, it’s impossible to experience true peace. Not to mention, it’s pretty exhausting trying to always be all the things that society wants you to be.
If you weren’t afraid of how others would respond, what would you say?
What would you say when you’re introducing yourself to a new person for the first time?
What things would you be proud of, instead of forcing to hide away deep inside of you?
In those moments where we are presented with an opportunity to shine our true self forward, how do you show up? In that moment, you can choose to be what the world wants you to be, or you can choose to be yourself.
And that, my friends, is true power.
That is the way you move forward.
That is the way you live a life of alignment, balance, fulfillment, and happiness.