This post was originally posted on Sheer Spirit, a cool blog much like this one focused on being a spiritual girl in a material world, back in December. To peep it in it's original form go to Essential You-ness.
“How would you define style?” I sat in my desk across from my instructor and thought long and hard for a second. We were talking about writing style but as the lone fashion girl in a room filled with an attorney, an administrator, a former reporter, an accountant, and a stay at home mom, my instructor felt I was the expert on defining the abstract idea of “style.” The best answer I could come up with was the concept of you-ness borrowed from the movie You, Me and Dupree. While it satisfied my instructor you-ness is a vague a notion as style, it’s something you can cultivate but cannot teach and when it’s absent you know it. You-ness is the essential driving force of your life, much like style drives your wardrobe choices, and if you don’t go out of your way to nurture it, you’ll be totally screwed.
I spent the past 15 years or so living fully in my them-ness, a state where I was defined by what I wanted “them” to think about me. This nameless, faceless “they” dictated what I wore, where I hung out & with who, what jobs were worthy of time, and even what I said at cocktail parties. I was constantly trying to make the perfect first impression in hopes that people would accept my self deprecating humor, impeccable taste in clothes and range of knowledge in pop culture first and then eventually accept me. Not that I gave them the chance to get to know the real me; I barely knew the real me. That all changed after a break up and job loss--in a 3 month span--forced me to stand on my own and stop relying on whoever “they” are for my sense of who I am.
Once the rug was pulled out from under me and I didn’t have a boyfriend to approve of my story ideas or a job to validate me, all I had was me. No titles, no outside approval, nothing be me, my convictions, my passions, my light and my dark. There was no one to blame, push away or lean on. For the first time in years, I began to hear and listen to that still little voice inside telling me that it would be ok. The more I listened, the more it showed up and the more I showed up. Yes, I read self help books, confided in a therapist, dove into yoga and began to mediate not medicate but I would have never found any of those things if I was busy ignoring that inner voice and doing what everyone told me to.
The operative word in the phrase “your life” is your. No one can tell you what to do, say, eat, wear or make you feel inferior without you acquiescing. So stop listening to them, me included, and listen to you because at the end of the day your most important and long lasting relationship is the one you have with yourself. Start nurturing your you-ness, conquering your shyness, embracing your flyness, and realize that you’ll never be happy with the money, the ring, the job or the shoes if you aren’t happy with you first.