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Be the Real You, Don’t Change to Impress Others

When I was a kid, I didn’t always fit in. Growing up in Louisville, KY — a real college sports town — my artsy, peace-loving, and authority-questioning traits weren’t always welcomed. For example, in 7th grade I got suspended because on my school’s Community Service Day they made us rake the school playground.

Well, I realized that this was a private school and the playground was on private property and that we weren’t really serving the community, we were serving the school. So, I just stood there with the rake in my hand, silently and peacefully protesting.

As the science teacher, who really lacked a sense of humor, came walking toward me to tell me to start raking, I dropped the rake and started running in circles around the playground evading him. I won, or so I thought, until I was later told by the principal that I was suspended for disrespecting a teacher. I didn’t even know that was a thing (I was not always the wisest kid 🙂)

I decided high school would be different. I studied up on the sports teams and players, watched enough games to learn how the commentators spoke, and had all the right sports team apparel. I did it! I was at the cool kids’ lunch table, every now and then chiming in to repeat what someone else had just said in a slightly different way, like a child trying to fake it through a book report.

I kept up the charade of a sports fan until my first day of art college. People there didn’t even know what a football was. I finally found my place, but I lost a decade. I lost the chance to make genuine friendships, deep connections, and I missed out on discovering my true self (something I talk a lot about in my book, Finding Your True Self: A Love Story).

When we are inauthentic, trying to craft a persona 24/7, we become lost in our heads. We cannot clearly hear or see or connect with what is happening around us. Getting out of our head isn’t about living with our head in the clouds, it’s about finding peace in the here and now. When we listen to ourself, honor ourself, and live in alignment with our highest intentions, life becomes effortless and doubt falls away. More on this here

In the week ahead, let your loving, creative, freak flag fly. Be extra you. Dance alone. Dance with someone. Laugh, have fun, be silly. The world needs it more than ever. Really do something so silly you laugh out loud.

It’s easy to say, “Be happy,” but it’s a lot harder to do. So what can we do? I talk more about that in this video. One thing that happens so often is that we get lost on our quest for happiness. I explain where we go wrong, why we get lost, and how we can get back on the right track in this video.)

Much love,

Todd


PS – Throughout various stages of life, nearly all of us will face some kind of abandonment, neglect, separation or avoidance by someone we care about. In my latest podcast episode, I provide some tools to heal from abandonment trauma.

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