Life in recovery with MS has been a struggle. I have learned some hard lessons. Through it all, the theme of “be yourself” keeps coming up. I know I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with saying what you mean, doing what you love, or relaxing around certain people, right? I usually blame it on the MS and brain fog but the truth is some days I am not feeling confident and comfortable with being me. I have been digging a little deeper lately through working the steps in NA and starting to accept me for me! The steps help me to uncover another layer of authenticity, and free myself to be unapologetically me..
Not being you is exhausting! Did you ever consider the amount of energy it takes to keep up appearances, attempting to be perfect (like it will happen), pleasing other people (is it possible?), and trying to make yourself fit into situations which simply aren’t you? When we say “be yourself”, some of us even wonder what it means. I honestly am not sure I even knew myself for many years. I had a glimpse of me during my first go around at recovery and then it got lost in all of the “stuff” I got back as a result of my recovery.
Here are three practical strategies to help you maximize your best you:
1. Say what you need to say.
Do you beat around the bush figuring people will know what you mean when you say something? Are you too afraid to speak up afraid of what others will think? Have you found yourself telling a little lie to avoid the embarrassment of telling the truth? These are clear signs you are not being true to yourself. This hit me like a brick – SMACK! Try this simple exercise: Identify one situation when you have not said what you need to say. You know, you beat around the bush in the hopes someone understood. Got the situation? I want to you go to the person and just say it flat out. If you can’t do it right now, mark it on your calendar to do it. There was a time when I had no filters. I said what I needed to say and didn’t worry about what people thought. Early in my first recovery, I was eager to say what I was thinking and I didn’t worry about what people thought. Over the years, things started changing. Those old habits came back and I started the “people pleasing game again”. We are as sick as our secrets, no matter how small those secrets are. Authenticity means being forthright. Don’t waste your precious energy pretending all is well when it isn’t. Take the word “FINE” out of your vocabulary. Don’t let FEAR keep you in hiding!
2. Do what you know is right.
There is nothing more authentic than living your values. When your actions don’t line up with your beliefs, inner turmoil is sure to follow. Do you actually know what your core values are?
3. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.
Okay, this is a tough one for me! The truth is when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, it is usually because we haven’t given ourselves permission to be human. In other words, we haven’t given ourselves permission to be imperfect. We always want things to be perfect. The perfect weight, the perfect size, the perfect family, the perfect house… it is all part of the “I will be happy when” syndrome. When you relax, you enjoy yourself more. It is time we value the journey as much, if not more than, the destination. There will be bumps along the road – embrace them. Climb over them and keep moving forward, they don’t have to keep you from reaching your purpose (or your goals).
What situations cause you to not be yourself? What are you afraid will happen if you show people the real you?
Today, I will accept my weight where it is knowing I am eating healthier and NOT gaining weight. I will accept my limitations because of my MS and will not longer hid what I can’t do. I will accept my business is my business and will not play the comparison game.
I am stomping out the inner gremlins and being true to me…. what about you?