What happens when you are not true to yourself? You lose yourself--literally! You wake up, look in the mirror and wonder: Where in the hell did I go? The reason I know this fact of life is because I lost myself.
When I think about how I lost myself, I think about the physical and sexual abuse that twisted me into someone unrecognizable. I experienced physical and sexual abuse early in my life by a member of my family. At the time, I didn't think I would lose myself. My focus was on getting through the pain. I didn't know that you never really get over the pain of physical and sexual abuse back then. I do know now that it gets easier with time. In my case, once the word got out that I was a victim of sexual abuse, guys kept trying me. If I wasn't being raped, I was trying not to get raped. So, for me, time is healing but it has literally taken all of my time to get my healing. And I'm still getting it!
What does staying true to yourself look like? It looks like loving yourself, forgiving yourself, listening to yourself, and not allowing other people to tell you who you are as a person. If I had known this bit of information that I am sharing with you during my crying years, I would be better for it now. However, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Life has made me stronger for all my troubles.
Here is a small roadmap on how to be true to yourself:
Embrace Vulnerability--When you are true to yourself, you express yourself. You value your own voice. You advocate for yourself. When someone harms you, you speak out.
Choose Your Response to Adversity--Pastor Solomon Kinloch, Jr. of Triumph Church often says, "You can't control what people do to you, but you can control how you respond." On that note, I don't have to look "hellish" when people are raising all kinds of hell to hurt me. You can still have a positive attitude with a bunch of hell-raisers taunting you, knowing that GOD is in control.
Do You! -- When I say 'do you,' I am not saying only do you. What you learned in kindergarten still holds true today: Be kind, be honest, respect others, follow directions, listen. I'm saying love on yourself by forgiving yourself and doing things to take care of yourself even when no one is looking. Self-care is singing, dancing, drawing, writing, reading, exercising, taking a bath, volunteering, etc.. Be as good as you can to yourself--period.
Staying true to yourself means loving on yourself. It is that simple. Personally, I can't live my life without GOD in it. I've tried over and over to live my life without worshipping GOD. It doesn't work. There is no other way to live for me! Even when I mess up by not doing what GOD wants me to do, I come back asking GOD for forgiveness. I can't live my life without GOD. There is no other way.
In conclusion, the best advice I ever received was from my 8th grade childhood friend who wrote in my yearbook, "Stay true to yourself!" I wondered what that really meant when I was graduating from middle school. Now, I know. When I fall down, I get back up, which is called staying true to yourself.
Here I am engaging in inspired living!