“Be unapologetically who you are.”
If I had a motto in life that would be it. Its brief and rather inelegantly to the point, a catch-all phrase that says everything it needs to in just five simple words.
Though somewhat paraphrased, this quote comes from a book by Steve Maraboli entitled, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience. I’ve never read it, but just those few words serve to remind me of an important life philosophy.
These words remind me that we all have different things to offer, different quirks that make up our personalities. We have a set of interests and values that serve as the foundation of our character, a compilation of experiences and memories that define us. And though we may share bits and pieces of that foundation with loved ones, the set as a whole is uniquely our own and always will be. Seven billion people on the planet, but no two are 100% alike.
Often times I see people put on false masks and hide parts of themselves. They get lost in what’s cool or popular because it’s tweetable or because it’s expected of them and they forget what makes them special. It breaks my heart to see it, knowing I can’t help make them see or understand a philosophy that they’re not ready for.
To me, being unapologetic about who you are means embracing all of the weird and wonderful qualities about yourself. It means accepting all the good things and bad things that make you who you are. It doesn’t mean that you have to be proud of everything – personal growth should always be an ongoing part of life – but you should never apologise for or be ashamed of yourself because of what other people or even society believes that you should be instead. Your only obligation is to yourself and those whom you care about.
I’m confident and happy with who I am as a person. I love that I turn into a giggling fangirl over books and TV shows, love baking cupcakes on the weekends and having picnics at outdoor movies with my friends. I think Clueless is a generational classic movie and I have paintings of Pixar characters on my bedroom wall that I handmade . And that’s 100% and totally ok with me because those are things that I like and love. Anyone who appreciates me for me will see that and love me for it, too. I also know that I don’t have the best temperment, that sometimes I let my mouth speak before my brain gets a chance to filter. But I accept that too as part of myself and as something I have to work on; that’s what it means to be unapologetic about yourself.
It took me a long time to come to terms with this mindset, however. It was a journey that I took on my own, a philosophy that I embraced only after experience forced me into it. Because what I’ve since learned in hindsight is that you can’t push self-confidence and acceptance on someone who isn’t prepared to accept it. You just have to be ready when it finally comes your way.