I remember the feeling I had when I read Alexandra Stoddard’s book Daring to Be Yourself. Daring—now that is a strong word. Daring to be true to ourselves is quite startling, and many times it is a matter of courage. And why aren’t we “ourselves” on the outside if it differs from the inside? It is always amusing when you hear someone say, “She is just not herself these days.” I would love to ask in response, “How do you know?” Why don’t we express our true feelings when asked?
Now, let me say this: daring to be ourselves does not mean saying whatever comes across our minds without tact. There is a vast difference between being ourselves and being hurtful, especially when we really would like to unleash our inner feelings and empty our minds of feelings we have pent up.
Alexandra’s book is about finding your style and letting it spill over into your home, your dress, and your daily life. For me her book encouraged me to learn to express my thoughts and ideas, especially when someone is leading me in another direction. I just love it when I visit a friend’s home and it truly reflects their personality and interest. It’s a pleasant contrast to other homes where the décor feels installed, with no reflection of the people living there. So I understand Alexandra’s philosophy on establishing a style that reflects you and your taste.
I am sure you have had the same experiences I have had when an overzealous sales person tries to convince you that an outfit looks great but you know it is hideous. Or worse, we try to be someone we are not to be accepted in a group of people that we really don’t enjoy at all. It is time to free ourselves from trying to be accepted by people that do not bring out the best in us. The people that we should be surrounding ourselves with are people that accept us for who we are and enhance our lives.
I had an acquaintance once that just totally sent me over the edge. I soon realized after meeting her that she criticized everyone and everything constantly. You know the kind; they just irritate you when they walk in the room because you know how it will go from the outset. This particular person was in a group of friends that I really enjoyed, but everyone was afraid to voice any opinion that differed from hers for fear of the repercussions.
After a lot of soul-searching, I decided that the only people that I would surround myself with would be people who are positive and uplifting—people who truly love others. I didn’t need all of that negativity; it zapped me of life. That was a life-changing experience. And you know what? It made a huge difference!
Our friends should bring out the best in us and be uplifting when there are struggles in our lives, not be critics to look over their glasses and judge us. A friend will share life’s great moments and not-so-great moments with encouragement and support. You can dare to be yourself and be accepted for who you are!
Is it time for a change in your life? Have you surrounded yourself with your best friends?