When I was younger I followed the crowd. Whatever hair style was in, I tried it. When eyeliner became a thing, I tried it. I moulded myself into whoever I thought my ‘friends’ wanted me to be – this went on way into my early twenties and let me tell you – it’s horribly exhausting. I was so desperate to be liked and have loads of friends that I modelled myself on the people I wished I could be like. The problem with that (aside from frequent meltdowns and total exhaustion) was that I was in my early twenties with still no clue of who I actually was. I never designed my own path.
Being a millennial is so confusing – you’re meant to know exactly what you want to do and exactly who you want to be right from a young age. Being young should be about making mistakes and learning who you are, except now a days we are so caught up in being ‘liked’ that there’s almost no room for error, no room for development and no room for stepping outside of the box. Let’s face it – most of us are going through an identity crisis! I know I did.
I kept finding myself in toxic relationships.
My hair became so damaged from the blonde, pink and blue dyes that I had to chop it all off.
I went from being anorexic to then binge eating because I was so unhappy and confused.
I parted ways with many of my friends from university because they were never any good for me in the first place.
And I had an extensive list of job experiences that never amounted to anything.
Why? Because I had no clue who I was.
Like I said – I was so focussed on being ‘liked’ that I never took the chance to value and respect who I was as an individual. I didn’t dye my hair platinum blonde because I wanted to for me – I did it to impress a guy I liked (I cringe just thinking about it). I never enjoyed going out and partying until the early hours (in fact, I much preferred watching the X factor and knitting) but I did it on a weekly basis to fit in with my lacrosse team. If I had taken that time to work out what I wanted, I would have probably spent my years at university plating my brunette hair so I still looked like Pocahontas, crocheting cushions for my bedroom, eating M&S feta stuffed olives, while watching Never Been Kissed on repeat. Do I regret the experiences I did have? No. But what I do regret is not creating my own path and allowing myself to be who I was purely out of fear of not being liked.
“You can’t design your own path if you’re following the crowd.”
So many of us millennials face an identity crisis because we never allow ourselves the time to work out exactly who we are, what we enjoy and why we are choosing to do the things we do.
Rather than being so caught up in what people think of us, we should not even give a f*^# and be who we are!
When we are our authentic and true selves, we draw like-minded people to us. Life is like a mirroring process – the way we act and behave will attract similar characters and people to our lives. So, isn’t it better to create your own path, be who you are and attract your soul mate rather than pretend to be someone you’re not and attract toxic relationships?
After uni, I experienced an incredibly toxic relationship that lasted a year. I was so confused, I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted to do with my life or how I even wanted to live my life that it was almost easier to have a relationship that I could ‘mould’ myself into again. The problem with that was I completely lost who I was. I was inspired to write this post, as a few nights ago I was looking at old photographs of myself and didn’t even recognise who I was from that particular time. It just didn’t look like me at all – that’s how lost I was. It got me thinking about why and how I let myself get into that situation and as well as many other things, it boiled down to this: I never figured out my identity crisis.
When I eventually left that relationship, I was broken, lost and alone. I had no friends, gained 3 stone, I had no job and spent every day crying, just full of self-pity – not the most attractive place to be. That saying: you find your soul mate when you’re least expecting it, is so true because it was during that time I was trying to ‘figure out my life’ that my now husband, came into my life. We had known each other for some time and he saw that I was totally broken, yet he gave me all the unconditional love and support that I needed to work through all my s*^#.
That’s what we all need – unconditional love and support. Like I said before – if you had that, then what would you be doing differently right now?
I know for me, that changed my life.
The one thing I have always admired about Ben is how certain he is of himself – he has always known who he is, what he likes, what he’s passionate about – he never cared about fitting in or being liked, he was just who he was and had always lived on his own path that he created for himself. He never slept around like the other boys did, because he didn’t want to. Forget studying business or accounting like all the other boys I knew – he studied zoology purely because he liked reptiles. He even had a 7ft long Sumatran Water Monitor (you can’t get more unique than that!). He never went out on boys nights drinking, instead he goes camping and mountain biking with his friends. The best part? Rather than watching sports, he prefers to watch The Lion King (1,2, AND 3)! The whole point is he never followed the crowd. Ben did what he wanted to do because it’s what he enjoyed and who he was.
To me, that was inspiring. Straight away as soon as I was with him I felt more like myself. I could do what I wanted to do and figure out who I wanted to be and he was just that best friend that stood by my side throughout the whole process. Because he had his life already figured out, he was just there to support me in my journey.
That’s what we all need. We all need that one person – best friend, mum, dad, cousin, partner – that will stand by us and let us work though our mistakes and guide us to where we are supposed to be. Being a millennial is challenging, so much is thrown our way that it’s so confusing to know what suits us and what doesn’t.
All I do know is this:
Have a little look at your life right now:
We all get stuck in a routine and become comfortable in who we feel we should be. But…we are always growing, we are always learning and developing, therefore the paths that we create for ourselves with naturally change to – we will outgrow them and need to redesign them when we do. Check in with yourself and ask – am I following the crowd? Or am I on my own journey I have set out for myself?
Don’t be afraid to be who you are. You have total control and power over how you feel and how you live your life – so choose wisely. To live that fulfilled and nourished life we all dream of, we have to be living authentically to our truest self – so who is your truest self, right now and right in this moment?
Trust me: You’re going to enjoy your journey along the path you design for yourself a hell of a lot more than one you tag along on.