I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to show up as the truest version of myself.
We all have a core inner sense of who we are, but getting to the root of it can be difficult. I think this is because we often look to others for their understanding of who they think we are. Our own beliefs can become so entangled in the opinions and feelings of others. This is pervasive in every aspect of our lives—from parenting to work to romantic relationships to friendships.
When we can learn to show up as ourselves, it can be an act of defiance against that reflexive way of being, whether it’s through articulating our opinions in conversation or expressing ourselves through what we wear.
One of the ways I’m able to practice this return to self is by asking the question “What do I need most right now?” and, whenever possible, following through on the answer. The value of this exercise isn’t simply that it occasionally allows me to indulge in self-care. I’ve found it’s much deeper than that.
Sometimes what we truly need is the thing we’re most afraid to do. In reality, showing up as yourself often means doing the hard thing for the benefit of your overall well-being. The more I follow through on the answer to this question, the stronger my sense of self-confidence has become. I feel less drawn to focus solely on how others respond to me and what they need from me. Instead, I’m able to meet somewhere in the middle, at the intersection between their needs and mine.
As it turns out, learning not to betray your own needs is an incredibly powerful way to build trust in yourself, even if it takes time to get there.
Learning to show up as yourself isn’t something that can be rushed. It’s about getting quiet enough to listen to what you already instinctively know. It’s a culmination that comes from continuously having your own back, in small, simple ways over and over again.
As we enter the month of September, I encourage you to reflect on the practices that allow you to fully show up as yourself. How can you more regularly integrate these practices into your everyday routines?
Learning to show up as yourself isn’t something that can be rushed. It’s about getting quiet enough to listen to what you already instinctively know. It’s a culmination that comes from continuously having your own back, in small, simple ways over and over again. Through that kind of gentle, supportive repetition, we become familiar with our wants and needs. It’s a lifelong pursuit in a sense—one I think is well worth the effort.
This September on W&D, our contributors will be writing about how to build a stronger relationship with yourself and sharing an introvert’s guide to self-care. I’ll be sharing my fall bucket list, pieces of advice I’d give to my younger self, and a home decor product edit inspired by Sienna Miller’s cottage tour (I cannot get enough of it!). I’d also love to share the reveal of our basement fireplace makeover, as long as it gets finished soon… I’m hoping it will! Stay tuned for this and plenty more throughout the month ahead.
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BY Kate Arends - September 1, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.