Recently I found myself at a crossroads in a friendship. It was beginning to feel disingenuous and I no longer wanted to put effort into the relationship for the sake of keeping up with appearances. She wasn’t lying to me or being deceitful, but I just felt like every time we interacted it didn’t feel like she was being sincere. I felt like I had been exerting a lot of energy into the friendship, at least more than I wanted to and it was starting to drain me. I let the conversation continue for a while, eventually resorting to really short responses. I thought this would be an obvious sign that I was no longer interested in maintaining our relationship. About a month went by and she finally got the hint and stopped texting me altogether. I was relieved and I wasn’t sorry for feeling that way. If I took the time to reflect and really think about it, I would probably feel bad and end up apologizing for my actions; but that would go against how I truly felt about the entire situation.
I felt like this relationship was toxic to ME (this is the key here), so I chose the least dramatic route and faded out of the picture. Was it convenient for me? Yes. Do I feel more at peace with her out of my life? Yes. Was that the right thing to do? Probably not. Do I feel bad about how the entire situation played out? Not at all. I still don’t feel bad recounting this after it happened several months ago. At the end of the day I did what I felt was best for me – unapologetically – and I got exactly what I wanted. I no longer had to force myself to put forth energy into a relationship that was no longer worthy of my time.
- The first step in being unapologetically yourself is to stop apologizing for everything. You have to stay true to who you are, even if that goes against the grain or what you feel should be expected of you. –
I think there is a misconception of how people are supposed to act towards one another. We can study all the psychology, sociology and self-help books that we want. But ultimately our society is driven by norms and taboos, not rules. I understand the concept of common decency and consideration for others, but sometimes you have to throw those ideologies out and do what you feel is best in the moment, sticking by your decisions whole-heartedly. I could have told her that I no longer wanted to be friends and explained that our friendship was exhausting me – but I didn’t feel the need to justify why I did what I did. I think sometimes people are so worried about having a ton of friends that they make exceptions and excuses for the people they surround themselves with, but what kind of quality are these friendships? There is nothing wrong with craving approval from someone else, we are an interdependent species. It is normal to want to be well-liked, but sometimes you must compromise when making decisions that impact your life alone. This is where putting yourself first is crucial. Why do something in the moment to please another person when deep down you know you feel the opposite? It’s okay to have people in your life who have different opinions from you. I’m not saying to disassociate with everyone who doesn’t think the way you do. I’m empowering you not to cave to peer pressure. You don’t need to change your judgment on what you ultimately want.
- The second step in being unapologetically yourself is finding people who are drawn to you for who you are. People who accept you, flaws and all. This way, you aren’t put in a situation where you feel you have to give up what you truly want because of the influences of someone else. -
So where do you start? In order to make a choice, you have to know what your options are. What do you stand for? What are your values? Begin by knowing the qualities or things that you don’t want or like and you can narrow it down from there. They can be personality traits: I want to have a sense of humor, but I don’t want to be derogatory and sarcastic or I want to be honest and reliable, but not let people take advantage of me. It can be preferences: I like Starbucks coffee over Dunkin Donuts or I like Apple instead of Android. Whatever it is you’re going to do: how you’re going to feel, how you’re going to act, or who you are going to be – you have to commit 100%.
- The third step in being unapologetically yourself is living with intention. –
You cannot be ashamed of who you are – if you don’t like who you see in the mirror then you need to reflect and make the effort to change. Self-confidence is mandatory when you are living unapologetically. People will point fingers, make judgments, and assume things about you – don’t let that bother you. Why should their opinions matter to you? Are you happy? Are you living your best life? That is what is essential. Other people’s actions are a reflection of themselves. You won’t get respect from everyone, and you shouldn’t expect it either – that’s looking for approval – we don’t need that anymore. The people you surround yourself with that appreciate you for who you are. They will respect you, and that’s what is important. You have to take time to do what makes you happy. If that is playing Xbox, knitting, going to the gym, painting pottery, or gardening then do those things because you love them. Personally, I like to make charcuterie boards and then devour them with friends:
You are the only person who can give meaning and significance to your life, so live it without regrets! Take chances, makes mistakes and learn from them – but know your values and commit to them. I strongly believe that everyone has a purpose. Once you find that, your sole focus is to be better than who you were yesterday. Comparing yourself to other people is a distraction. Be a person who says what they mean and means what they say. Living unapologetically takes time, and some getting used to. It will be a continuous work in progress. Be patient with yourself and adjust your intentions accordingly.