Earlier this week I had brief conversation with a  fellow blogger about the power of being your true authentic self. We talked about what a sense of relief it is to stop putting on a front that everything in your life is picture perfect! To just be real!

Now before you close this browser because you think this post is going to be full of a whole lot of cheese, I ask you to think about what that actually means. It’s not actually cheesey, it’s pretty damn important.

For me, becoming a StepMom, second wife and then a mom is what pushed me to strive for that authenticity. But it definitely didn’t happen right away.

When I first dove into the StepMom gig I was so so insecure! People had opinions about how quickly my husband and I became serious, how quickly he moved on from his ex-wife, and most of all people questioned “does she know what she’s getting herself into with those kids?”

When I wasn’t completely participating in the parenting role, people would say “Why doesn’t she step up, this is what it’s like to have kids in your life

When I was being involved, others would say “What is she thinking, she’s not their parent”

There were comments and judgements about our age difference. The list goes on and on.

Bottom line is I felt so insecure. I felt pressure.  I felt that so many people were just waiting for this “rebound” relationship to fail. Waiting for me to buckle under the stress of having kids in my life.

I put on this front that everything was perfect. That the transition was easy. That I wasn’t stressed out at all. StepParenting was a piece of cake. Perfect dinners, perfectly planned weekends, perfectly relationship,  perfectly dressed kids, striving for that Pinterest perfect house.

I didn’t want anyone to know there was any sort of struggle behind the scenes, because then they would be right. I was failing. This WAS a joke.

It was a whole lot of pressure, and it mostly came from me!

When my daughter was born I made a commitment to really work on myself. I needed to be the best me.  Again, I know that sounds like a whole load of cheese, but I knew that if I was going to take care of this baby and continue to support my husband and three others kids I needed to get my shit together! I needed to start being real! I needed to start being me.

Mostly importantly, I had to stop caring or worrying about what other people think.

It doesn’t happen over night and it has to be a conscious decision, but even the process is a freeing one.

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending two days with some extremely inspiring people at the Fairmount Royal York in Toronto. I spent most of it listening  to Derrick Sweet, founder of  Certified  Coaches Federation & Healthy Wealthy & Wise speak. His take home message was…

Good eh? Turns out we are the only ones preventing ourselves from being, doing and getting what we want.

The weekend inspired me to share the things I’ve done to get out of my own way, and strive for that authenticity I’m talking about!

This isn’t just for the struggling StepMoms, or the mother who are feeling the pressure achieve perfection and pretend like they have it all together. This is for everyone. This is about being real!

1. OWN YOUR MISTAKES, BUT DON’T LET THEM DEFINE YOU
Every single one of us makes mistakes. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US.
Me personally, I make mistakes all the time. No scratch that, I royally screw up on a regular basis. I wear my heart on my sleeve and if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a pretty passionate person. Sometimes my reactions aren’t what they should be.

I used to spend days and weeks thinking about my mistakes, going over and over them in my head. Feeling sick about them. Dwelling on what I should have done differently and what I can do to make it better.  Wondering what I could do to make sure no one found out that I hadn’t been absolutely perfect for a moment in time. But that didn’t serve anyone, especially not me.

Here’s what I do now.

I screw up > I acknowledge it > I apologize > I reflect > and then I grow.

A screw up doesn’t and shouldn’t define who you are, so don’t let it!
Moving on!

2. WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF YOU IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS
It isn’t. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to agree with what you do or don’t do. They don’t have to. It’s not their life, it’s yours!

3. IT’S OK TO STRUGGLE
Actually, the struggle is necessary. No one was born with all the answers! Every single one of us is fighting some kind of battle! And usually it’s overcoming those battles that helps us get to where we want to be!

4. KICK THE NEGATIVE NANCY’S, JEALOUS JENNIFER’S & JUDGEMENTAL JANET’S TO THE CURB
There is a quote floating around the internet right now, saying

Find Your Tribe & Love Them Hard”.

Again, CHEESE, but so very true! Many times I think what’s holding us back from being our true authentic self is the assholes that we are surrounding ourselves with. Yes I said assholes.

People who judge, people who are jealous, people who like to gossip or bring themselves up when other people are down. We all have this type of person in our lives.  But thankfully, more and more I’m hearing women tell me they are recognizing this and recognizing how toxic these types of relationships are.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you, who support you and want to help you be bigger. People who get you. People who you can confide in, people who don’t run to the telephone the second they hear about the latest struggle in your life.

For me personally, life is so busy right now that when I get a chance to spend time with friends, I want to laugh & I want to feel safe. Not like I am under a microscope!

5. BE REAL
Here is the cold hard truth.
Life is hard.
Everyone has their demons everyone has their struggles.
Despite how perfect people’s lives look on their Facebook & Instagram feed, everyone is dealing with something!
There is no such thing as perfect!

6. DEFINE WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU
Sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine write down what you value most. What’s important  to you?

Kids? Family? Healthy Lifestyle? Career? Social Connections? Inspiring People? Helping people?

Be specific.

What are your goals? ?

Write, write, write  and then read it! Those are the things you should be focusing your attention on. That’s what truly matters!

7. OWN YOUR COLD HARD TRUTH
I’ll give you my cold hard truth right now!

There are days when I feel like I have this stepmom gig completely under control & and there are others days when I struggle to find my place it in it all!

I’ve spent the past couple years trying to portray perfection because I know there are people expecting me to fail.

But the truth is, I am not perfect. This is a hard job. Sometimes I feel lost, like I have no place, confused about my role, resentful for some of the inevitable changes in my life. Sometimes I miss my freedom. But guess what, my new cold hard truth is that I know feeling that way is completely normal!

 

Life is far to short and unpredictable to be portraying a false sense of yourself.

Be yourself. Love yourself. Own yourself! And get the heck out of your own way!

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