I remember coming home crying in third grade one day. My mother asked me what was wrong. I told her one of the girls yelled at me saying, “Eva! You are so rambunctious!” My mom only smiled and asked me if I knew what the word meant. Of course I didn’t know, having just arrived in the United States from Israel that year.
She said, “Eva, it just means that you are wild.”
“Oh, “ I replied. “So what?”
I didn’t know why it was said with such an angry tone. It made no sense. Why was being wild a bad thing?
Thoughts like this happened to me often, like when the principle of our school stopped me in the hallway in fourth grade. In his very British accent he said, “Eva, why is your hair always in such disarray?”
“Huh?” I remember looking at him. “I just came from recess,” I said. And again, I thought to myself, “So what?”
I was to hear many comments over the years that confused me and made me question my natural habits, my desire to be free, to explore, be creative, and to essentially be myself. Comments like:
“You would be so beautiful if you lost some weight.”
“You may want to tone down how smart you are, it’s intimidating.”
“You need to be reigned in. You have too much energy.”
“You are too spiritual. You need to be more conservative.”
“Be careful. You don’t know your own strength, you could hurt someone.”
I’m sure you have heard such comments before and likely worse—comments that tear down your natural nature, that ask of you to be someone you are not. You are asked to be the person that will make other people happy, but at the expense of your spirit and your own happiness.
And so then you find yourself thirty plus years later wondering who you really are. Apologizing for wanting more, for being strong, for having muscles, for having a few extra pounds, for being a little or a lot different.
Did it ever occur to anyone to say, “You don’t know your own strength, you could help someone?”
We live in a time now that children are forced to sit long hours in class, without much recess, forced to learn curriculums and pressured to work hard to get into good schools to follow the path their parents or society expects of them. Now more than when I was growing up, children are not encouraged to be creative, explore their imaginative ideas or run wild out in nature, discovering their strengths and developing confidence.
How many children and how many grownups today would be more confident, more self-assured, more capable of being their true selves if they were encouraged to do so, rather than made to feel badly, apologetic for being different, imaginative or full of energy?
Well, it’s not too late to discover who you are, how strong you can be, imaginative or different. It’s not too late to be unapologetic for living your dream and being exactly YOU.
I for one am happy to start living my life unapologetic. I’m unapologetic for being sometimes rambunctious, often with messy hair, a klutz who manages to spill things or trips everywhere she goes, who is also smart and a bit funny, strong and muscular and….. who really cares?
I’m unapologetic for being me.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not condoning acting hurtfully or being unapologetic for actions that may cause harm to others or even yourself.
I am talking about being unapologetic–for tapping into your true, beautiful, incredible self and being exactly that person.
How do you get there?
Notice how situations or comments make you feel. Do they make you feel defensive? Offensive? Guilty? Ashamed? Not good enough?
If any comments cause you to feel negatively, question your heart and ask, “Why?” Your heart may replay back a story from long ago, or recently when you were told not to be something you knew it was okay to be deep inside. Ask your heart, “Who am I really? Who am I as my strong, beautiful, incredible self? Who is that person?”
And as you ask your heart that question, imagine your heart opening like a flower, as if it’s opening for you to inhale the full breath of life. Close your eyes and feel your heart opening as you ask again, “Who am I as my strong, beautiful, incredible self? I am acting with integrity? Am I ready to be unapologetic?”
And then as your heart opens, and it fills with love, say, “Yes. I am ready. I am ready to be my authentic self and unapologetic.”
And then see what you do next. If nothing at all, it will put a smile on your face and make other people wonder what you are up to!