I remember I wanted to cut my hair short for the longest time and I was talking to a friend who works in marketing about it, and she said, “Ah, Anastasiya, sounds awesome but my advice not to do it. People generally have hard time relating to women with short hair.” What? People way of relating to me is based on the length of my hair?!
I used to care. I really did. I cared deeply about opinion of other people, how they perceived me, what thought or said about me. It was scary to be myself and to show the real me, feeling that I might not be accepted for who I truly am.
Everything inside me said that it was crazy, but I decided not to do it. I wanted for people to relate to me and to be accepted.
It takes a lot of courage and confidence to open up to the world and show the real you. Especially nowadays when privacy is becoming luxury and anyone can share an opinion about you with a click of a button. Being yourself is one of the most beautiful things we can do, but at the same time one of the scariest. You are being vulnerable in front of people and can be misunderstood or judged for the core of who you are.
We grow up in society where we are expected to be a certain way for people to accept us, especially women. We suffer from what I recently heard defined as an “approval addiction”- a strong desire to be liked, recognized and approved. When it comes to being yourself, this is one of the most debilitating things.
We are programmed to look for acceptance in everything from other humans. We can hear hundred times how intelligent, beautiful or funny we are, but God forbid one person calls us stupid or ugly and we lose it. Because of an opinion of one person! A person who is projecting their own fears and insecurities on us!
For me, “the breaking point” came very unexpectedly last year over a very small thing. There was a hat this past winter that I fell in love with at first sight. I wanted to get it so badly and already imagined myself wearing it as I walk along the streets of Rome.
So excitingly I went to the store and started trying it on. As soon as I put it on, I heard two girls talking about the hat and saying they wouldn’t be caught dead wearing something like that.
I loved the hat so much, but because of this conversation, I started thinking what if other people thought the same way. What if every time I wore it, people would make fun of me? I wanted the hat badly, but decided not to get it.
Short after that, it was New Year’s Eve and I was talking to a person who’s opinion I respect greatly and shared this story with him. And what he told me really changed my whole outlook on caring about opinion of others.
He said,” Listen, you have one life. Once its gone-its gone. You have this time period to live it to the fullest. So why would you care what anyone else thinks? Who cares! Wear whatever you want, do whatever you want to do, be how you want to be. As long as you are happy and it doesn’t hurt anyone, who cares what others think! The only opinion that you should ever care about is yours.” Something clicked, girls. It was like a lock on a safe. The right combination was entered, the lock wheel clicked and things began to move.
I found a haircut that screamed me, went to the salon, pointed my finger at the picture to my hairdresser and said, “I want that!” At first, he thought I was joking. He could’t believe I actually decided to do it. With every move of the scissors I was feeling happier (and my hairdresser more and more terrified) because I was becoming myself. It was such a liberating feeling.
It was something that I wanted to do for so long and I didn’t care what anyone else thought. Even if I was the only person on the planet who liked that haircut, I was absolutely ok with that. I came out of the salon feeling happy and free.
From that day forward it was all about practicing the art of being myself. If I feel like wearing something that most people wouldn’t-I wear it. If I want to dance in the middle of the streets-I dance. If I want to share my thoughts on my social media-no matter how misunderstood they could be-I share them.
Of course from time to time I hear feedback that some might find unpleasant and even hurtful. But guess what?! I don’t care. I realized with time that the problem was never me, it was the person who was making those comments projecting their issues on me.
So if you are afraid to do something or to be a certain way because you don’t know how others would react or what they would think or say, remember-the only person that you need to keep happy is yourself and the only opinion that should truly matter to you is your own.
When you feel yourself, there is a special glow about you that people cannot help but notice. You feel happy, confident and complete. When you are yourself-you are fabulous! You only have one life, go live it the way you want it!