• Athena Peña

Stop Trying to be Me

I spent my life trying to be everyone but me. I worried about every detail, the way I walked, the way I stood, the perception of every person I encountered. In retrospect, I don’t know how I survived quite frankly. And to think of all the mind space wasted on futile worries of what other people might think. As if what someone else thought had any relevance on me being my best self. How utterly insane, considering none of those people even knew I needed their approval to be okay. You might think I am exaggerating, trust me, I am not. I remember occasions getting ready to meet a friend for lunch, mind you, I wanted to be this girl… I planned every detail down to the shoes and purse, and way I fixed my hair, based on whether I thought she would do something similar. Did I ever stop to ponder she liked me because of our differences, not because I was a robotic mirror image of her? Did I ever consider she too might have insecurities?

A little over a decade ago I started becoming aware of this obsessive way of life, but how does one change? I realized after having my daughter, my body was definitely NOT going back to my prior fitness competitor, bodybuilding beauty it once was. Was I okay with that? I found moments of peace in knowing I had this beautiful child and my body had changed, yes, but my heart and soul were so changed by this new love it surely could not matter that my body was not its stellar perfection of days gone by. Oh wait, those days gone by when I had that incredible body… yes, I was also completely insecure and discontent then too. I wasn’t lean enough, tall enough, my hair wasn’t thick enough, my legs were too muscular, oh I could go on.

Why do we do this? It obviously starts in childhood, but what can we do to help our sisters who are still in the middle of it. I know for me, it wasn’t until I started truly focusing on me, my self improvement, me time, quiet time, feeding my soul time… What are you doing to earnestly breathe life into YOU? Yoga is one of those me times. I do it for me. I have to force myself to stop doing whatever else I “need” to be doing, and go spend time with me. I also love listening to or reading books from authors who get down and dirty and don’t pretend to be remotely perfect like Rachel Hollis. If you haven’t read, “Girl, Wash Your Face,” I recommend you start there, because Rachel coined a phrase I feel is absolutely ingenious, “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.” WOW! Have you ever thought of it like that?

I surround myself with women who uplift me and enjoy life. I choose to spend time with people who will have their face OUT OF their phone and into my business. They are interested in me and I in them. We share time, space, and real life experiences. Check your calendar… are you dating your screen more than your real life relationships? And you wonder why you are comparing yourself to everyone else? They are all living behind that same facade and projecting their perfect little lives for all the world to see, while sitting home alone crying their eyes out for yet another day. Let’s stop this madness!

Do you. Be you. Find you. And for the love of all things that matter, get out and invest in yourself and others in meaningful, productive moments.

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