What does being REAL look like to you ?
Being real to me is authenticity and transparency. Whatever comes your way, whoever comes your way you stay true to who you are and don’t give in to the temptation of changing yourself simply to fit in, feel accepted or gain attention. Authenticity doesn’t think about perception but rather inner satisfaction knowing you stayed true to yourself no matter what. Which is why it goes hand in hand with transparency so well. No matter what you’re faced with - whether it’s something you’re really good at, something you love, something you have a tough time following, transparency is key. Let your talents shine without fear that you may come off “too smart”, “too athletic”, “too artistic” “too hype” or amongst many others, “too enthusiastic”. The same goes for the difficult things in life too. It’s okay to not know some things and ask for help in understanding and/or doing it. The real fault does not lie with looking stupid but in trying to appear perfect when there are so many other things you can be focussing your time and real talent on.
What's stopping you? Or what use to stop you and how did you break free?
Advice is easier said than done and easier given than received. Looking like I had it all together has been my biggest crutch ever since I was young. I felt like if people saw how much of a mess I was (and still am) then they wouldn’t like, respect or notice me. However, I finally broke under the weight of this hefty facade and prayed that God would show me a different way to living life outside of stress and worry. Admittedly, it’s still something I deal with constantly but having a circle of close friends and even being open with the some of the people I work with (who now I do call regular friends too!) has helped me tremendously in breaking free from the messy trap of aiming for perfection.
What advice would you give your younger self ?
Take your time. Take time in the moment to know and be yourself and realise that you’re different but it’s okay. Take time to figure out what you want do in life and and then take the time to get there because it’s all a journey and not a race. Additionally, above all, run to God for everything and find your strength in him because not only can He help you through it all but he wants to!
What does ChooseREAL mean to you?
ChooseReal to me means acknowledging that we are OK to be who we are. In fact, we are more than OK to do so because being real, staying real is necessary. Aiming to be and/or look like something you’re not is an impossible, relentless journey that will leave you unhappy and unsatisfied. Staying real to yourself, it may be difficult at times and it may take a bit of time because it is indeed a continual process, but you’ll be better for it in more ways than you even know.