Mentors, heroes, career crushes, spirit animals, and/or people you admire on social media. Whatever you want to call them — these are the people you look up to. What do they say about you? As I’ve matured, the people I admire and the reasons I admire them have changed greatly, which I think is pretty normal.
The funny part is, I feel like I’ve been the same person all along but somehow, at one point, I got caught in the trap of idolizing people for their lifestyles, looks and social circles (or at least how those two things appear on social media). Not only did I idolize these people, but I tried to be like them.
It was like I kept trying to shove the glass slipper on my foot but the shoe just never fit right. The more I tried (even when I couldn’t afford to), the more I struggled with my identity and where I was at. I wasn’t happy, and I felt there was a constant battle going on inside me between forcing myself to fit into this ecosystem and being myself.
Little by little, I started putting down those heavy expectations that I had put on myself. I didn’t even realize how much they had been weighing on me and stunting me from my potential. Eventually I threw the glass slipper out the f*cking window and replaced it with a sneaker. I’ll let you extrapolate what that must’ve looked like in my life, but it took a longggggg freaking time y’all.
From time to time I still catch myself carrying some of that weight. I’m only human, and old habits die hard when these types of influences are everywhere. After all, lusting after social status is good for the economy. *COugh* Kardashians *couGH coUgh*
While some of what I’m talking about might seem obvious, it can actually be really hard to admit to yourself that the stuff you are consuming has an impact on you. Here’s an example: I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I love watching Youtube videos. Last week I un-subscribed from no less than 20 channels. I finally realized that the lives of the people I watch on Youtube look nothing like my own, which is totally fine and people are entitled to do them, but I hit a point where I had to ask myself “why the HELL am I watching a vlog where someone talks about their $100 face cream in great detail?” Yet, for some reason I’ve mindlessly watched her videos for years.
If I don’t aspire to live like her — what’s the point?
If you are taking in something that makes you feel less-than for whatever reason, shut that sh*t down. Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat — WHATEVER. Hold it at arms length and ask if it’s serving you to be looking at it.
The most important part of the transition, for me, was seeking out and finding new people to look up to that are living life authentically, passionately and with self-love. Who are unafraid of being different and working on themselves unapologetically. Who are making their own rules, or saying screw the rules altogether. Who are living the example and being brave in their own lives. Who are growing and changing constantly (just like me) and aren’t afraid to admit it. People I can relate to. People who accept me as I am.
They are now my friends. My peers. My family. My idols. My spirit animals (yup I’m one of those annoying people that still says that).
Go forth and find your true self in others you look up to. Or maybe a version of yourself you aspire to be (but not in an unhealthy way, yenno?). Don’t be afraid to explore why you admire them and work hard to cultivate that in yourself. Be around people who lift you up and make you proud to be who you are.
Remember: we are the sum, or average, of the five people we surround ourselves with the most. So don’t be afraid to invite someone you admire out to get a coffee.