Being Your True Self, Blogging And Beyond!

For the past six weeks I have been attending a career counselling group offered through Toronto's Times Change organization. The group is for women who are considering a career change, and it has been an amazing resource for me! Although I entered the group thinking I would find some office job that I'd be able to tolerate for the next 35 years, I ended up realizing through doing a ton of questionnaires and activities that writing is the direction that is most calling to my soul (and, if I'm being honest with myself, has been for most of my life). (I also realized that the entrepreneurial streak in me is REAL, but that's a whole other blog post!)

One of our assignments was to find someone who works in our field of choice and interview them. Lucky for me, my sister, Hannah, just happens to be a well-known blogger/beauty writer, and she was up to the task!

The interview was hugely informative, and I am super-grateful that I was able to get such amazing firsthand insight into the industry. One thing I really took away from the interview was the importance of authenticity, and the topic has been rolling around in my head since.

Authenticity has always been something that was nurtured in our family. Our dad always encouraged us to go after our dreams, and our mom stressed the importance of remembering our values and sticking to them. Essentially two sides of the same coin, with the core message being "to thine own self be true."

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Since beginning my journey as a blogger I have gone HARD into my research of figuring out how to make this blog the best that I can. I have been scouring Pinterest, other blogs, Facebook groups, and e-courses, sometimes spending 8 hours at a time in front of a screen. (I guess this is where my "addict" is showing!)

One thing I've noticed in my searches is that there are a lotta blogs out there. And, boy, do a lot of them look and sound the same. So when Hannah mentioned authenticity and not looking and acting like everyone else to sell products, I could totally understand where she was coming from.

Now, I am not here to trash anyone, please don't get me wrong. A lot of things that become trends online do so because they are eye-catching and appeal to the masses. Many popular Instagram accounts contain fashionable back-drops, cute outfits, and yummy food because we all want a little bit of loveliness in our lives. I love looking at well-curated blogs and Instas! But I think we run into some problems when it's all fluff and no substance.

The reason that Hannah was discovered is because when she was a teenager she had a little blog that she put a lot of heart and soul into, purely for her own enjoyment, not thinking anyone was paying it any mind. She was 100% Hannah, and she didn't really give a mouse turd about what anyone else thought. That originality was noticed, and it opened many doors for her. She has been making money as a writer for nearly a decade now and has at no time watered down her voice.

Although I've only begun my journey with I have been writing on the internet for a really long time (remember Livejournal?) I've posted a ton of personal essays over the years on my different social media sites for my own enjoyment, and have been frequently surprised to see that some people seem to like hearing what I have to say. People have also disagreed with me sometimes, and I have shared some opinions that have gone against the grain. Especially as someone with a strong faith who believes in a loving God, I've met a lot of resistance. But I would never dream of changing who I am or my message to "fit in," get more likes, or sell a product. And I hope that shows.

I probably could change everything about myself and work a formula and make a decent amount of money. There are a lot of people out there who value sales and stats more than authenticity. And to be honest? A lot of them will probably do fairly well for themselves. But it's rare to find someone who changes with the wind at the top of their game. If you want to be passably good, be like everyone else; if you want to be great, be yourself.

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Maybe at some point you received the message that the authentic you should be hidden. Maybe it was from your parents, or bullying, or just societal expectations, but the message stuck. You've been navigating your time here as a shape-shifter, just trying to do what it takes to be accepted by everyone and to not ruffle any feathers. Not to turn this into inspirational drivel that's been said a million times, but you deserve to be your true self. You deserve to attract people who are in love with your brand of you!

In closing I want you to think of the top three people who inspire you the most. Maybe they're on your list because their life is so amazing and they're constantly going on fun adventures or living the high life. Or perhaps they're on your list because they are a source of inspiration due to their bold actions. Spoiler alert: I can almost guarantee that these individuals have a looooong list of people they've pissed off for staying true to themselves and their values. Jesus, Oprah, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Beyoncé . . . they've got, or they had, a whoooole lotta haters!

Sometimes I care too much what people think, but most of the time? Naahhhh!

So, you have to ask yourself: am I going to be who everyone wants me to be and live an okay life, or am I gonna let my inner 'Yonce shine? I know what I'm choosing (and it's NOT just because I adore Jay Z!)

I hope you find the courage to show the world your genuine, beautiful self. I wish you the most adventurous, authentic week!


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