Looking back at my teens and early twenties, I'm amazed that I was never interested in impressing anyone. I wasn't worrying about what people thought of me. I always had a bit of a sass to my personality, I was always on the louder side, I usually said what was on my mind, I wore what I liked, listened to the music I loved, acted how I felt, and even got my hands a little dirty. I did not give one solitary fuck about how others viewed me. It wasn't even a thought.
Until I became a Mom. The thought of "what will others think" first welled up inside me after having my first son. Thoughts like these:
Will they think I'm a good mom? Nope. I suck.
Am I going to fit in with other moms? No. Definitely no.
Is this leopard print top mom-ish enough? Ugh. Nope.
What am I wearing to meet the teacher night? Business casual? Yoga pants? I Love Jesus tee? Please, Just stay home.
Why wasn't I invited to join the moms night out Facebook group? Because, you are just too extra. AND WHY DO YOU CARE?
When I was a teenage girl, nothing like this ever crossed my mind. Seriously, the pictures from my past speak for themselves. I was care-free, in my own world, with my awesome friends, having a good old time.
As a mom, the opinion of others suddenly became important. And for a few years I was second guessing myself. I found myself changing my outfit one too many times. I noticed changes I was making to try to "impress" other parents. I ended up involved in conversations I had literally zero interest in just to get some type of connection with other moms. Oh yeah Susan, the playground definitly needs a different shade of yellow! At one point, I almost baked!
As time went on, I realized something. Some of these moms could be awfully judgy. And gossipy. And mean. And I noticed some of the people that I was worried about liking me, I didn't really like at all. The "altruistic" nature of some of these people wasn't truly altruistic, it was showy. As the rose colored lenses began to clear, my old not caring about what others think self decided to emerge back on the scene. And Thank GOD!
I mean, my life is way better when wearing my snake skin pants without trepidation. Rolling toward the school drop off, radio blaring a little Tupac, clean version for kiddies of course, helped me back to being me. I deleted some of the parents contacts, said no to play dates with kids I didn't like, yep, I said kids. Cause let's face it, some kids are dicks. I also said no to play dates with kids who were great, but their parents were dicks.
It was relieving. It was like a weight was lifted, a weight that should not have even been there. It was peaceful and easy being me again and I loved it. I love who I am, the wife, the mom, the woman. I won't shrink myself down for anyone ever again. If you don't like me for me, I'm good. If you don't approve of me, I'm good. If you don't invite me out, I'm still good.
And as for my incredible kids, I'm teaching them to be themselves, unapologetically. I'm teaching them to always work on improving their own life, and not to worry about the opinions of others. Everyday I mention the beautiful benefits of not caring about impressing anyone else. When they are feeling slighted at school, I ask them:
Does this kid buy your lunch? No.
Does this kid do your homework? Nope.
Does this kid win your wrestling matches? No, I do that. Do you have to come home and be with this person all day and night? No!
So, clearly, the only person you need to be impressing is yourself! And we impress ourselves by trying to be better everyday. We do what we love. We have fun. We pray. We wear the clothes that we like. We listen to music that we enjoy.
We choose what we want for ourselves based on how it makes us feel, not how others feel about us!
And everyday I drill it in. And everyday I pray it sticks. So my friends, I leave you with this, NEVER shrink yourself down or change who you are. The real rewards in life come with improving your beautiful, unique, exquisite self, not with impressing others.