Oh, you guys. This seemingly simple 4-letter word can really throw me for a loop. It’s one of my favorite words, but also one of the most terrifying for me. Real means no bullshit, no filter, no nonsense. It’s all about truth, authenticity, and the courage to show up and be seen for exactly who we are while saying exactly what we think and feel. This makes me knees shake out of both excitement and fear.
We’ve all met those extraordinary humans who embody real—they radiate it. You know that when they speak, it’s their truth, and they’re fiercely unapologetic about it. But on the other hand, if they speak and it’s not aligned with their core values – they’re brave enough to admit it, take a step back, reflect, and put in the work to get back to their true north. They make it look easy and maybe for them, it is. But if you’re like me, it takes a lot more effort; it’s a conscious, every-minute-of-every-day kind of practice.
Me? I’m one of those people who, since I can remember, have always thought, “But what will they think?” before I say, do, and even think something. This makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be myself when I’m always filtering and editing my every action; it doesn’t leave room for cultivating real connection. I’m always worrying about being all too much or not enough for others. Too loud, to passive. Too excited, too apathetic. Too serious, or too quirky. And when you’re playing the game, there’s no way to win except to be real, regardless of what that may look like to someone else.
But then there are those times that I’m free. I recognize that I’ll always be too much or too little for some people, but those who truly matter to me will love me unconditionally for all parts of me, the good, the bad, and everything in between. When I’m in this space, I operate uninhibited and devoid of worries about what someone else might say or think, and it feels so damn good. I’m present to the moment unfolding before me and I have the confidence to be playful, silly, vulnerable, and brave all while speaking my truth. I’m 100% me. I’m real.
The secret? A whole lot of self-love and keeping this mantra at the forefront of my thoughts:
“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you’ll lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone – profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.” – Danielle LaPorte
To hold myself accountable, I make a conscious, daily effort to pause and reflect whenever I catch myself thinking “But what will they think?” This means taking a huge step back, pulling out my notebook and putting pen to paper. This helps me to name what it is I’m feeling while getting to the root of the insecurity, and then coming to a resolution that can bring me back to myself.
We will always be too much or too little for some people. Those people? They’re not our people.
With love, light, and big-belly-laughter always,
Jenna is a yoga teacher, writer, and brand builder on a mission to fuel her life withurpose and to explore the world. She was raised in Minnesota but considers Colorado her home away from home. Currently, you can find her in Minneapolis, where she is creating the life she has always dreamed of.