I'm an American expat, writer. photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.
There have been times – many times – in the past that I felt pressure to dim my own light to be relatable to the vast majority of people. And this ultimately came from a deep fear of being rejected, of not being liked and accepted for who I am.
I would often feel frustrated about needing to behave in a way that felt more palatable to people reading my blog and Instagram captions. But here’s the thing: the truth was that the only person who was putting immense pressure on me was me, and when I realized this – that this pressure to say the right thing, to behave and respond and react in the “right” way was a belief that I created myself – I suddenly felt a huge weight lift off of me. I finally felt free to let my freak flag fly and be the weird, zany and overly optimistic person I am.
But I used to be afraid of sharing my full self – messy, weird parts and all – because I’ve received negative feedback from things I’ve shared and written online over the years. I’ve turned people off, I’ve been told online and off that I’m “too passionate,” “too direct and straight-forward” and so forth. And at the time I used to think there was something wrong with that. And because of these experiences, I reprogrammed a new belief in my mind: if you were kind and nice and generous to people, everyone would like you. But how silly of me! How naive to believe that people will like and accept you because you are simply that: nice.
Not Everyone Will Resonate with You, Your Message and Your Energy
There will be people who won’t like you simply because they just don’t resonate with you. Your message, your values, your beliefs aren’t on the same wavelength as another person. Energetically, there just isn’t chemistry, there’s isn’t mutual compatibility. And that is totally okay.
It is not good, nor bad; it’s neutral. It’s a beautiful life lesson in accepting what is and allowing what is meant to unfold.
Because there are other people out there who do relate and resonate with your unique message, your values, your view of the world. There are those kindred spirits that want you to shine so brilliantly, that love to soak in your rays because you resonate with them. Don’t dim your light – not just for yourself but for the many people who resonate with your message.
How We Lose Connection with Ourselves
We deviate from ourselves and our own personal life mission when we fear the opinions of others. When we wonder what other people think of us, what we doubt our own internal guidance system, when we become afraid of the response and reactions from anyone outside of ourselves, that is when we lose ourselves. That is precisely the moment that we dim our light.
Developing a thick skin and remembering not to dim my own light to be relatable to others was a huge block for me to unravel in the past year. As a child and teenager, I used to be so good at it. My bold teenage self never cared about what people thought of me. I was that girl in high school and college that walked to the beat of her own drum and let her freak flag fly high. I was either alone, confidently doing my thang or surrounded by friends that loved and admired the bad and the good parts of myself.
But in my early twenties, I had a lot of bad luck.
I had negative experiences with people, friendships and family members. Family members cut me off and disowned me when I followed my heart and left college because it simply wasn’t right for me. I allowed a lot of female friendships into my life: gossips and drunks, women who had issues with self-esteem and self-worth and women who held onto immense anger in their hearts. I allowed them to enter my life, and I allowed myself to witness their experiences. I said “yes” to mean girls and needy souls and I said “no” to my instincts. They were a lesson, all teachers to me in their own, unique ways, but these experiences left little prints on my subconscious. I experienced major life pivots and heartbreaking moments of confrontation between people I admired or respected. And those honest moments of confrontation, the ghosting, the cutting cords and letting go was painful to go experience in the moment. And even still, I allowed it, I allowed them to carry with me, to sit with me in the back of mind as a reminder to be responsible, be nice, be relatable.
But then came another turning point…
I realized that being nice, being relatable doesn’t actually lead to people and situations that feel authentic and right for you. In fact, oftentimes when you aren’t true to who you really are deep down, you’ll unconsciously attract people who don’t value what you value.
Today – especially after going through a lot of emotional shedding these past 6 months – I can confidently say I feel emotionally ready to handle anything someone could throw at me, and I’m basking in being 100% myself.
I refuse to dim my light so that I can be relatable.
I refuse to change myself or compromise my personality in order to be “likable” to a wide variety and spectrum of people.
Because I’m not the relatable girl next door. I’m super-specific.
My personality is weird and zany and hopeful and eternally optimistic and sometimes annoyingly saccharine. I talk to insects, and I wish aloud when I look at the stars and I see auras around people and visions in my meditations and I read a book a freakin’ day. I’m not relatable. I’m strange and awesome, & I struggled with accepting this in my early twenties.
Because as a former people-pleaser, I used to care. And deeply. As someone who truly values and connects with people, relationships are everything to me.
Fearing rejection is only keeping us small
A vision I keep receiving through my meditations is this: a bright, orange rising sun creeping out from the horizon.
Some people are repelled by its brightness. “Ugh it’s too much” they grimace as they walk away. Others are basking in its glow, appreciative of its rays, and soaking in the colors.
Sure, I can dim down a bit and choose to please everyone. I can choose to be “relatable” and change some quirks – but that won’t do me any good because I’d be hiding who I really am.
But the sun isn’t ashamed of its brightness. It just is. It just does. It doesn’t care what any other human on the planet thinks of it. It just keeps showing up.
Repel People, Attract Others
I will repel a lot of people – not because I’m “XYZ” but simply because we are all living different energetic experiences. Life is full of contrasts. People are full of contrasts. And that’s wonderful just as it is.
If you’re someone who is also a former people-pleaser, someone who values connection with others, someone who values relationships and fears not being relatable or accepted, I urge you to stand tall and proud and fiercely as you are.
Don’t dim yourself. Don’t dim your light to be relatable. Be brazen, be notorious, be strange.
compliment your home with beautiful photographs from my travels across the globe
I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.