Today I’d like to talk about being unapologetically you and why this is so important. So many of us feel like we are different. We feel like we have desires that no one else around us can relate to. We feel like our friends and family understand us to a point but at the same time find difficulty in peeling back our layers to be our true authentic selves.
When I first moved to Dubai, I would admit that I did in fact get sucked in and fell head over heels in love with the Dubai lifestyle. For those who aren’t aware, living in Dubai can sometimes feel like you’re living in Vegas on steroids.
While many on the outside see it as conservative and traditional, this could not be further from the truth. This city is very young and most of us who live here are. It’s super shiny and glamorous and after living in small town America for five years, I was catapulted into the deep end when I relocated here alone.
Endless parties, brunches, boats and more brunches – just some of the official pastimes of most ‘Dubaians’. In many ways, life in Dubai strongly resembles the ‘liming’ lifestyle of Trinidad, the one I also knew all too well. My first year in the desert city was a whirlwind and if I’m being honest, a lot of my memories are quite fuzzy.
While it was terrific fun, looking back now, I can see myself drifting further and further away from my true authentic self with each passing day in my first year. After becoming more acquainted with the culture and lifestyle, I tried SO hard to fit in with the ‘in’ crowd. I no longer honoured my passions and hobbies and even changed the way I dressed.
At first I truly felt like an outsider, as I looked, sounded and acted completely different from everyone else here. In other words, I felt really weird. Over time, I found myself adapting to the style of those around me and I completely stopped doing me. While my social life took off, as I reflect today, I don’t even recognize that person who I pretended to be.
The effect of this? Fast forward a couple months later and I literally woke up one morning feeling completely lost. Regardless of my great job and active social life, I truly felt like those around me did not know the real me. I sought so much validation that I could not remember who I was. This affected me more than I had anticipated and I eventually stopped going out all together in an attempt to regain my true self.
Whether you can relate to this story or not, I believe that in today’s culture, almost everyone has struggled with ‘comparisonitis’ at some point. I first became aware of the whole “comparisonitis” concept when I encountered a Pinterest quote that said, “I will not be jealous of people on the Internet.”
Let’s face it. From the Kardashian Instagram selfies to all these amazing vacation photos we encounter on random blogs, it’s very easy to get into this habit of Internet envy – mostly from people we barely even know.
As I reflect today, I can confidently say with my newfound wisdom that the validation we seek to receive from social media is unhealthy; the only acceptance that is important is our own. Being a chameleon is one of the worst things you can do when trying to create friendships and opportunities.
Being inauthentic dishonors you more than it harms anyone else. Authenticity is best, only use words that best represent you and that inspire positive emotions in you.
Truth is, those who inspire others are people who are themselves. I truly had to learn this the hard way after months of deep self-reflection. Don’t be afraid of being yourself or exploring until you find peace within yourself. Once you feel comfortable in your skin, share it with others unapologetically.
We see all these ‘cool’ people and think ‘Oh, I can be like that’ – well don’t be like that. Just be you. Discover who you are as a person and share it with others fearlessly. We all need to embrace who we are and not try to be someone else.
As I look back, I realize there were so many parties and brunches I wanted to skip out on to just go to the gym or chill on the beach. Instead, I chose to go because I didn’t want my friends to think of me as a hermit or a weirdo. With each instance, I lost myself a bit more while pretending to be a Dubai party girl (LOL)
Do not compare yourself to others; rather, live up to your own standards, ambitions and dreams. Define your self-worth from a place of self-appreciation and love. Engage in things that allow you to simultaneously stay true to yourself but also gain fulfillment. Your true tribe will recognize this and love you for it, I promise.
Only blend in your makeup, not your personality!
Kim Seelochan is a Dubai based Film Publicist for Warner Bros. Pictures obsessed with all things movies and fitness. She’s a Trinidad native who is still trying to master the art of adulting. Follow her online @kimseelochan.