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Whole Self: True to You

If there's one thing we don't have a shortage of, it's opinions. And if we had a dollar for every opinion we had, we'd all be rich. Sounds like something to consider, but if there's also something that holds very little or too much value to us it's everyone else's opinions. Hit up the comment section of even the least controversial posts on social media and you're in for a treat of internet drama. It goes to show that the time people spend picking apart each other's logic or thoughts must contribute to mental health issues for those on the receiving end as well as those that waste their time trolling. No one is ever this bold in real life but when people are online they are invincible and feel like they can say and do anything without consequence. So no wonder we're always second guessing ourselves to avoid others' criticisms or rebuke. And this second guessing or self-monitoring, while good in general when it comes to maintaining good social boundaries, can work against us when it comes to being ourselves.

Being true to yourself doesn't mean living without filters or being inconsiderate of others' opinions. In fact, it's okay and even healthy to look to trusted sources such as friends who have your best interest at heart for their worthy and thought out advice. If we all did whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, we would end up being the trolls. It's the social contract of looking out for each other that maintains a safe space for all. This turns toxic when you rely on others' opinions to dictate decision for yourself that ultimately are at your expense. This could be like choosing a career based on your parents' wishes while you get stuck doing something that makes you miserable. It could be like having to choose between friends who are arguing with each other and drag you into the middle of it. It could be disapproval from others for some strongly held beliefs you hold. There are tons of situations where we kill our own light for the sake of our own sanity but also sacrificing our sanity.

To remain true to yourself without creating harm for others, consider personal boundaries as a guide to knowing when to lead yourself by your passions versus considering others' thoughts about you. It's actually pretty simple. Does the belief, lifestyle choice, decision, action, or anything else hurt someone around you? No? Then be true to you. Does your belief, lifestyle choice, decision, action, or situation possibly hurt someone? Then stop and consider how important it should be to you. When setting boundaries to be ourselves, boundaries go both ways and are intended to avoid harm to others as well as protecting ourselves. If the person you want to marry is not approved by your family, consider if that's because your family has biases or unrealistic expectations or if they recognize the person you're with is toxic. If it's because they're biased and bigoted, then the pain brought on them is their own problem--not yours. If your family is concerned because they noticed your partner is acting demeaning toward you and you're way too accepting, maybe they're just looking out for you.

How do you manage your image, stay true to yourself, all the while maintaining relationships and dealing with judgement from others?

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