1) Remember when you were little and you had no interest in fashion magazines? Remember when you grew up and, all of a sudden, you needed to be and look like the models in fashion magazines or else you weren't real and true and worth accepting?
2) Remember when you went to college? And when you thought that a piece of paper would be the sole definer of your professional existence?
3) Remember when you went to your first Disney movie and the pretty princess met a prince (and some funny little animals)? Remember how you longed for your prince to find, save and validate you?
4) Remember when you didn't have a "smart" phone, and when the Instagram time-suck didn't exist? Remember when you weren't inundated with selfies that somehow challenged your self-esteem?
5) Remember when you used to, quite simply, play with friends? Remember when it became ever so important to play with (and consequently be like) the right friends or else your social existence would be nothing?
Can you remember who you were before you found these things? Before the world had such a profound hold on your existence. Before ads and movies and magazines—and even people—started to shape you? It's hard, right? Hard to remember the innocence of life uninfluenced. It's a constant thing, and it's virtually inescapable. We are always being influenced, even when we don't think so, which makes it harder and harder for us to be who we really are.
I challenge you: Stop and think about who you are. Put the phone down, close the magazines, turn off the television. Just...think. Lean into yourself and say "hello" to a person so unique, yet possibly so hidden.
Love that person, and let them shine.