Inspired

#TrueSelf Challenge

As you guys know, I am all about being your true self at all times. Whether that means posting goofy makeup-free selfies or listening to my body when it’s craving a certain food or type of movement, I try to keep it real and be myself every single day.

I always encourage others to be their true selves too, which is why the last few weeks have been so interesting to me. Lately there’s been a higher-than-average amount of media attention praising the bravery of individuals willing to be who they truly are. As a result, I think more people than ever are feeling encouraged to be completely authentic. But being real isn’t always easy; we live in a world of filters and retouching, there’s so much pressure to be “perfect” and “happy” at all times. It can be tempting to curate our social media content in a way that’s flattering to our looks and our lifestyle.

That’s why I was so blown away by a story I recently read on Seventeen.com, about a teenage dancer named EmJ who is sharing her lifelong struggle with a debilitating illness called Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, or EDS. The genetic disorder makes her joints hyper-flexible (great for dance!), but all that extended movement leads to frequent injuries and crushing fatigue. As you can imagine, it also left her feeling really isolated. She did everything she could to avoid talking about her condition with peers and classmates. She even hid her condition and downplayed everything she was going through on her social media so friends and peers wouldn’t know. She says dance was the only thing that really got her out of bed (girl after my own heart), but being honest with everyone about how hard it was to really make it through each day just seemed way too scary.

Today EmJ’s being real. She came out and wrote about all the difficulties she faces, and how the disease has robbed her of certain “normal” teen experiences. And according to EmJ, coming clean and speaking out means more to her than just getting her truth out; it means helping others stay true to who they are too. “It’s not just about me and my experience with EDS,” EmJ writes. “It’s about all the people out there struggling with issues that aren’t always visible on the surface. Staying silent means things continue to get misunderstood.”

Inspired by EmJ and all the other people out there brave enough to be themselves, I’m challenging all of us to be our true selves this week, too. What does being true to yourself mean to you? Does it mean leaving the mascara at home and letting your beautiful, natural lashes shine? Does it mean standing up for something you believe in, and making your voice heard? Whatever it means to you to be completely honest, real, and true, I challenge you to get out there and do it. And don’t let me miss all the fun—snap a pic of your bold statement, declaration or move and hashtag it #trueself. Can’t wait to see all the beauty, bravery, and honesty you share!

Photo Credit: Tom Jones Photography

Julianne Hough
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Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough is just trying to be a nice person who dances as often as possible, usually in public. She recently wifed up to NHL star Brooks Laich and is the proud dog-mom of two pups, Lexi & Harley (they’re the real brains behind everything).
Julianne Hough
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  • I really do love this! And I’m totally going to snap a #trueself photo this weekend! 🙂

  • PaulaandKeith Dussinger

    You are such a positive inspiration for young girls today. This is coming from a 66 yr old great grandmother. P.S. you and Derek are my birthday present from my daughter. Will be at your July 11 shoe in New Jersey. I can’t wait!!!

  • Kate

    Such a lovely post! Your blog always inspires me!
    -Kate
    http://katekoutures.blogspot.com/

  • Mish Marino

    Love this! I do this all the time actually. I am so proud of myself for not caring anymore about other people’s opinion of my words, looks or actions. I am my own woman and I am not being inappropriate, or wild or anything…I just don’t seek approval. And getting here was a process actually, so I feel very proud and liberated and I encourage everyone out there to be their true self as well!

  • Christina

    Love this post! For me, being honest and true to myself becomes easier as I get older. I don’t know if it’s because I just don’t have the energy to worry as much about what others think or if I have learned how to prioritize better. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. I think the more that I learn to let go, the better it feels. That feeling of freedom makes me want to keep going and continue to let go of other things that are holding me back. Rock on, ladies! Let’s continue to aim to be who we truly are. 🙂

  • Delany Rae

    You’re the most inspiring person I know.. Thank you for being the best role model

  • Keeona Stewart

    What I do to stay true to myself, is to wake up everyday and remind myself that I am beautiful, talented, kind, considerate, giving, caring and every other nice and encouraging word I can think of. Also, whenever I’m down about something or insecure, I don’t hide or run from my problems, I see if I can seek help in a positive way and not the negative way. I ask my friends, my mom and other family members about what should I do and how should I deal with the situation. Also, whenever I’m about to cry about something, I just let it all out in front of somebody that I care about. Whenever people see me be so emotional about whatever I’m feeling, I try not to worry about it. People might think that I’m doing it to get attention, but I’m not. Whenever I’m being vulnerable about something, I know that I’m not hiding my emotions, I’m letting them out, not hiding or running from them. And Jules, I remember watching Dancing With The Stars last season and I remember you telling one couple after their dance, “Being vulnerable shows your true self, and when you are vulnerable, that is strength.” It really stuck with me. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now! I feel more free, independent and confident than ever.

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