Does your style belong to you?

While self-expression is personal and varies from one individual to another, the need and desire to belong is deeply rooted within all of us that begins at an early age regardless of our gender, sexual orientation, and cultural backgrounds.

Exploring my sense of style through clothing was never a “thing” and did not enter my conscious awareness until sixth grade. I attended an all-girls Catholic school from kindergarten through grade school, and having to wear uniforms daily eliminated the need to worry or think about “what to wear.”

During the first week of sixth grade, I remember feeling overwhelmed that led me feeling “I was not enough.” While there were other factors such as being in a new country for the first time and being the only Filipina in my school, this was probably my first memory of feeling that I was different from everyone else. I began to observe how the boys in my school treated girls that “looked a certain way and dressed a certain way,” and it revealed what I needed to be and look like to belong and be accepted by others. I started to associate beauty through the lens of what I was witnessing unfold throughout my middle school and high school years that has subconsciously influenced the way I expressed myself into adulthood. It took me years to realize this, but I know now how this core belief has been running my life on autopilot for way too long.

While my story may be unique to me, the feeling of “I need to look and dress a certain way” to belong or feel desired is an emotion we all share and resonate with. We are not born with a strong sense of self as children and the need to explore our individuality is a natural part of our journey in life, especially during our formative years. The problem, however, is our sense of self gets subconsciously defined through the way we experience life along the way. We begin to try to emulate someone else, whether it’s their style and/or image, and sometimes their way of being. This unconscious pattern follows us into adulthood and sometimes throughout our lifetime, without realizing that we’ve given our power away to someone else or a memory in the past. Very few realize they are actually being their inauthentic self.

Authenticity is a buzzword nowadays, but I believe the only way to truly understand what authenticity means and looks like to each of us is to have the courage to ask ourselves the deeper questions, such as “Who do I want to be?” To be able to identify the beliefs that are outdated and no longer serving you, and replace them with ones that are congruent with the future vision of you. To be able to get clarity on the styles and colors that truly make you feel your best without someone else’s opinion or without scrolling through social media looking for answers or validation. To be able to develop a greater relationship with yourself and craft an identity that mirrors your aspirations. Do you take the time to get curious or challenge whether your image and style truly belongs to you? Only you know the answer.

My Bitter Grace journey has revealed the importance of being our authentic self and living our authentic life. Our ability to have inner peace depends on it and it's up to us to make a different choice if we know deep down inside we are embodying someone else's identity. There's so much power behind knowing who you truly are and working to embrace all parts of you that have shaped the person you've become today. When you are an empowered person who feels at ease and confident with who you are and who you are becoming along the way, you begin to see a shift in the way you express yourself through what you wear. You also begin to experience a different reality. You begin to be a leader of your life, making aligned choices that move you forward to something greater.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a resource for many individuals and groups from all walks of life, guiding them toward a path to authentic self-expression. In many ways, they've helped me heal and reminded me of the importance of prioritizing our self-development. I hope my story empowers you to begin your authentic journey and to reclaim the truest part of you that may have gotten lost along the way. It's never too late to be the person you've always envisioned to be and be the hero you've always wanted to have.

If you are ready to dive deeper and discover the image and style that is authentic to you, I've designed this 6-step program that will spark a paradigm shift in YOU. This course has changed my life in ways that I am deeply proud of because of what the journey has achieved for me, and my hope is that it does the same for you.

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