Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Erin Lanahan
“A leader leads by example whether he intends to or not.” ~Unknown
Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to “be somebody.” For the majority of my life, I worked very hard at being whatever I thought I needed to be in order to be a great leader amongst my peers.
I wanted so deeply to inspire and move others, and to make a difference in a way that was unforgettable. I thought being a leader meant that I had to constantly prove that I was good enough to win the acknowledgment and appreciation of others.
For the first 25 years of my life, I exhausted myself trying to be the smartest, the prettiest, the most outgoing, the coolest, the sexiest, the fittest, the most fun, the most envied, the most desirable, and the most popular.
As a result of my inner passion and desire to be a light for others, I ended up destroying many parts of myself. I sacrificed my authenticity, my intuition, my self-respect, my self-love—all for the sake of “being somebody” in the eyes of other people.
I allowed myself to stay in relationships that were toxic for me, I treated my body like a human garbage can, and I sabotaged myself in the face of opportunity because deep down, I felt like a fraud.
This is because in many ways, I was. I was so busy trying to please everyone, and to be the person that had all the answers that I lost myself completely.
This journey brought me so much pain, but I’ve decided there is light in the darkness. There is possibility, healing, and joy in learning from the pain and creating something useful with it.