Life Design Coach and creator of The SELF Approach™

This is my corner of the web where I share unfiltered advice, practical tools, and laughter at life's sometimes fuckedupedness - all meant to help you live & love the absolute hell out of yourself and your life.

I'm Jen Vertanen

Hey hey!

A very colorful and relaxed older woman smoking a cigar with her knee propped up and a blue circle with the words How To Really Be Yourself

How to Really Be Yourself and Not Apologize For It

“Just be yourself.”

How many times have you heard this super annoying phrase uttered while growing up…in your career…from well-meaning people who had no idea what the hell was going on in that dick brain of yours?

That’s all cool but no one taught us HOW to just be yourself. And if you’re anything like me, you didn’t have emotionally healthy parents to even model it for you so you’ve just been going on through life making shit up as you go (<== there’s nothing wrong with that btw – we do what we need to survive).

If you’re anything like my clients, you’ve done everything “right” and checked all the boxes and here you find yourself…in your middle years…wondering who the hell even am I?

How to really be yourself

Below are 7 areas to explore and this is important because knowing yourself inside and out and not apologizing for all that makes you, you?

Makes you one helluva amazing person.

It also makes things like reaching your goals and getting your needs met time and time again, a no-brainer. It just is who you are.

Figure out who you are

At your core, who are you? What makes you tick? What gives you holy rage? What are your specific personality traits? How would your dearest, closest friend describe you?

I’m passive-aggressively sorrynotsorry but you are not your job or your children or your volunteer work or your bank account or your home or anything external.

You are who you choose to be deep inside.

Seriously, grab a sheet of paper and start riffing on what makes you – the being made up of magical stardust ( <== that’s about as woo as I get) – you.

Not what society tells you you should be. Not how your parents think you should be.

Who do you want to be? Start there.

Answer this ==> I want to be the woman who…

This is your core. Your truest self. The one you are iterating into. Your future self.

Learn who you are; the L in the SELFISH framework.

Not going to lie, this is BIG work. And it’s HUGELY IMPORTANT work if you’re tired of living on autopilot.

Do not skip this step or hustle your way through it. You do hard things all the time. Do this. Get to know yourself inside and out. Your future self thanks you.

What do you value? What do you hold near and dear?

You are a dynamic creature and your values evolve and shift over time. Values are our compass…what we hold near and dear about ourselves, the world, and the people around us.

Truth time: You can say you value something but if you’re not living life in a way that puts that value front and center, you’re valuing something over it which puts you out of alignment and integrity with yourself.

Take some time to sit with these questions.

✨ What do I value in myself?

✨ What do I value in others?

✨ What do I value seeing in the world?

Stop comparing YOUR journey to others

Seriously…stop. In this case, you are a unique, special snowflake. We all are. No one – even your siblings, has the same experiences you do, the same brain you do, the same body you do.

No one.

Remember this the next time you find yourself comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides. You have no idea what’s going on behind their smile.

This is most definitely a time to stay in your own lane. Stop with the self-harm and start being in self-friendship.

Forgive yourself

Are we sometimes the asshole? Yes. Do we all have our fair share of cringe-worthy moments? Also yes.

Would you forgive another if they had the same transgressions? Let’s go a step further…would you forgive your child?

Look – you can beat yourself up all you want and all it’s going to do is…beat yourself up. Self-flagellation isn’t cool, no one is going to give you a trophy for it and say, “Good job!”  and it gets you nowhere fast.

It’s time to get specific and explore all the ways you’re holding yourself in harsh judgment.

And then do the work to forgive yourself, if nothing more, because you are an inherently worthy human being.

Who are you in your most YOU-ness?

What is your essence? How do you express yourself? What visuals come to mind when you picture your soul? I’m not going to go into this too much here because I already wrote about it here.

This is core work to how to really be yourself – both internally and externally. Explore the questions in the post and create your own Pinterest board for inspiration and motivation.

Emotional objectivity FTW!

I’m not a fan of labeling emotions as “good” or “bad” but instead – what moves me closer to my goals and values vs. what moves me further away.

If you have a feeling that is less than ideal, I want you to feel it and process it. Research shows it takes 90 seconds to move your way through a difficult emotion but a lifetime of negative impacts if you stuff it deep down inside. It literally affects you physically, emotionally, and mentally.

When we deny an emotion, we deny a big part of ourselves. Not worth it.

If I have a particularly sticky emotion, I put on my detective hat and get curious. I literally pretend as though I’m someone else on the outside looking in with objectivity. I ask things like:

✨ If my bff were feeling this, what council would I have for her? Would I wrap her in a huge hug or bash her over the proverbial head with a stick?

✨ What can I learn from this emotion? Is there a lesson in here? A silver lining?

✨ If a young child came to me with this emotion, how would I treat them? Would I scoff at them and roll my eyes and tell them to grow up or would I wrap them in a nurturing hug and help them feel safe and loved?

We learn from a place of curiosity + objectivity. We dim our light when we judge.

Be your own damn best friend.

Get out there and enjoy the hell out of your life

Get out of your comfort zone. Do the thing you’ve always wanted to do. Have fun. Join a club. Plan a trip. Take a day off. Life is too damn short to do the same-old-same-old and call it a life well lived and loved.

Do things that help you feel ALIVE…like your heart is literally going to jump out of your chest because it feels so damn happy and content. Bring pleasure and joy into your day-to-day.

Figure out what makes you come alive and then go live the shit out of it.

jen v. xo

Hey there!

I'm a magical mix of coach, perspective-shifting mentor, hair-holder, consultant, wing woman, get shit done'r, silver lining finder, & slightly annoying cheerleader

I'm Jen Vertanen, Make Shit Happen Coach + creator of The Fuck Yeah Methodology

I used to roll my eyes at the notion of self love and loving my life because it felt so far outside the realm of possibilities. I thought both were saved for those who'd escaped childhood unscathed.

But a perfect storm in 2015 had me wake TF up and heal my childhood ish. Along the way, I started to not only love but LIKE myself and I stopped wanting to escape from my life and instead, intentionally create my exciting future. That's saying a lot when you read my stories!

And now? I get to help women all around the world fall in love with themselves, their lives, and create the future THEY want. How cool is that?!?

© 2024 Jen Vertanen & A Fuck Yeah Life

An ADHD &  LGBTQ woman owned business