Lately, I have been feeling the constant urge to come up with ideas and initiatives that help us rise as human beings -
As you may know, at seventytwo° we don't just see ourselves as a fashion brand.
For us, it’s not just about suggesting what type of clothing to wear, it’s about our real lifestyle and values.
Coming up with tools, ideas or questions that allow us, and hopefully our audience, to explore ways to grow and evolve.
To this end, I wanted to share something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: the difference between real needs and created needs.
In my early 20s, I always craved a sense of belonging. After reading millions of books on this subject, I realized that wanting to belong is one of the most human needs we have.
The problem was that my learned belief system was not necessarily aligned with who I am.
I believed that it was necessary to be someone's girlfriend – not necessarily as a desire for a partner for myself, but to be and mean something to someone. So I contorted myself to become what other people liked, even if it meant liking myself less.
I believed that if I was not a size 6 or smaller, my body was not good enough, and therefore I wasn’t good enough. So I kept myself constantly hungry to maintain this "need.”
I believed that success was defined by the number of people who congratulated me on a project, instead of the feeling I got, throughout the journey of putting something together, and seeing how it came to fruition.
For a long time, the needs I created for myself came from trying to meet the expectations others set for me, instead of the desires and goals I had for myself.
By my late 20s, this system was no longer sustainable for me. Every relationship I had was based on someone else's monologue. I wasn’t giving myself permission to speak and turn them into dialogues, which made it impossible to address my needs, my real needs.
I stopped going out or participating in anything, putting up barriers because my perceived idea of how others would see me made me fearful. I stopped allowing myself to go out and just live and share with the world thinking I had to protect myself from judgment, when really I was being my harshest (and most unfair) judge.
I did not recognize myself. The breaking point was realizing that I was struggling to know and feel who I was.
It happened little by little, decision by decision. I always put all those CREATED needs, those that I designed to fit what I thought would achieve acceptance from others, ahead of my REAL needs, those that come from a place within myself.
What were my real needs? Feeling love for me and peace within me, surrounding myself with people who add to my life instead of subtracting, getting to love my body as it was. Respecting my thoughts and being able to verbalize them without shame or embarrassment - that was real.
Seeing this, I realized that I was always working on myself with the wrong intention: to measure my own success or failure from what I thought were the expectations of others.
It took me a lot of effort to change my belief system to one that is my own - many of us grow to believe in a way that is not aligned with who we are. And yes, we are oftentimes not responsible for what happened to us when we were little or what our parents told us at some point.
But this I know: it is our responsibility and we owe it to ourselves to question and fix within ourselves what no longer serves us.
So I contorted myself to become other people liked, even if it meant liking myself less.