Here is how (and how not) to become unstoppable, wildly attractive, and deeply satisfied with life.
Years ago, when living as a model and young entrepreneur in NYC, I was invited to a dinner party with a group for the opening of a friend’s new restaurant. It was a night like most fabulous summer nights in NY. I dressed to the nines and headed out with some girlfriends to a fancy new spot where we shared a long table stacked with 20-plus gorgeous and cool people of every stripe; celebs, big Hollywood producers, and actors.
After dinner, we all headed to the club at around midnight, where the dance floor was completely empty. Every table was full, yet not a soul was dancing on the tiny dance floor despite one of the best DJs in NY trying to get us there. Within a few minutes of arrival, I finally got a good look at one of my fellow partygoers, Mick Jagger. I glanced at him once at dinner but hadn’t thought twice about connecting with him because, in my mind, he was “Mick Jagger!”
What caught my eye this time was Mick dancing all by himself on the dance floor. And if you’ve ever seen him dance, you’d understand why a whole song was written about it. What I loved about what I noticed about Jagger that night was that he is a guy that dances to the beat of his own drum. For the first time up close, I witnessed a true legend doing his thing, and it was peculiar, to say the least.
At that instant, I understood that Mick Jagger is Mick Jagger because he is living as his full WHOLE self at all times. He doesn’t live out loud because he is an icon. He is an icon because he is totally free! He validates and embraces himself, and he radiates that without any shame. His dancing is just one expression of how much he enjoys himself.
In that moment of revelation, I was magnetized to meet him there. And so, I walked out to the dance floor and danced with him like it was our preordained date in heaven. We swayed, we played, and grinded, and before I knew it, as I was looking him dead in the eyes, he grabbed my head and pulled me in for a long, wet, open-mouth kiss.
It was sloppy and raunchy and wild. And so fucking right for precisely what was happening at that moment. And before I knew it, everyone standing on the sidelines looking cool was on the dance floor, getting down next to us.
This is what integration looks like, my friend.
Integration isn’t just facing your trauma, your shadow, and horrible childhood experiences. It also embraces your light, beauty, and power. It’s about embracing the moment and your life so much that you find yourself making out on the dance floor with living rock legends, and you know that this was exactly what was meant to happen. It’s owning that you love being seen and that you want to hide at the same time. It’s living with the fullness of being a master at some things and an absolute lost cause in what others find easy. Jagger showed me that if you show up authentically and do your thing with joy in your heart, people will rise to meet you there.
Unfortunately, so many of us are afraid to be our whole selves because we feel we’re “too much.”
Perhaps our families were overwhelmed when we were kids, and we got the message that it was because of our big feelings and personality that needed to be turned down so things would be ok. From there, we created false personas to meet everyone where they were, no matter how painful and inauthentic that was for us.
Integration as a living practice is about allowing all parts of you to fully live and coexist together as one, no matter who or what is in front of you. When we practice this long enough, we become a container that can hold a life so big and powerful that the world bends to our will.
Integration is the process of becoming who you really are by consciously choosing to accept it all.
By accepting all parts of you, even the false selves you created to cope, belong, and survive, you finally make choices that are actually true for you. And when you live fully and unapologetically in your truth, you become your own hero and healer. You get to be the little kid who just needs to have a good cry AND the mature, emotionally available adult that makes space for it.
So how did we become this false character?
As a person who has lived many lives and in many places from a young age (I moved 11 times by the time I was 13 years old), I got really good at being a chameleon, able to blend into whatever new environment or group I found myself in. As I got older, I realized that I didn’t know who I was or what was true for me. I had spent so many years casting off my “bad” parts and making up characters that were “good” enough, “cool” enough, or added enough value in the social strata that I found myself in.
Eventually, I learned something that few people know; your personality isn’t you, and it is changeable.
The root word of “personality” is “persona,” which comes from the Latin word meaning “mask” or “character.” When you live unaware, your personality is solely comprised of who raised you, what happened to you, and who you’ve spent the most time with.
When we live on autopilot, our personalities and lives become a false projection of who we think we should be rather than who we choose to be.
To fit into the status quo, we have to reject aspects of ourselves and cast them off into exile deep within our subconscious mind. After a while, the false self we project into the world becomes the person we think we are. These are tactics only fitting for survival mode because this is conditional living.
With a false self, all you can have is false confidence and shallow ideals. You start to live with a growing sense of deep mistrust within yourself and others. Deep down, the cast-off parts in your psyche begin to rage to be heard, known, and expressed. They know that you’re denying them a chance to live while you lie to yourself about who you are. And they’ll only take it for so long.
This could be the inner child who was made to believe they were shameful for what an adult did to them. Or the inner artist who stopped developing at 15 when told to let go of “childish” dreams. The thing is, that pain is never healed by anyone or anything “out there,” and those dreams and the parts of you that dreamt it never die. In fact, they fight harder and get louder.
The false persona that you think is you that denies the pain of the inner child, the anger of the internalized parent, and the expression of the inner artist- now has to work double time to suppress it all like a tyrant over a medieval kingdom.
Out of that inner conflict, we turn to drugs to numb ourselves, strive for better jobs to validate the parts that scream that we are unworthy, and betray our deepest needs and desires in the hope that we will be approved by others.
It’s time to choose thriving. By consciously allowing yourself to be who you really are, to love and care for your WHOLE self, flaws in all, you can live fully. A life of freedom where you don’t apologize for being you or seek permission to be acceptable.
Why do we risk it all just so we can belong?
Because we are just waking up to the fact that we can belong to ourselves. A funny thing starts to happen when validating and embracing what about ourselves is unruly, different, and weird. We become unstoppable, wildly attractive, and deeply satisfied with life.
It’s not to say that the road to this level of living isn’t rough at times. But we have all seen the artists and superstars who exemplify what is possible when we boldly embrace and own all of ourselves. We can look to them as inspiration rather than up to them as some ascended figures of the rare and special kind.
This is both working with, accepting, and loving our shadow and embodying and owning all of our light.
By integrating our personality traits, fears, habits, and parts, we can gain absolute freedom. Because we get to consciously choose. In our choosing, we get to let go of things that don’t fit or feel authentic. We get to take what doesn’t work for us and turn it into what does. We get to transmute and transfigure what is no longer useful to us. We get to shine and allow others to be inspired by us.
In doing this, we make art, create things, transform, and find that whatever we don’t keep gets to become a gift. And not just for us to enjoy but for others to cherish. What was once a painful burden is now the very stuff made for crafting the masterpiece that is our life. By living this principle of healing yourself, you can unlock a life that is truly your creation. This is art. This is the stuff of true happiness, purpose, and fulfillment.
Do you struggle with self-doubt, lack of confidence, and self-criticism?
Try this integration practice to begin this process of integration:
Join me in a thirty-minute practice of self-integration. Draw a line down a page, dividing it into “what I don’t love” and “what I love.” Alternate between both sides, listing something about yourself for each. Set a time for no less than 15 minutes to journal to find new meaning in what you don’t love and how you can amplify what you do love. How can you now make both sides of the page things to celebrate and own? Use this practice to embrace the entirety of yourself—the good and the bad, the loved and the unlovable.