Cara Delevingne on Happiness, Imposter Syndrome, Overwork, Therapy & the Beauty in Flaws

Cara Delevingne on Happiness, Imposter Syndrome, Overwork, Therapy & the Beauty in Flaws

“Be comfortable in your own shoes because you’re going to be in them for a while.” – Cara Delevigne

Cara DeLevigne’s speech during the Women in the World summit has touched me on multiple levels, even though I’m not a woman. I’ve watched it numerous times since it’s release.

With 41 million followers on Instagram, this supermodel spoke about many issues we can relate to, which surprised me immensely because I didn’t think she would struggle with these issues because of her success, a common misconception society has. In her chat, Cara talks about:

  • not knowing who you are
  • having a mental breakdown
  • dropping out of high school at 17
  • dealing with therapy and anti-depressants
  • how your flaws are what make you special
  • how writing helped her by articulating how she felt
  • trying to do well in school to please her parents but failing
  • meeting people who want to use her for what she can provide
  • being a goofball and nothing like the personality of a normal model
  • how mental illness and depression aren’t something to be ashamed of
  • how she always wanted to change the world growing up, like most kids
  • how she started yoga for fun, but stayed with it for the spiritual and therapy
  • how people who rejected her in the past in the industry were now all over her
  • having the imposter syndrome: not feeling like she deserved her success and feeling like she got lucky living some one’s dream life.
  • how she didn’t feel like she could complain or feel bad about any of the internal battles she had because of her fabulous external life
  • how she couldn’t say no to any opportunity after success because she remembered how difficult it was before and how this caused her to overwork and get stress-induced psoriasis, which gave her big welts all over her body and made her feel disgusting
  • how she wished someone would have just told her to take a break, but no one did
  • the importance of saying no to take control of your life, something she has now learned how to do (similar to Lady Gaga’s lessons with learning saying no to opportunity during her talk at the Emotion Revolution Summit)
  • how her modeling agency treated the symptoms of her psoriasis but not the underlying cause to get her back on the runway as soon as possible to make more money
  • just because you’re successful, rich, famous, good-looking, or loved doesn’t mean you will be happy
  • how you should dream bigger. Many girls tell her that they want to be models, but she thinks genetic engineers, astronauts, and presidents are cooler
  • how she wasn’t treated seriously and looked down on by other actors when she tried to break into the acting industry
  • how she grew up believing that showing any emotion, including crying, was weakness
  • the bad parts of the modeling industry: constantly being told you’re not good enough, measuring your worth as a person by rejections at work, photographers who only do the job to sleep with women, and models who don’t stand up for themselves who get used by photographers because they feel like they should be used

Watch the video now:

I learned how we struggle with many of the same issues even though we believe we’re alone. As an Asian American man, I’ve thought certain issues were confined to my groups. But I’ve learned that even a strong, beautiful, famous, supermodel can struggle with showing emotions, negative prejudice, and happiness. That makes it more important than ever to work on these issues. Become secure in yourself or your life will be a train wreck no matter how famous you get.

“The most important journey all of us will go through is the journey of ourselves — to find our truth, to find who we are and what makes us happy. And in our culture, we are told that if we’re beautiful, if we’re skinny, if we’re successful, famous, if we fit in, if everyone loves us, we’ll be happy but that’s not entirely true.”  -Cara Delevigne

I’ve researched and written about the science of happiness. I know more than most people what will truly bring happiness. Yet I still catch myself from time-to-time chasing wealth, women, and fame, thinking it will make me happier. Sure, it’ll bring fleeting pleasure and achievement to know that I’ve achieved some bucket list item when I was once struggling, but it won’t last. You need to constantly remind yourself.

Cara wrote a poem back in 2014 personifying her struggles:

Who am I? Who am I trying to be?

Not myself, anyone but myself.

Living in a fantasy to bury the reality,

Making myself the mystery,

A strong facade disguising the misery.

Empty, but beyond the point of emptiness,

Full to brim with fake confidence,

A guard that will never be broken,

Because I broke a long time ago.

I’m hurting but don’t tell anyone.

No one needs to know.

Don’t show or you’ve failed.

Always okay, always fine, always on show.

The show must go on.

It will never stop.

The show must not go on,

But I know it will.

I give up. I give up giving up.

I am lost.

I don’t need to be saved,

I need to be found.

Her poem speaks of not wanting to be herself, running away from reality, giving up, feeling lost, putting up a facade of confidence to hide the pain, feeling broken, feeling like she always have to be on point, looking to be found, and believing that she can’t and shouldn’t tell anyone or she failed. She had a number of internal issues she needed to work out.

It’s okay to ask for help. You scan and should tell someone you trust. A great therapist can do wonders and help you tremendously.

Hopefully, you’ll understand from her talk and all my content that it’s important to become mentally healthy, secure, and happy. And wealth alone won’t fix that. Wealth doesn’t substitute for healing through therapy and self-growth. In fact, success can make it seem like you can neglect those areas, but you can’t.

  • you may not know who you are but by tasting, testing, and living you’ll find out who you are and what you like
  • there are plenty of successful people who have succeeded without higher education; not going doesn’t mean you are a failure
  • therapy, mental illness, and depression aren’t something to be ashamed of; it doesn’t mean you’re a crazy person
  • find your form of expression to get out your thoughts: writing, talking, art, music (for me, it’s a mix of talking and writing)
  • throughout your journey, you’ll run into people who just want something from you without giving in return. People are naturally selfish. Realize that they’re not going to get as far as those who go after win-win situations. There are others out there who truly wish to help you grow. Surround yourself with those who grow your fire.
  • be proud of who you are with all your weird quirks and hobbies, even if it doesn’t seem accepted or normal in the moment
  • constantly reflect back on what you’ve achieved and speak affirmations to have a strong self-worth. Everyone human is worthy of respect and love. Don’t let a person or business’s opinions or rejections define you. If you build your self-esteem based on the external, it can be taken from you with forces outside of your control. Let’s your worth is based on how rich you are or how many followers you have on social media. If an economic depression occurs or a trend changes, you could lose that.
  • even if you’re successful or famous, it’s okay to tell others you have problems and need help. Asking for help isn’t complaining. Success in one area doesn’t mean that you have to cover up suffering in another.
  • when you become super successful, you will have too many opportunities and you need to learn how to say No and avoid overwork. If it’s not a, “Hell Yes!” it’s a No. recommend the book The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness by James Altucher (affiliate link).
  • don’t let your boss, business, family, or anyone else let their own motives destroy your own health and peace of mind. Give yourself a break when needed.
  • get a job that you think is cool even if it’s not what others think is cool
  • in your career, you’ll eventually run into multiple forms of discrimination based on your gender, beauty, ugliness, race, background, and age. Don’t let these limit your potential. Expect them, and find out how to positively navigate around them when the door is closed.
  • showing emotion, including crying, is not weakness, especially for men. It’s okay to be vulnerable.

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