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Selena Gomez Opens Up About Career Setbacks, “Pressure”: “I Lost Sight of Who I Was”

Selena Gomez onstage during the 1st Annual 'We Day' California
Selena Gomez gave an inspirational speech at We Day California on March 26, in which she opened up about buckling under pressure 

Selena Gomez hopes her fans can learn from her mistakes. Taking the stage at Oakland's Oracle Arena on Wednesday, March 26, for We Day California, a conference to empower and inspire young people, the 21-year-old "Come and Get It" singer opened up about some of the emotional issues that led her to check into rehab earlier this year.

"I'm surrounded by people who are supposed to guide me, and some of them have, and others haven't. They pressure me," Justin Bieber's on-and-off love told the screaming crowd of thousands. "There's so much pressure. You gotta be sexy, you gotta be cute, you gotta be nice. You gotta be all these things."

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"I'm sure you can all relate," she continued. "You all have pressure that you have to deal with every day, with school, with work, with friends, with parents, with family."

In her case, she went on, people want to micromanage her life. "They tell me what to wear, how to look, what I should say, how I should be," she explained. Then, getting emotional, she said, "Until recently, I had given into that pressure. I lost sight of who I was. I listened to opinions of people, and I tried to change who I am because I thought that others would accept me for it."

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Ultimately, she told the audience, she realized she needed to be true to herself — and that's the lesson she wants her fans to learn, too. "Please just remain who you are and know that we have each other's back," she pleaded with the crowd.

The Spring Breakers star also opened up about some early setbacks in her career. "When I was 7, I wanted to be an actress, and I wanted to live my dream, and when I was 11, I had a casting director tell me that I wasn't strong enough to carry my own show," the one-time Barney and Friends star shared. "And it does more than knock the wind out of you. It crushes you when people try to tell you you're not good enough."

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She went on: "It almost [crushed] me, but there was my mom next to me, stronger than ever, and she said the most important thing is to always trust in myself. If I'm doing something because I love it, I should do it because I love it and I believe I can do it…Two years later, I got my own show."

"All I really want you to know is that you are changing the world," she told the crowd. "Please just be kind to each other and love and inspire people…Let's change the game. The most important thing is that we learn and we continue to learn from each other."

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