Some people seem to know who they at a young age, some people seem very confident early on....
I use to envy those people, because I was not one of them.
I clearly remember being at a party in college, scanning the room and feeling inadequate. Looking at my smiling face, you wouldn't know that inside I felt insecure. Why was my body this way ? My hair? Why did I talk this way? Why wasn't I more outgoing? more relaxed? more...? Why did I feel so different from everyone else?
"You were born an original. Don’t become a copy "
These thoughts I had in the middle of the party are only a small glimpse into the thoughts that were my closest confidants each and everyday. Sadly, most of the times, I felt inadequate. No matter what my mother, friends, and family members said, deep down I just did not believe I measured up. This view of myself affected the way I interacted with others, because I had this nagging fear that they too would realize I was not good enough. As self-destructive as I knew these thoughts were, I did not know how to change them. I felt stuck, and I struggled. I had so many questions, I really wanted to learn how to love myself, but I didn't know how.....
As I asked these questions of myself, I started discovering answers. I discovered the power of your thoughts and words, and so I began reading and researching information about positive thinking and positive self-image. Through my research, I discovered that the negative thoughts I harbored, shaped the way I viewed myself. This was enlightening, but scary. No wonder I often felt the way I did, my thoughts about myself stunk! I started to counter those negative thoughts with positive ones. Each time I thought something negative, I replaced it with a positive thought. I also began to be more careful about the things I said about myself. Words are incredibly powerful, and I wanted to make sure that the words following "I am..." demonstrated self-love. Additionally, I started journal(ing), praying and inundating myself with positive messages. I began a practice where I would look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful, worthy and lovable just as I am. I also ended relationships that did not serve my new found self-development. At first it was difficult, there were days that I slipped back into my old stinking thinking (old habits are hard to break); but I pressed on. I decided I was going to fight for me in a way that no one else could.
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are"
Slowly but surely, my concept of myself began to change. I don't remember exactly when I noticed the changes, but I began to change. I started owning my voice and expressing myself, I started to see value in my personality and my character, and I saw beauty when I looked in the mirror. My relationships with others started to change. I pursued quality over quantity and my standards changed - the bars became a lot higher.
"A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down."
More importantly, I found comfort in my relationship with God as I started to get closer to Him. As a Christian, I found comfort in the Bible. I realized that I was "fearfully and wonderfully" made by my Creator in His image. He who knew me before I was even born, He who sent His Son to die for me, He who loved me unconditionally, gave me strength.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Today, I am happy with the woman I have become. In essence, I fought to become her. I can honestly report that I love me. The differences I did not like before, are the things I love about myself. I embrace who I am, because it is who God created me to be, and she's fabulous!!! Quite often, people tell me I seem very sure of who I am. I usually chuckle, because it is a far cry from how I was a few short years ago.
"But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous "
Each of us bring a special gift to the world, and we deny the world that gift when we aren't true to ourselves. I cannot stress this enough, please be you. Be truly you! Please do not rob the world of your unique and special gift. If you get the urge to compare yourself to others, Stop! Please stop right there, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made just as you are. You are deserving of love, just as you are. If you didn't know if before, please start believing it now. I think my struggle with self-acceptance has made me particularly fond of those I deem genuine. If anything, it's what I find most attractive in a man. A man who is truly himself is a winner in my eyes.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance”
It's funny, in my high school yearbook, I chose the quote "Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else." I graduated from high school over 10 years ago and that quote cannot be more true.
Go on and be a first-rate you!!!!!