I am here to tell you that you are beautiful. You don’t believe me and I know why. You have been raised to think that you need to be more to be enough, that you need to be different from how you presently are to be worthy. Has anyone ever told you that you are everything? That you are perfect as you are? I hope so, but if not, read my words: you are enough.
I am sad that people in my life talk down to themselves about who they are and how they look. That these people say, “if I look like him/her, then people will like me.” Or, “if I get the promotion I will fit in with my peers.” I hate that we feel like we have to constantly compare ourselves to others, because aren’t we all doing our best? Can’t we all give ourselves a little more grace and be kinder to ourselves? I guess that’s the dream.
It would probably be easier if we had support. If the people in our lives celebrated us, AS IS, instead of giving us unsolicited advice for how we could change or improve. I spent and have spent most of my life labeled, “the quiet girl.” As if it were something freaky, or something that was bad that I needed to change. But the truth is people didn’t understand me, and I know now that ya’ll extroverts get uncomfortable with silence… but here we are, 20 years later, and I’m still quiet in most situations. The haters didn’t change me.
The truth is, as much as we are hard on ourselves, we are hard on each other. I feel like we all could use a little break, don’t you?
I know the feeling of comparison. It used to haunt me constantly throughout the day. I know, through reading and tons of research that I should be grateful for what I have. I know that happiness comes from within and that blah blah blah nobody’s perfect. But, I also know that there was a version of me that constantly compared herself to others, felt like she didn’t measure up, and wished a million wishes to change into what she thought was the ideal version of herself. The version with a better head of hair, a better face, and a better body. A version that is more intelligent, has less anxiety, and more ambition. The list goes on, but I write this article for you as well as for myself, because comparison was killing me. And I need us all to be a little kinder to ourselves. We are doing great.
Let’s venture back to about ten years ago when I was still in high school. Yes, I dare go there. High school was not the best time for me. When I say this, I get one of two reactions: “REALLY?!”, or “yeah, high school sucks.” The former being a reaction from someone who loved high school, thrived there, and the latter being from those like me, who survived the four years by some sort of miracle. High school was not my season, and if high school was the best season for you… Great. The thing is, a lot of teenagers feel like they don’t belong in school. They feel like if they don’t fit into “the box” then they are not good enough. Well guess what? Boxes come in all shapes and sizes. And sometimes they are not even square. We are truly living in a time of great innovation. Life is changing. And you know what? Someday there won’t even be boxes at all. *Shrugs awkwardly as she loses the thought train of her entire audience*
In high school and every year prior, I was quiet, shy, and I always felt like I didn’t “fit in.” I didn’t play sports, I got sweaty anytime someone talked to me, and there’s that one time I tried to break my own arm to get out of going to school all together…this is shocking for us all. I have had anxiety my entire life, but it took me until the later part of my twenties to start addressing it, acknowledging it, and finding support from other people who are like me, people who make me feel normal. People who make me feel like I am enough as I am. I don’t have to try to be outgoing, or apologize for being a little different from those who are not like me and it feels pretty good to have that support.
It makes me angry that I hear and see people pointing fingers, tearing people down, casting judgment, and spewing ideas about how everyone else should live, all over everyone else. It makes me angry that I see my friends and family hurt and tear themselves down because they aren’t who they think they should be or what they should look like. It took me years to accept myself for who I am, as I am, and I’d like to encourage you to look into a mirror and say to yourself, “I am good enough.” And then treat yourself to a compliment. Even if it feels weird, even if it feels fake. Do this every day until it feels real, and then bask in the glory of all your new-found confidence. And like my girl T-Swift once said, “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” So go on brush your shoulders off.
If we are kinder to ourselves, we will in return be kinder to others. If we stop trying to tear people down because we feel inadequate, and accept ourselves and others for who we, and they are, as we, and they are, we can all live harmoniously.
And that’s the tea.