Overcoming - The Past Year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I want to get a bit personal today. I have tried in the past not to get too personal, but on an occasion such as this, why the hell not?

Every year on my birthday, I can't help but think back on the past year of events because, lets be honest, I don't feel any different between my birthday and the day before. However, I love to look back and see how I have changed over the course of a year. And this year has undoubtedly been the biggest change I've ever seen within myself.

The change I want to focus on is the change I've made in my self-esteem. For as long as I can remember, I have always had insecurities with myself. The insecurity I've battled with is not accepting the person I am inside. I've been scared that people won't like me, that they will think I'm weird and that I will end up with out any friends. I was constantly hiding who I was. Most of the time I was trying to be who I thought people wanted me to be. I would lie about things I enjoyed, laughed at jokes I didn't think were funny and let people walk all over me, just so I didn't upset them. My life was horrible. I wasn't any where close to being happy.

There were points where I would realize this was going on and I would try to rise above it. But then as quickly as I started, one persons judgmental comment would send me back to my state of conforming robot. The hard thing is that "society" makes up so many rules about who we should be. They determine what's "nerdy" or "cool", what's "stylish" and what's not; and the sad things is we listen. Well, at least I did. I cared what all those judgmental people thought. If someone told me the song I liked was stupid, suddenly I lost my taste for it. Or when someone commented on how conservative I was, I gauged my ears just to prove them wrong. But never in these moments was I ever thinking about what I truly wanted or who I truly was.

Over the years, I have gotten better in not letting what other people think rule my decisions. But up until about six months ago, my self-esteem was still struggling. Then, I made the firm decision that I didn't want to be this way anymore and I made some changes. I want to share the steps I took because I have really felt and seen a huge impact in my life, and I know that many of you might be struggling with the same thing. (But hopefully not!)

The first thing I did was I made a list of things I enjoy and hung it on my cubicle wall to look at everyday. It helped me realize who I really am and what I really want out of life. Not what others might expect of me. I would highly suggest this to anyone who is struggling to find who they are. It's weird how clear things are once they are down on paper.

I also began to live by some new rules. Including, being genuine to others, letting myself be creative and smiling - a lot.

If you want to stop being judged, you must stop judging. We've all heard the quote from Gandhi, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world."  Everyone is different. We all live under different circumstances and who are we to decide whats "weird" or "normal". I realized that if I wanted  to stop feeling the pressure of fitting in, I had to be the one to stop supporting the people who were making me feel this way. I had to be the rule changer. I am so grateful for this decision. I have been robbing myself of some awesome friends and acquaintances. I also saw a huge change in how I see judgmental people. They are simply rude people who don't know any better or they are insecure themselves.

The last rule that I began to live by is, the people who are worth being in your life, are the ones who don't care you have quirks. So what, you miss out on a few friendships now and then, because some people can't get over your petty differences. The important thing is the friendships you can build will be meaningful and above everything else - REAL. So learn to let people go. But also, learn to forgive. This isn't a black and white situation. You need to make the call.

The most important step I took was learning to be myself. Usually this mean taking bold and difficult steps that were out of my comfort zone. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. The past six months I have done and said things I would never imagine I could. But now I feel free. It's amazing!! So, just how did I do this? I would just take a deep breath and go for it.

I hope most of you aren't going through this same thing. But if you are, I hope I helped a little. It is possible to let yourself, be yourself! Just go for it.

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