Over the last few weeks I have been noticing things about my behaviour, other people’s behaviour, reading various stories and articles, and watching things that have gotten me thinking. Here we are, each and every one of us, with the ability to make choices, with our gifts and talents, skills, and in the eye of our Creator, beautiful and loved people.
Yet we each have insecurities, or lack belief in ourselves at times, which sometimes makes things suck a little, or worse, keeps us trapped for years in cages of our own making. Why?
I know that we are not all the same. It would be short-sighted of me to think that just because I am the way I am, and grew up the way I did, that it’s the same for you. We all may have physical, mental or emotional obstacles in our path, and they will vary from person to person. But if it’s one thing that shouldn’t stop us from living our lives to the full, it’s us.
It started when a friend said I looked nice, and I immediately came back with well, thank goodness that the BB cream I put on is hiding my pimples. She then told me she can never understand why I always look for something wrong with myself when someone compliments me. Hmmm, why indeed? It’s the same thing at work. When my boss says well done for getting this or that done today, I either say nothing at all, or say, “well, that’s what we do here”.
I noticed that quite a few people share this problem. I struggle to accept a compliment. Sometimes, I just don’t want to come across as vain or arrogant. Sometimes it’s just that I honestly don’t believe I deserve it, especially at work. When I mention something that I find wrong with me, it’s because I feel like I am not as pretty as they say, or that I believe I could have done better.
There is of course room to improve many things in each of our lives. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. You will gain more knowledge, improve a skill, change the way you look, gain other skills, etc. I don’t know that we can ever say that we have truly peaked because life is ongoing. At each stage of your life, yes, you may peak, but you’ll have more stages of life where you will peak too.
I know this is coming across as “don’t be lazy”, and that is definitely part of it, but I mean to say, don’t worry if you aren’t good at something now. In a while, you will be if you keep working at it, and just because you feel like your best years are behind you, it doesn’t mean that the next few years can’t be every bit as great. It all hinges on your belief in yourself and what is important to you.
Sometimes we fail, not because we don’t know what we’re doing, but because we feel that we’ll never make it, overcome it, grasp it, excel at it, whatever. When I went for my driver’s licence test the first time around, I didn’t fail because I didn’t know how to drive or how to control the car. I failed because I was so nervous. I knew I had spent a lot of time and money getting lessons and making sure I drove well before I even considered booking for the test.
I don’t know how it is in other countries, but back then, in South Africa, it was hard to get a booking, I spent hours on the phone, and eventually got hold of someone who made extra money by phoning for others to get me a booking. When the day arrived, all I could think of was, oh my gosh, after all this work and money, I might fail. What if?
When I am really nervous, my coordination is not great. I couldn’t even get the handbrake down the reverse parking part of the test :p I eventually ended up rolling forward slightly (an instant fail) at a stop sign, because I felt so overwhelmed and like I was doing so badly.
Needless to say, the second time around, after a whole lot of rescue remedy (herbal calming tablets), sheer determination and a lot of telling myself, “I can do this, I know what I am doing”, I passed. I didn’t know how to drive any better, I didn’t change anything except calm down, and know that I could do it… and go to a different testing station because that is just where I managed to get a second booking.
I often look back on learning to drive and getting my licence when I feel I can’t accomplish something because there were so many times when I thought, ah man, I am never going to get this right, I will never drive, I suck at this. In the end, with hard work, I did it. I am sure you have situations you can look back on to feel encouraged too.
Sometimes, I automatically believed I couldn’t do something because I couldn’t before. But as they say, past performance is not an indication of future performance. I use to believe that was a load of crap honestly. How can you tell me if I did it badly before, that I won’t do it badly again? But, I am slowly starting to prove to myself that this isn’t true.
Even if the only thing that you learnt was that the previous way is not the way to do it, it’s still progress. If you’ve left it for a few months, a year, or many years, you may have gained more experience or wisdom that is going to help you. We are different people from who we were at 10, and at 27 I am different from when I was 20.
We learn better ways to do things, or what is more important, we can build on our goals or have new ones. We each have so much potential, and it all can be put into action by us. No one else can do it for you. You have the power to create awesome things, do awesome things, and achieve awesome things.
If you worry about the way you look, know that there are things that you dislike, that you may think is ugly, that other people like and even love. I am not a bombshell, I am never going to walk a runway, my slightly stocky build and height have assured that and while I am pretty at times, I am more cute than pretty. I look bleh in the morning and slightly deranged. I look like I am trying to look around 30 years older when I leave my hair untamed.
I have been likened to a mouse so many times, and have even been likened to a Chinese monkey, whatever that is :p I am convinced that I will never be the size I was when I finished high school. But what I will say is, that I have pretty eyes, and I am a little curvier now.
Those stretch marks from pregnancy mean you gave life. That scar from that accident means you survived. Look for your best features and those that make you unique, and learn to love them. We all know that what’s inside is what really counts anyway.
If someone compliments something about you that you don’t like, don’t throw the compliment away. Say thank you, and feel good about the fact that there is something about the way you look or what you have done, no matter how ugly or bad you think you are at something, that appeals to someone else. But it’s how you feel about yourself that’s more important.
You may be the one putting the smile on that person’s face, or being an inspiration to them. Most importantly, don’t ever place yourself in a box. The world loves classing us: “She’s gorgeous, he’s sporty, they’re nerdy, you’re ugly, you’re smart”. If you let it, the world will keep you in that nice, neat little box it thinks you belong in.
Don’t give that power to the world. You have so much to offer. You don’t need to let your insecurities, your often imagined flaws, keep you from being amazing. Don’t doubt yourself.
It’s good to be real with yourself. But there is a difference between being honest, and being disparaging. There is a difference between not good right now, and never good at all. You are smart, you are beautiful, you are awesome, you are talented, you can do so much more than you can ever imagine. You are amazing. Because that is the way God intended you to be.
Be the best you that you can be 🙂