It is so easy to fall into the entrapment of learning to hate something (or even everything) about yourself. We live in a society that judges us by so many things. Not only do people care about what car we drive or what job they work, they care about what clothes they wear and why they wear them. I would love to say that those moments of judgment and short comings of this world don’t affect me but as life would have it, they do. My mom did her utmost when she always started addressing any issue that I ran into as a kid with “it doesn’t matter what other people think.” I of course had the hardest time believing her and found myself wishing I had whatever the latest and greatest thing that all of the girls had to have. Being the family that was unable to have all of the things that society asked made what I thought to be so important something that was not exactly easy to obtain at times. I in my young eyes became an outcast and was never one that was going to fit in. Was fitting in something that I really wanted to do or was there something else that was better than what met the ideal of what I thought was so important in that exact moment? Was the ideal of what I didn’t have somehow beginning to overshadow what I had all along?
As life moved on and I began to see that what my mom said was the truth and it was what I had needed to hear and heed all along. If I continued to seek all of the things that I didn’t have, how would I ever actually be thankful for all of the things that I did have? Seeking contentment in all aspects began to change how I saw life and situations that I found myself in. Little did I know what a big impact this would have on my life as an adult. Seeking what others had was not always the answer to finding happiness in where I was. I had to find happiness within myself. To look for happiness in others and in material things was not what would make me continuously happy. Life and human nature tell us just those things. It is almost as if we can’t help it. When we come to the realization that happiness comes from beyond the world we live in true happiness can be found. It doesn’t always matter whether or not we have all the things we seek. If we find what true love really is, true happiness is attainable.
I would like to say that I fit in with everyone. Truth be told we moved around a lot and that was not always the case. I learned very quickly that my friends were who I made them out to be. I somehow always found myself fitting in with the group of people that never seemed to fit in with anyone else. We became a group of friends that bonded through mutual feelings of not being part of the in crowd. Was being part of the in crowd really all that important? Or was the more important part found in finding people that were wiling accept me for me? Perhaps finding a group of people that wanted me for me was the greatest gift and taught me what it meant for me to the same for others.
Learning to accept myself for who I was made me fully understand what loving myself and others really meant. I wanted to make sure that I accepted everyone for who they were and where they came from. It did not matter if they were different or if we didn’t always see eye to eye. Perhaps I was finally understanding that it was not about everyone accepting me at all times but it was more about being accepted by the people that mattered. That part of being accepted was learning to love who I was no matter where it was that I found myself. Loving yourself is an inborn trait that we have with us from the very beginning. The will to live and survive has never left mankind. You want what is best for yourself. We all fight to survive even when faced with the most dire circumstances. We all need food, clothes, a place to sleep just to name a few. If we saw more love of our neighbors we could see more love on a day to day basis. Not that loving yourself sets you above anyone else, but how do you love with your whole heart if you have no love for the person that you are still growing into. Love your neighbor as yourself is a statement that can tear down walls. No one is perfect and I have made my fair share of mistakes. There always seems to be a situation that I find myself in where I wish that I handled such and such better or said something differently. Perhaps it was just taking more time to be there for someone. Investing in people is key to seeing just how their stories have molded them into who they are today. It is so easy to pass judgment when we only know half of the story. The perfect couple that you see may be having more hurdles to jump than imaginable. The gorgeous girl that looks like a model may feel like the ugliest girl on the planet. There are so many times that we all assume we know what the real story is only to find that the story has not been completely written yet. There are so many facets to everyone we meet and everyone we already know. No one is perfect and I for one would never want to be perfect. It has been in my most imperfect moments that I have grown the most. I learned to listen, laugh, hug, support and most importantly love to the fullest capacity. It is so scary to just love and let go. You have to pull the walls down and let people in. Trust me. I like my walls and I have more than one layer of them to take down from time to time. Learning to love on a deeper and more meaningful level is calling for each of us and is one that can and does change the world.