Two years ago, if you would have asked me what my story is, I would have nervously smiled and politely changed the subject. How do I learn to love my story if my past is filled with disappointment and my future looks bleak? Sound familiar?
My past is not one that I'm super proud of, but then again, I think we can all agree to that statement for our own lives. Truth is, nobody is perfect, there is no perfect life. We all are fighting our own battles both inner and outer, some on our own, and most of the time in silence. We've been taught that strength comes in handling all of life's problems on your own, and so when we can't, we begin to resent our story.
My life doesn't look how I envisioned it would when I was younger. I wanted a large family, if memory serves me correctly, I wanted 6 kids and a huge farm in the country. Not only do I live in a small town within city limits, but I am also child-less. This is not the life I pictured, and to love it, isn't easy.
I have worked really hard on becoming a better person, one filled with gratitude for the many blessings I have and contentment for a life that appears different than I had hoped. My steps in this aren't perfect by any means, and may or may not work for you and your situation. It's important to know that we are all very different from one another, sure there may be similarities, but we are different. What works for me may frustrate you and vice versa. None-the-less, I still want to share with you what I am doing in hopes that part of it may help you.
I'm sure you've heard the term "Embrace your authentic self" a million times over. It's a buzz phrase that has gained popularity over the last few years, but what does it mean and why does it matter? When we struggle with our identity, not knowing who we are to our core, the way out of that identity crisis is by defining your identity. Identity and authenticity, while not the exact same, do go hand in hand.
You have to explore to determine by asking yourself these questions:
- What do I enjoy doing
- What do I dislike doing
- What makes me happy
- What makes me sad
- What do I want to do with my life
- What do I want to avoid in life
The next step is difficult also - you have to own your narrative in order to create a positive story of yourself. Read that again and let that sink in for a minute. Identity Crisis brings with it the feeling that you are broken, and along with that all the negative thoughts come to surface.
- You have to rewrite those negatives into positives by doing the following:
- Make a list of all the negative things you think about yourself or have been told by others about yourself
- Rewrite your list, swap the negative thing with it's opposite - a positive
- Hang it up where you can see it and read it as a reminder
Love what sets you apart from others even if it's not widely accepted by the masses. We all have our own quirks and weirdness that come out when we are vulnerable and being true to who we are. If someone doesn't or cannot love you for YOU, they also likely won't truly love you for whatever version of you that you are presenting to them.
Loving your story means loving yourself as the person you are.
You are beautiful as you are, don't hide away and watch each day pass you by, be courageous and share yourself with others. I believe in you!
With Grace, Shonda