Knowing yourself and finding contentment and happiness in who that person is can be one of the biggest personal challenges we can conquer in this life. We are not born with buckets of self-confidence and self-assurance. The bulk of our first 20 to 30 years of our lives are often flooded with questions and mixed external messages about who we should be.
As a teenager and in my university years I was a bit of a social butterfly – never quite fitting in with a group. I was never ‘cool’ or popular. I was academic and worked hard. I was head of the Charities Committee. I was a music geek and was in every choir, orchestra and school show. I, luckily, wasn’t tortured or bullied too much as I was a genuinely kind and friendly person and posed no threat to anyone. I had a few best friends from different groups – chosen for the quality of their friendship rather than the ‘coolness’ of their clothes. Yet, I was never sure of where my place was – not realising, of course, that high school is not the environment for true self-discovery!
I’m not quite sure when, but at some point over the past few years I stopped questioning so much and stepped away from absorbing all the external madness. I realised that it was only through looking inwards and looking at the person I truly am would I ever find peace.
I found that it is important to surround yourself with people who reflect rather than absorb – to foster friendships and relationships that uplift and reflect everything that is awesome about who you are and who you want to be. Step away from anyone who demands more of you than you can give or takes more from you than you want. You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole.
I have learned not to be afraid of my imperfections, flaws, or scars – both physical and emotional. Broken crayons still colour and shattered glass lets more light in. To think that anyone is perfect and without flaws is wrong. Your scars are part of your story – never be ashamed of them.
I have learned the value of my actions and the importance of not bringing anyone else down or squashing anyone in my quest for my own self-confidence. My rule? Let all that you do be done in love. If it’s done in anger, spitefulness, jealousy or hatred, it is not worth it. Creating drama will only cause yourself to feel guilt or shame. Why put yourself through that?
Some of the most wonderful people in the world are ones that don’t fit into boxes. The misfits and the flawed geniuses are the people who have left a mark on the world. No one ever remembers the ones who blended into the background and became an echo. I remember reading a quote that said: Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. I can think of no better way of being completely yourself than by doing exactly that.
As E.E.Cummings wrote:
“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing it’s best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”
It’s taken me 31 years to realise and become happy with the person I am – I’m not about to start changing that person for anyone or anything.