We spend so much time sitting around dwelling in our own self-inflicted misery about the way we perceive ourselves.
We are all flawed in our own imperfect ways, but have you ever considered taking all the hateful words you say to yourself and seeing the silver lining in them all? There is something almost addictive about hanging out with your own sadness as if it was just another close friend. Many people live with exceptional amounts of self-hatred every day. These people were never taught or never learned how to start seeing all the ways that their flaws shape them into the imperfect human that they are. We are way too comfortable with the negative ways we perceive ourselves, but there is something shocking to society about finding a way to appreciate the things we beat ourselves up for.
I spent my weekend coaching children who constantly have the wildest things to say at the most random moments. In all honestly, it doesn’t take much to surprise me lately with the things they have to say. Sometimes I hear things that aren’t shocking to hear from a kids mouth, but there are also times I hear things that make me believe that possibly children have so much more to teach us as adults than we do them. After going on for minutes about everything I do wrong, how bad my week was going and how pathetic and hopeless I was feeling at that time, I heard a little voice give me a gentle reminder. A bright blue-eyed girl saw me in a low moment of self-hate and dwelling decided that the only thing she could say was “Well, there has to be a silver lining right? There always has to be a silver lining.” Instead of using me as a role model and following down my path of negative self thinking, she gave me a new perspective on how I can view myself in my darkest moments.
At that moment I didn’t know exactly what to say or what to think, but it suddenly hit me just how right she was. Instead of choosing to see all the good in the flaws I see in myself, I was completely focused on all the bad because I simply did not give myself the chance to realize my silver lining behind the unfair words I tell myself.
When I got home I did something I remember doing as a kid. I used to steal my moms ruby red lipstick and then would draw all over the mirror. I would fill my bathroom mirror with doodles and words until I could barely see my own reflection. This time I decided I would do something a little different. I decided to write down three imperfect things about myself, and then I chose to find the good in every single one of them and the impact it made on me mentally was astounding.
1. I am a control freak
I have been this way since I could remember. I have always wanted things to be perfect. No matter what I was doing I could never half do anything. The chances of me sleeping in a messy room are slim to none. I have to clean it and have everything in its exact placement before I can get peace and shut my eyes for the night. My control freak like ways have always caused me subconscious anxiety. It is something I have spent a lot of time fighting myself for. I wiped that phrase off the mirror and decided I was a leader, a fighter, someone who doesn’t settle. I may see myself as a control freak but to others I might be the person who holds everything together. In some ways I may help others with their anxiety by being that protective and prepared force. I am a control freak, but I am also someone who doesn’t settle for less than what they want.
2. I am overly emotional/too vulnerable
I am not someone who is shy of hiding their emotions. I hide my feelings on my sleeve and I have been told that you can read me like a book. It is easy to tell just how I am feeling by the look I am wearing on my face. I will weep over every single dog commercial, every deep movie scene, any type of inspiring speech given. I do not know how to not show how I am feeling right in the moment. I have always been envious of people who can hold their composure together 100%. My ability to feel emotions from myself and others has caused me to realize how vulnerable I can really be. Sometimes I blame it for the heavy pain I feel after I go through any sort of break up or experience loss. I have trained my brain to view my emotions as my worst enemy, while they might also be my biggest blessing. I wiped that phrase off the wall and told myself I am loving. I am able to use my strong emotions to share my love, compassion and kindness to those closest to me. This “weakness” of mine gets me through life on a daily basis, yet I am so focused on the negative I could never even see that. My extreme vulnerability has taught me the depths of my soul in every aspect. I am emotional, vulnerable and open. I am also real, raw and authentic. I am unapologetic for my own feelings
3. I am stubborn
I am the girl who refuses help from anyone. I am the person who can be working myself to death, yet not acknowledge the toll it’s taking on me until I am on my deathbed. There are few times I have let people help me, and knowing me I wasn’t super enthusiastic about having that help. I enjoy having the last word in any argument. My stubbornness is something I am aware of and something that drives myself crazy. I have made choices based on my own stubborn outlook that have caused me to rethink why I even stood my ground so hard to begin with. I wiped that phrase off the wall and decided that I was independent. I will never rely on someone for my own personal good. I will take care of myself and I will not go down without a fight. I can hold my own and voice my opinion without letting someone make me feel small. I am stubborn and I am also resilient. I will never settle for less than I want.
After cleaning my mirrors and taking some time to reflect, I felt somewhat safe and content in that moment. I was able to see my reflection clearly, aware of all my flaws, yet none of it mattered to me. I saw the power I have in every single mean thing I have to say about myself and my shame suddenly turned into pride. In one night I was able to take three things about myself that I wished I could change and I found the importance in having As a society, we typically remember the bad things said about us rather than the many more good things said. As we grow up, these words stick with us under our skin for so long that our own voice starts to mimic the cruel words of others. Many of us have grown up constantly hearing about our flaws and how we must change them.
Is the way to self-discovery really all about changing ourselves though? Should we finally erase all the flaws that make us who we are? Should we turn ourselves into these picture-perfect clones of what society says is the way to think or act, or are we able to turn the tables around?
I challenge everyone to wipe away any harsh words they have to say about themselves. Really take a few minutes to themselves to sit down and reflect. What eats at you alive? What common phrase about yourself repeats in the back of your head? It is time we take all of the negative conceptions we have about ourselves and turn them into something brighter. We must find the silver lining in all of our demons.