When I am comfortable in my own skin, I am at my best. When I am connected to myself, love and accept myself, life feels better.
Once upon a time, a wise woman challenged me. She said, “Describe how you treat your best friend Jane. If she is sad, do you care? When she is excited are you her cheerleader? Do you point out what is good in her? Do you accept her flaws?” My answer was yes to all these questions.
Then she said, “When you are sad, are you gentle? When you do a fine job, do you congratulate yourself? Do you compliment yourself about who you are and how you look often? Do you accept yourself fully?” After dancing around the truth, I finally admitted, the answers were no.
She continued, “Do you think you would still have a best friend if you ignored her feelings, were hard on her, criticized her, and focused on her flaws?” I laughed, because, obviously not! That would be terrible, duh!
“But you do that to yourself?” She asked. “It sounds like you have to work on being a better friend to yourself.”
Brene Brown established a cohort she calls, “The whole hearted.” The research she did allowed her to measure what people who have a strong sense of worthiness have in common, and what people who struggle with a sense of worthiness have in common. She found that “The whole hearted,” all had the courage to be imperfect, compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, and connection as a result of authenticity. They embraced vulnerability, and as a result of all this they believed they were worthy of love and belonging.
Glenn R. Schiraldi, who writes about self-esteem, established that unconditional worth, love, and growth, (in that order), are the foundation to confidence and a realistic and appreciative view of self. He says that many attempt to focus on growth, and neglect the first two blocks- worth and love. But without the secure base that one is equally valuable as everyone else, and the true sense of love within themselves and from others, self-esteem/confidence remain only a mirage that will easily topple.
When, I finally understood what that wise woman was saying, I stood silent, and tears welled up in my eyes. That day was the start of a really magnified look at the conversations going on internally day-to-day. I found some things that I would never want to impose on someone else, and I began to actively adjust them.
I have learned to work hard at being a good friend to myself, and to love and accept myself fully, the way I love those who are most dear to me. It is nowhere else that I have found the ability to be comfortable in my own skin in an authentic way. And it is nowhere else that I have found such a birthplace of true joy. Whatever your path to self-acceptance and confidence is, I encourage you walk on that journey, with great courage.
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