Self Help: Embrace Who You Are
THE MAN IN THE MIRROR
I was reading an article by a good friend of mine; Carol is her name, a fine writer in her own right, and a person I admire and respect. Carol writes quite often about astrology, and even though I spend very little time dabbling in astrology, I do find her articles interesting.
That led me to looking up my astrological sign, and the characteristics assigned to Libras. Here is what I found:
Libra is the only zodiac symbol that's neither animal nor human -- but surely that doesn't make you any less human. In fact, Libra is among the most sociable of the signs. As scales of old were really "balances," so to do you seek balance in all that Libra does. You respond to situations with grace as Libra attempts to put others at ease. Artistically, Libra tries to balance form, content, colors and elements, and for this reason can be drawn toward creative endeavors.
The greatest balancing act is between self and others, and it is here that many Libras focus their energy. Here, in the realm of interpersonal relationships, you are a champion. Libra know how to be the charming host or hostess. Libra can sense what others want before they ask for it. And you can make the needs of others a higher priority than your own. In fact, Libra is the shuttle diplomats of the zodiac, going back and forth between the extremes until a solution is negotiated.
Okay, interesting, and fairly accurate in describing me….I guess!
There was a day, not so long ago, when the opinion I had of myself was not nearly as flattering as the one mentioned above. I would have described myself as selfish, fear-driven, and dissatisfied with life in general. I cannot blame alcohol for that low self-esteem; in fact, alcoholism did not help, but that low opinion of myself has been with me for many decades.
A TRIP BACK IN TIME
Many of us are, as children, carefree and happy. We get up in the morning, our moms and dads pat us on the head, we play with our toys, and we give not a thought to our self-image. If we are lucky we can go a good six, seven, or eight years before we begin to take inventory of ourselves and decide that we are lacking in certain attributes we wish we had. I remember it clearly, the conversations with self…..I’m too short, too ugly, too shy, too dorky, too skinny, and too stupid. I wish my ears weren’t so big and I wish my teeth weren’t crooked. I wish I could talk to girls without being such a dweeb, and I wish my hair wasn’t so frizzy and drab.
I moved into the teen years and I swear to you, there were days I did not want to leave the safety of my home, so powerful was my conviction that once in public, everyone would see me for the loser that I was. My parents were understanding, and continually told me that everyone goes through these “stages”, that it was perfectly normal, and that they loved me. Wonderful words for sure, but nowhere near what I needed.
As I matured there was no doubt that I gained in confidence, but always there were the nagging voices in my head…..my hair is too gray, I don’t have the muscles other guys have, I need to dress better so I fit in better….it was endless and exhausting.
AND THEN THE TEACHING YEARS
Low self-esteem seems to be a phenomenon that translates well in any era; I had low self-esteem in the 50’s and 60’s, and students that I taught in the 90’s and beyond had low self-esteem. It is universal and timeless, applicable to young and old, and it is debilitating and pointless.
I was saddened daily as a teacher, watching my students struggle with who they were. Girls struggling with their weight, their hair, their makeup, and their clothes; boys off by themselves, too shy or too embarrassed to interact with their peers; all of the compassion I could muster could not serve as an elixir for what ailed them….low self-esteem!
But surely they would outgrow that angst, right? I mean, you expect a certain amount of “suffering” from middle school and high school students. Surely they will turn into adults and find happiness in who they are! Right? Right?
AND ON AND ON IT GOES
Plastic surgeons, the 21st Century salutes you. A little slice and dice, a little nip and tuck, you’ll have us feeling better about ourselves in no time. Hey, give this facial cream a try; guaranteed to get rid of those unsightly….unsightly wrinkles! Wash away that gray and look, over there, that’s Heidi Klum, and don’t you wish you looked like her? Well you can of course, just send us a check for $49.95 and three labels from Clairol and we’ll fix you right up.
Are you shy? We’ve got the course for you! Are you homely? A new wardrobe will fix you right up and have you looking oh so GQ! What the hell are you doing with your hair looking like that? That’s oh so 80’s of you! Get with it, let’s see some highlights, let’s see some body, let’s see a whole new you because seriously, honey, that look is not working for you.
How can I ever go out in public; I have nothing new to wear and I look so….retro with a touch of homeless! Look at me now, gentlemen; I’ve got the boobs lifted, the tummy tucked, the latest ten-inch heels and I read only the best of the best sellers. Ain’t I hot? Ain’t I desirable? Ain’t I oh so sexy?
Hey, dude, yes, you over there! Seriously, buddy, your abs need some work and those arms…listen, come with me, let’s go hit the weights, then a nice sauna and you just have to try this mango smoothie that I guarantee with give you added virility when the ladies start calling and they will start calling. After that, you just have to go with me to the latest bar in town; we’ll strut our stuff and pick up a plastic, fantastic lover for the night, but only for the night; don’t want any damn chick getting too close to the truth, know what I mean? Sweet, let’s get it on…..how about a sniff, a snort, a trip to Strawberry Fields, before we head out?
Sit With Me For A Moment
EVERYBODY SING WITH ME…..INSANITY!
Here’s an idea that I’m just going to throw out there; let’s run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes it. You are perfect just the way you are! Okay, let it float around in your subconscious for a little while. Try it on and see if it fits. Repeat the words…..I am perfect just the way I am!
I’m going to be blunt here, so excuse me in advance, but the “beautiful people” turn me off and leave me feeling sad. We were all born unique; out of seven billion there is not another one like us, and yet so many people want to look like the beautiful people. “If only I could lose a few pounds, men would find me more attractive.” “If only I wore better clothes, women would want to date me.” “If only….if only….if only.” They overlook the fact that they are the rarest of rare, and if they would only embrace their rarity, rather than treat it like it’s a curse, they might just find that elusive thing called self-worth.
GIGO….garbage in/garbage out! If all you think about are the things you believe are lacking, you will believe yourself to be less than others. It is an irrefutable law of existence, and it needs to change.
Now for the tough part: change is an inside game!
NOBODY CAN DO IT BUT YOU
That’s the tough part; nobody can give you self-worth. It needs to come from within. No amount of the latest trendy clothes will do it for you; no amount of beauty cream or hair dye, surgical improvements or magic potions, can do it for you.
So there you have it! The secret to self-worth….you must believe that you are worthy! Once that happens, you can begin to embrace your assets and celebrate in your unique qualities.
One of the first things that attracted me to Bev, the love of my life, was the fact that she didn’t wear makeup. There was no pretense with her; what you saw was what you got, and it was, for me, incredibly refreshing to experience. Her hair is graying and she doesn’t care! I love seeing her every morning, and I love growing older with her. She is as unique an individual as I have ever known, and I love everything about her. She is one of a kind, the rarest of rare, and I wouldn’t have her any other way.
My hope for all of you reading this is that one day you will wake up, look in the mirror, and celebrate who you are rather than mourn who you are not. When that morning arrives, the person you truly are will arrive with it.
Make that morning today! Embrace who you are….accept who you are….love who you are…and then begin the celebration of life!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)