There were a few flaws in my plan, though. First of all, most people aren’t really that shallow.
Secondly, I was not as important as I thought I was. See, I was constantly haunted by the thought that everyone was staring at me, judging me, sizing me up. In reality, most people have more important things to do with their time. They aren’t spending worrying about what I’m doing.
The third, and biggest, flaw, was me. Well, not me, per se, but my mindset. As much as I disliked certain things about me, I didn’t care enough about myself to change. Change takes work, and I was not worth the effort. And even if I had ever managed to attain the impossible standards I had set for myself, my lack of self-worth would have never allowed me to recognize it. I was constantly berating, doubting and second-guessing myself. I certainly couldn’t accept a compliment from someone, much less give myself one.
Someone told me once that if I spent half the energy I used trying to get others to notice me, and invest it in appreciating myself, it wouldn’t matter anymore what everyone thought.
It took a few more years of me torturing meyself before I finally took that advice. I spent the past few years getting to know myself and learning to appreciate and embrace all of my qualities, including the ones I consider flawed. This is an ongoing, lifelong process. But, over time I’ve come to realize, and accept, these four truths:
- My value is not dependent on the approval of others. Actually, it doesn’t even require my approval; even when I screw up (happens a lot) and get mad at myself, I still have value.
- While it’s important to surround myself with positive, loving, supportive people, it is not their responsibility to show me my value. Expecting others to remind me of my worth is unfair to them.
- I’m flawed. I’m not perfect, never was perfect, never will be perfect, and it’s okay, so relax.
- I always have a right to take up space, period. I don’t need to wait for someone else to tell me it’s okay to be present, or that my feelings and ideas are important. What matters to me, matters.