Begin to own that woman that you look at in the mirror and understand that no one can diminish the greatness you harbor within except yourself. -Michelle McKinney Hammond

Becoming myself: this is a subject that seems to become more imperative the older I get ( and FYI in my mind I think I’m old, but I’m actually only 28). Being an old soul, I find many of life’s truths wash over me earlier than they do most folk. And this truth of becoming myself is one that keeps coming back to me again and again.

For most of my life, I have received subtle and not-so-subtle messages from the world around me to fit in. The world told me to look and act like everyone else if I want to be happy. Growing up I was teased, bullied, and called all kinds of names because I didn’t fit in. All of these messages led to me diminishing myself. I thought I wasn’t good enough for anybody. I became shy and withdrawn because I didn’t think anyone would want to talk to me. I avoided guys I was interested in because I didn’t think I was good enough for them and didn’t want to be rejected. You get the basic idea. The result of me diminishing myself was many miserable years of bitterness and unhappiness. For years I diminished myself because I believed something about myself that wasn’t true: I believed that I was unlovable.

It is only in the past couple of years or so that I have begun to challenge these old ideas I had of myself. I realized that all of these truths I thought were so self-evident were actually lies. Lies that I had believed that had kept me down. A big part of my growth was turning to God. He washed all of the dirt of those lies out of my eyes so that I could see clearly that I am loved. I am loved by Him and His Son. I am loved by friends and family. I am loved just because I am me. I am me for a reason; I’m not meant to fit in. Standing out, showing the world my true self is how I’m going to fulfill my purpose on this earth. What kind of impact can I make if I just squeeze myself into a pre-made peg? I have to carve out my own peg and make myself at home there if I am going to truly live.

So, I will no longer diminish my own greatness. The greatness I have inside is what makes me me. Making myself small serves no one. Being my true self is what the world needs and what God has called me to be. I still have more self to find…in no way do I think that I have already arrived. But I have taken the first steps down the road less traveled (a la Robert Frost), and that has made all the difference in my life.

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