Owning My Story: Realizing the Greatest Love of All
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brene Brown
While I have been talking about relationships for the past week or so, I have yet to bring up a very important relationship in people’s lives. The one with yourself. Many put this relationship at the lowest level of priority.
Many of us want to help others; I am the same. However, you can’t help others in the most effective manner if you aren’t helping yourself first. If you have ever been on an airplane, you have probably heard the safety announcement, “Make sure that your own oxygen mask is on first before helping others.” The same principle applies here. You’ve got to attend to your own needs, before you can go about helping others effectively. My struggle has involved making other people the focus of my relationships, without first taking time to nurture a love for myself. While I was always going out of my way to help others and to let them know how great they were, I would never do this to myself. I was just me. I was certainly not like the girl in the video below.
Over the years, others have told me that I was a really great person, but it took a very long time for me to acknowledge their positive comments as authentic and to believe them myself. As silly as it was, the compliments would just flow through me; I could not take them inside my being. I would see only the flaws and weak points which I thought I had.
This wasn’t a healthy way to live, and it caused me to choose relationships that weren’t the best for me. I was also indecisive and lacking in confidence because I was looking elsewhere for strength.
The reality came when I wrote my resumė and gave it to a friend to review. His comment was, “You really don’t see how great you are, do you?” I had apparently really downplayed my skills and accomplishments. After he said this and through a few other situations, I realized my view of myself needed to change. Thank you to those who helped me to learn this VERY IMPORTANT LESSON. People can tell you to change, but the change has to come from within.
Another wake-up call for me came when I needed to get professional photos of myself. I enlisted the help of Kelsey Goodwin (KGOODPHOTO). Initially, I was nervous to see how the photos would turn out. Having never modeled before, I was hesitant about the process. I was SHOCKED (in a good way) when I got the proofs of the photos a few days later; I realized I am way too hard on myself. The process of taking the photos re-affirmed that I sometimes have a distorted negative view of myself, as the proofs had not been altered.
I am happy to say that over the past year, I have gained the confidence and strength to love myself. I am embracing my beautiful self. It has been a long journey. However, I now have the courage to share my battle and to embrace the strong woman who I am. I want to share with everyone that people should love themselves unconditionally, through all of life’s the ups and downs.
Instead of looking outside, I now look to myself for strength. I encourage you to do the same. It makes a world of difference.
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.
See you at the beach!
- Just Me, Just You..... (Bridget Jane's Healthy Diary)