“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.” ~Brene Brown
It has taken me 45 years to truly learn to love myself. It seems that when many of us look in the mirror, we strive for what we don’t have. Thicker hair. More muscles. A smaller waist. Clear skin. The list goes on and on… We want our “packaging” to be perfect, yet this quest leaves us feeling empty and frustrated. Ten years ago, my journey of “self-acceptance” truly began. What choice did I have? Everything I thought I knew had been turned upside down…
Ten years ago, my Dad passed away from cancer. He was my rock. Shortly there after, my mother walked out of my life. I was married to a wonderful man and we had three children together. Inevitably, my self-discovery and acceptance of being gay brought our marriage to a close. Let’s just say, it was a bit of a difficult time. But, I truly believe that we are never given anything we can’t handle in life. From that moment on, my mantra began… Just because my marriage ended, doesn’t mean my family has to!
I don’t like referring to him as my “X”. I would rather refer to him as my “X-man”, like the superhero. Through my journey he was extremely supportive and understanding, as hard as that was for him. To this day, we remain friends and spend family time together. Family supports family. As Wifey always says, just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
My journey of self-acceptance did not end with the discovery of my sexuality. I still had an entire drawer full of self-image issues to face and conquer. Slowly, one at a time, I learned to love myself. I accepted the fact that I would always be 5 ’10” and wear are training bra! I accepted the fact that my numerous stretch marks and c-section scar, from the gifts of motherhood, would never go away. I focused on joy and gratitude, which allowed me to heal on the inside. When I met Wifey, I learned to accept love and share that love completely in return. From that point on, I began to bloom…
I had one more challenge to face…my career. Three years ago, I accepted the fact that I was exhausted from years of teaching little people. As much as I adored the kiddos, the rigor and expectations were causing too much damage to my health and wellness. I was truly “burnt out”. Teaching is a job that is never done. When I approached Wifey with the idea of taking a year leave of absence, I was only half serious. I never thought it could truly happen. Yet, what I felt would be a long and emotional conversation with Wifey was a very simple one…I needed to close that door. Funny how she knew this well before I even came to the realization. Although it took me a bit of time to uncoil from years of stress, the gifts I have received emotionally and spiritually, over the past three years, have been endless.
I feel alive. My dark circles have faded…mostly. I have learned to live in the moment. I know the true meaning of joy. When the windchill is -30 and I am shoveling snow so the animals can move about, I have no regrets. I love my days tending to the farm, growing and raising healthy and clean food for our family and being there for my three adorable and hormonal teenagers.
I learned a valuable lesson over the past 10 years. You must start with the inside first. Who are you? What brings you joy? What makes your eyes twinkle and your heart flutter. Live your life for today! Embrace the simple moments. As difficult as it may be, embrace your insecurities. Begin your work on the inside. Don’t be afraid to have an open and honest conversation with yourself and your loved ones. Let yourself GROW. If you struggle, I promise you, one day you will look in the mirror and say “I love you” and truly mean it.
The following book titles have been true friends to me, along my journey of Growing Self. Feel free to click on each title to link to Amazon.com for more information on these incredible books. I hope your find them as powerful as I have! ♥
Love yourself… Embrace yourself… Just Be You…