Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of my "big brothers". His name is Justin. Justin came into my life when I was thirteen and thought I was the ugliest, worthless-est person on the planet. I like to think that God realized I had closed my heart to his quiet whisperings and was blind to the message in His written words, so he had to send a flesh and blood angel to knock some sense into me. Justin was that sense. He has the gift of making everyone around him feel like the most important, beautiful, wonderful, talented person in the world. Don't believe me? Ask anyone who knows him. Justin instilled the seeds of self-confidence in a girl he barely knew. (Seriously, we only met a few times through a mutual friend and emailed occasionally. But every time I talked with him, I left standing a little taller, a little braver and more sure of my own worth.)
I knew that if there was one person I wanted to share their feelings about loving and accepting yourself, it was Justin. But, you'll never believe this, even HE has a hard time accepting himself! That blew me out of the water. This guy had been my hero, my light in the darkness for years and even he struggled?! See, y'all aren't alone after all. We are all in this together.
All I can say is that God sends flesh and blood angels into our lives just when we need them. Even if we don't really see them at first. I am so grateful that Justin was there to say what God had been trying to tell him. And that Justin never really shut up about either... So, in his own words here is the wonderful, the talented and the God-sent Justin.
Once upon a time I had a very intense conversation with my parents and sister. Laying out all my faults, fears, and monstrosities. The reasons why I don't like me...No, that's not strong enough, the reasons why I hate me. Which I do, for many reasons. The next day, after my intense conversation, one of my dear friends Jeannie Ames asked me to write a post on loving and accepting ourselves as we are...My first reaction was... OMG I miss your face Jeannie Leigh! My second reaction, to the other things she said made me cry(literally, I ACTUALLY CRIED! If you're new to my writings, that doesn't happen a lot) The last was that since this is something that I feel like I struggle with myself and yet maintain an edifying positivity to those around me. I decided I should write this. That was a week ago, I've been trying to think about this nonstop... but the right words didn't ever come until I stopped thinking about it.
First off, think of who you are. Why are you that way? Is that a person you do or don't like? For me, it's a person I hate. Do you hate yourself, the way you look, your personality, the way you treat others or don't? Why do you feel that way? For me, I put everyone else on a pedestal. I view everyone else as Godly and amazing and perfect. Clearly when something goes wrong it's because I did something wrong. Is that correct? NO! It's 100% false. So examine yourself, do you place others on pedestals either above or below yourself? Because you feel other people(maybe not all) are better or worse off than yourself? Here's really what I'm getting at, define how you view yourself and those around you. Is there a problem there? For me, I hold myself to a standard of perfection. I berate myself with my failures as a daily exercise. I use those failures as proof I'm not good enough to succeed. I use them as justification from shying away from the success I feel I should have had by now. Then I use the fact that I hold myself back as further proof of my failures and the likelihood of me failing again, so why even try? This is what I suffer from, there are a myriad of things that anybody can suffer through.
Now, if we've defined some, not all we're taking baby steps here, of our problems we can begin to change ourselves towards a more positive light. So here's where we brag about ourselves. I tell myself, I'm not a failure, I have brought good into many people's lives Jeannie thankfully among them. My family among them. Despite my failures, I can still go on and do all the things I've wanted to do. I HAVE had successes in some of the things that mean most in my life. For me, I LOVE theater, I crave it with every fiber of my being and guess what? I'M GOOD AT IT! Despite the fact that sometimes I feel I'm not good enough to succeed at anything I continue to succeed at something. I guess what I'm trying to say, is no matter how much you dislike yourself there is ALWAYS something good in you. If you can't find it, ask someone, they'll find it for you. Here's my recommendation though, sit down for at least 10 minutes(but 30 is better) and right down good things about you. ANYTHING GOOD! Find things to love about you. Find one thing a day to accept. Then every day read that list and add one more. This can be anything! Including, I smiled at a stranger today and they smiled back. While working out today, I did my best. Anything that makes you feel good about who you are, write it down and appreciate it about yourself. If you are struggling with finding these things in yourself, once again find someone that loves you and let them shower good things about you upon your head. If you struggle finding a person in your life that will do this for you, then go do something for someone that you can be proud of. Go do the thing your best at and be proud of that.
Now here's the hardest part. (well, at least for me it is) If there's something about you that you've done, something about you that you don't like. Say to yourself, that's a part of me. I love me for that. I accept this in my life, and I can grow and learn from it. This will be a part of me forever because it is a part of me today. I am not defined by my failures, I am not controlled by my fears or shame, I will always in my life have good and bad parts of me. These things do not define me or control me. They are a part of me always and I strive always to accept them into my life, to learn from my failures, to conquer my fears and to seek my dreams.
Now I know the kind of psychological disorders that cause us to look at ourselves with shame, fear, anger, or what ever emotion it is that is driving you to punish yourself in some way; they're intense, they're deep, they're very much embedded into our personality and our life philosophy. These things are going to be life long battles, but there is always hope for when you've learned once that you're worth loving it's easier and easier to learn again. Know that if ever you struggle in life there will always be someone there that will help you see that you're worth loving if you let them. Some days you will be weak, some days you will be strong. Sometimes you'll want to give up and sometimes you'll be on top of the world. Accept these days the same, they are what have shaped you into the person you are today and they are the things that will shape you into the person you dream of being.
These are just some thoughts I've had on my journey, my grand adventure called life.
PS. Something that will help, that you should know. Know that God loves you, God accepts you for who you are. God remembers not your failures and glorifies your successes. He loves you more than anybody on this planet ever could comprehend. If you're currently struggling with seeing God in your life then once again sit down and look at all the things to be grateful for, the more you open your eyes with gratitude the more miracles we see every day.
(If You want to hear more from Justin visit him over at http://stockett228.blogspot.