To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Continuously throughout my life journey, I have bumped up against “owning” myself as I am, in all my entirety. I have vacillated between puffing myself up or suffocating myself, all to the detriment — either to myself or to another person.
I must find my balance point between considering you and considering myself, where I begin and where you end. I must own myself, as I am in this moment, with the understanding that what I own may change or need to change.
But, as I own myself, I must also remember I don’t have the right to destroy another to do it. No one has be to less than me for me to gain self-worth. No one has to be wrong or unintelligent for me to be me. I am me, regardless.
That recognition kicks off an origination point for growth.
With all my faults and beauty, I can sift out what works and what doesn’t and decide, for myself, what this life of mine is going to look like. I’ve had to ask myself questions and attempt to answer them with a true sense of humility and honesty to the best of my ability.
What does success mean to me?
Success used to mean power and money, physical-beauty and fame. Success meant I had arrived at some societal powerhouse, where I was intelligent enough to never be lower than another.
I didn’t know that I created my own feeling of inferiority. People can offer a place of inferiority with what they say or do to another, but I am truly the only one that can secure my residence there.
I didn’t know that money and physical-beauty were fine, as long as they were coupled with humility and generosity. I didn’t know that power and fame weren’t necessities to be successful, but if they came, using them in service to others would be best.
Which brings me to another question.
What does life mean to me?
I had an abundantly arrogant conception of how little life meant and was reckless without regard for anyone or myself. I didn’t see how precious life was and, yet, how little of a hold I had on living.
I didn’t really get that I only had one life, and a limited time span at that. I was always procrastinating and sabotaging my efforts for immediate gratification and then missing out on what I really wanted to do.
I would blame others for my losses but keep generating those losses in hope of them miraculously getting different.
Which leads me to another question.
What does being me mean?
I didn’t know that being me was simple. All I needed to do was show up with myself.
What did I like? What did I feel? Simply put, honoring my person started with valuing myself as I would anyone else.
If I love you, how do I love me? If I care for your well-being, how do I care for my own? If I value your opinion and feelings, how do I value my own? To love you, I must love myself, and to love myself, I must love you.
Maybe simple, but not always easy, right?
This is when a little humor can go a long way, because if I can’t find grace within myself, I won’t find grace within you. My world will suffer, devoid of peace and contentedness.
My not “owning” myself generates such seriousness that I cannot fully live this life I wish to create. I would be too consumed with either pleasing myself without consideration of you or pleasing you without consideration of me.
Neither would do.
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