I’ve heard this line many times from well-meaning friends but it was only recently that I fully understood it. People always said that you need to live the life you want to live or that you need to be the person you want to attract. Yes. All of it is true.
All these years, I thought I was all good. I mean I was normal, well-adjusted and sociable. I mean everyone had some sort of baggage right? Mine was me seeking approval from my parents, in trying to be the daughter they wanted me to be as against how I really am. Growing up, my sister was always the symbol of a good daughter. Feminine, docile and quiet. Whereas, I was headstrong, stubborn, loud and somewhat of a tomboy. I always wanted to change to the way they wanted me to be. The intent was there but it rarely lasted over an hour because it’s just too darn hard to be someone I’m not.
And that is me being a seeker. Seeking approval, love, and attention because I wasn’t good with myself. And plus, parents always knew better right? They always said that nobody would like me if I was chubby, loud, not feminine and not subservient. Growing up, I always felt that I wasn’t good enough. So I compensated by getting good grades. That was my salvation. At least I was good for something. With that in mind, I just worked at being the “smarter” daughter to distinguish myself for not being girly enough.
The vicious cycle continued and spilled to other areas in my life. I always needed external validation. I often felt restless and incomplete because I was always seeking something. With relationships, I felt unattractive because I was overweight and had residual feelings of not being girly enough to attract anyone. I needed validation from men to feel attractive. I always felt the least attractive amongst my friends and saw myself as the duff. At work, I sought to prove myself capable and move up the ranks in order to feel that I was good. This way, I could still show that I was good for something.
Taking the time off made me realize this destructive behavior I’ve been doing my whole life was my biggest enemy. How could I be happy when I couldn’t accept myself as I am now? How could I be happy when I placed my happiness in the hands of others? I needed to take back the power I had given to others and keep it for myself. I needed to love myself as I am now instead of asking others to love me or approve of me.
Granted, it’s not easy completely letting go of decades of practiced behavior. I know that whenever I think of what my parents, friends, or whoever else think, I just need to remind myself that what matters most is what I think. And with that, everything else becomes easier because I accept and love myself as I am now. Accepting myself doesn’t mean staying stagnant and being complacent with how I am. I still want to improve and be the best person I can be but on my own terms and not dictated by other people.
I will build a life I love and be happy while I am single instead of waiting for my prince to show up. I will accept myself and appreciate all the good, the bad, and the ugly. I will work to heal myself for any issues I may have and not blame others. I will also not condemn myself for mistakes and know that I’ve learned from them. I will appreciate my inner and outer beauty, compliment myself and accept compliments graciously. I will love and accept myself even if I may sometimes fail at doing all these.