Re-Claiming The Assets You Thought Were Weaknesses
I've been doing a lot of writing lately on the veil of social media and what it can lead us to believe about ourselves, whether it's that we're not good enough, don't have enough, or have too many tough or sad moments while others seemingly have none to speak of. I've chronicled my tale of socially-acceptable cyberstalking and what happens when internet "inspiration" gets dangerous, but of course it's all come from the same place that all of my writing comes from: a need to better understand myself and serve others by articulating what I'm experiencing to other people. A few months ago, it came as a total shock when one of the women I regularly view from behind a screen as being virtually flawless sent me a Facebook message. I couldn't believe what she said: "You seem to have everything SO figured out." she messaged me.
"Life can be so hard sometimes, but you know exactly what you're doing and you have the most perfect job and you're doing what you love ALL the time!"
I was shocked. Here was this woman who I've looked up to almost my entire life for having all of her sh*t together telling ME I had MINE together.
As we began to talk more and more, I noticed everything she "looked up to" in me was the things that I've struggled with a LOT behind the screens we were using to communicate with each other. While I was struggling, I compared myself to her outward perfection and wished I was more like her. I've always felt like the messy one between the two of us - she always seemed "clean", beautiful, totally out of harms way when it came to the tougher aspects of life. What I didn't notice was that my struggle was actually my biggest strength: by having the courage to face my demons and go through life openly and vulnerably and as a risk-taker, I went places others might have been to afraid to go. I learned things that helped me help other people. I grew in ways that I couldn't have grown if I insisted on never being messy, or if I insisted on being somebody else.
The same things I always wish I could change about myself so I could be more like my friend...well, those were the reasons she'd seen something in me that she liked and that inspired her. What would have happened if I hid myself? What if I'd actually listened to all those voices that tell me to be someone else?
With social media especially, those voices can be so much louder than they used to be. Now that most of us are behind a screen all day, it's so much easier to come across things that make us feel like we're doing it wrong, like our "spots" are really just blemishes.
My beauty isn't in spite of my imperfection. My beauty is my imperfection. Those parts of me that I wish I could get rid of when I compare myself to someone else? Those parts are my light. Those are the parts of me that make me a light not only unto myself, but unto others. Who am I to try to hide them? And as Marianne Williamson famously said in her book "A Return to Love":
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
For today, be brave. Stand in your own light. It's what you were born to do.
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