Have you looked at the mirror recently? Sure, you have, right? just before you stepped out of the house. That’s not what I’m talking about though. I mean really study the image that is presented in front of you to get the emotions and thoughts you feel as you see yourself. I had to do that, and I realized I was in so much conflict with myself. The reflection I did on that morning broke my heart because it made me realize the issues that reside within. There is a lot of conflict happening in the world, but I think each person should secure their internal gates, know what to allow in and know what to keep out of your space to protect your mental health and heart.
This self-assessment helped me start a journey of self-forgiveness, acceptance and discovery. I realized if I am to do any of the work that God has called me to do, I would have to change how I see and treat myself. This revelation made me want to rectify what I didn’t like in that image and to find out what I must do to change and begin nurturing my talents.
Life presents a lot of challenges that we sometimes cannot avoid, if you do not learn how to resolve internal conflict you suffer much more than you should. I am recovering from being a person who internalizes everything. When you do this, everything is about you, even when it shouldn’t be. A friend of mine once said “when you internalize everything you die a thousand deaths”. I found that to be true. I reflect a lot, especially after conversations with people. I am quite aware of my emotions and thoughts about others’ opinions and actions but at times I misinterpret what they are thinking or saying and end up with incorrect conclusions. When I internalize situations especially without double checking with others, I end up feeling frustrated about their thoughts and actions. It can be a heavy burden to carry and my eyes have now been opened to how unnecessary this is. I don’t think we are expected to always manage external factors, a lot of times we don’t even have enough evidence about what is happening outside of our minds and hearts. I am really learning how to find the balance between dealing with other people’s “stuff” and handling my internal “stuff”.
With that said, I live in my body and cannot escape that. I must learn to manage well what goes on internally. The conflict that I saw when I investigated myself in the mirror that morning saddened me because I realized how stuck I was between liking myself and being harsh towards myself. The insecurities and weaknesses seemed to scream louder than the love and care for myself, this was a hard pillow to swallow but I had to cross that bridge to get to where I am currently.
I suffered from rejection, humiliation, loneliness, depression, insecurity and being a people pleaser. This is what stood out when I did an assessment of how I see myself. As you can imagine, all these conditions are extremely detrimental. I realized I simply cannot live a meaningful life while carrying these burdens, one side of the story had to go. I made up my mind to believe that God is allowing me to live on this earth for a reason. Although I am not certain why I suffer in the way I sometimes do but such is life, and I have survived and have not died from all these conditions. I have an option to reject these and to stop them from dominating my life.
We are presented with choices daily. We must choose ourselves amid the hot messes we end up in. I saw a broken woman in the mirror and had to forgive myself for allowing those negative labels to continue describing who I am. I forgave myself for not dealing with the situations that were thrown at me or the ones I entered knowingly and unknowingly. I had to acknowledge that I had a huge role to play in being insecure. Sure, a lot of the burden I carried was caused by external factors I often had no control over but how I responded was completely under my control. If someone tells me that I am too stupid to do something, should I just be offended and believe them although I know I have the potential to do almost anything I set my mind to? That isn’t fair, someone else’s negative analysis of who I am should not govern the talents God has placed inside of me. A lot has been wasted in my years of silence and insecurity because I often believed negative words. I lived life feeling empty inside because I had little validation on the truth of who I am or who God calls me.
I am aware of my weaknesses and understand that I cannot do it all, and that is okay. However, my primary role in life is to steward the gifts that God has given me and to nourish them so I may grow into who I am called to be. It is vital to focus on our strengths and draw life’s experiences from that page. While others live out their talents, I realized that I too must also focus on what mine are. So, after forgiving myself, I accepted who I am. I listed my strengths and how I contribute to my family, friends and colleagues. This helped me recognize how much I was already operating in a place of purpose. I realized that I belong in this life, I must take my seat at the table and remove the labels that do not clearly define who I am. As I continue to choose myself and to be stubborn in advocating for myself, I now know how amazing I am. I became friendlier to myself and started listening to what I wanted and needed in life. When my love tank is full, I have better relationships with others, I become a blessing rather than a burden.
Through self-acceptance I started discovering wonderful things about my character and allowing these to become part of my daily life. This process helped me understand that I am God’s creation, made in His image for His glory. He approves of who I am, I am a creation that introduces a different side of God to the world. This revelation brought me closer to God, I started acknowledging what He has placed inside of me and how much He continues to direct my path.
This should be everyone’s story, the path to self-forgiveness, acceptance and discovery must be a road we all travel. This is a rich and fulfilling path that helps us to connect the dots and admire our Heavenly Father on the great job He has done in creating us. Today, as you are, spend a few minutes in silence looking at yourself in the mirror. If you find faults rather than appreciation, forgive yourself for those negative labels. Identify what you don’t like and note down what can be done to improve or change that, allow yourself to go through all the emotions that come with this exercise. Go back to the mirror after a week and look for the beauty and strength that lies within you. Be determined to find the gold in yourself because it’s in there somewhere, although you may not see it. Again, note down the new labels you have found and ask Holy Spirit to provide more wisdom and knowledge. It takes times and intentionality but it’s possible. I encourage you to dedicate time in finding out who you really are. May you find the precious, raw and beautiful side that God located deep inside of your core. You are lovely and wonderful, label yourself that way and show up as that person.
“You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God”
You are blessed, with love