I sat with my flaws today…
I sat with my flaws and reflected. I think you should do the same.
I touched my flaws and reconnected, knowing more than my name.
Do You Know Yourself?
“To Thine own self be true,” or whatever Alicia Silverstone said. Being true to who you are is one of the most important puzzle pieces to surviving this world. The problem is that you have to know yourself to be true to yourself. Trust me, that sounds much easier than it is.
I think it’s a universal experience to question your own feelings, values, thoughts, and opinions. Furthermore, I think that’s a good thing. It means that you are able to adapt and change rather than being stuck in a fixed position and unable to evolve. If you worry that you don’t have yourself sorted out, don’t get mad. None of us do.
What Do Others Think of You? Does it Matter?
The typical advice is “Don’t worry about what other people think.” It sounds great, but I think it’s a little more complicated than that. While we should not live for the approval of others, we are lying to ourselves when we say we don’t care what anyone thinks of us. Part of being true to yourself is facing this reality.
In my life, I’ve had people make me feel worthless and I’ve had people make me feel like a rock star. I’ve learned that the key is to not let other people define you while still realizing that it’s normal and okay to have feelings about other people’s opinions of you.
If someone we care about is upset about what someone else said, and we say “Who cares what they think?” we are invalidating their feelings because they care. Let’s stop doing that. But what about when you are your own worst critic?
Is Being Self-Critical Holding You Back?
For around the first half of my life, I viewed myself as different and less than others. I was dumb, weak, and generally incapable of doing what “normal” people could do. What saved me was finding out some things that I’m really good at and getting a little bit of confidence.
Furthermore, I spent years in an environment where I wasn’t achieving my full potential but got to feel like the big fish in the small pond because I wasn’t pushing myself. This is where we end up covering our insecurities with arrogance. Whether you are telling yourself that you are the worst or the best, you might just be self-sabotaging.
Why Sit With Your Flaws?
Recently, I was being really hard on myself about some of the parts of myself that I don’t love. I tried to avoid or distract but none of that helped. What did help was when I approached myself with compassion. What I realized is that we spend so much time trying to highlight our best qualities and cover the others that we bury our true selves under an image of who we pretend to be.
I feel like this is the root of Imposter Syndrome. When we are at war with ourselves because we don’t live up to our own expectations, we limit what we can accomplish. When I embraced my flaws and treated myself with compassion, negative feelings no longer had power over me.
Giving yourself the freedom to not be perfect really helps you to be better. Accept that your highs and lows are all part of who you are. Forgive yourself as well as others for being flawed. This simple change allows you to not see yourself as above or below anyone so that you can do the one thing no one else can — be you.
Michael J. Snow is a writer fueled by anxiety and a curiosity about the corners of life he hasn’t touched. Follow him on Twitter to see what he’s been up to.