I am enough…just as I am

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a people pleaser, I’ve had this undying need to be liked by others. It’s human nature to want to be accepted, to want connection, but at what cost?

In elementary school I was the little girl with a squint line across her nose and a tomboy haircut, wearing her brother’s hand me down-unmatched clothes. Kids could be so mean, but that didn’t make my need to be liked by them any less intense, in fact, I pursued their friendships even more and my need to be accepted began. And the voice in my head said, you’ll never fit in.

I wish I’d known then that I was enough, that I was a gift, just as I was.

In middle school I played on the monkey bars, hairy legs poorly hidden under tights not yet allowed to shave my legs, while the rest of my friends talked to boys. Spending hours helping those same friends choreograph their talent show routines and I watched from the audience when it came time for the big show, too terrified of failure to get up on stage. And the voice in my head said, you’re not enough.

I wish I’d known then that I was enough, that I was a gift, just as I was.

In high school still wearing my brothers hand me downs or the occasional gifted fashion piece from a friend, never the cheerleader, never the cool kid, wishing I was brave enough to dance at homecoming, skipping prom to spare myself. Longing to be seen and at the same time wishing I was invisible. And the voice in my head said, maybe try not to be so you.

I wish I’d known then that I was enough, that I was a gift, just as I was.

In college I followed in my best friend’s shadow, she was outgoing and popular and I pretty much only had friends because she had friends. I danced at parties thanks to liquid courage and still always felt awkward, unsure of how to stand, who to talk to, what to say, or how to just be. So uncomfortable in my own skin, unsure of who I was. And the voice in my head said, it’ll always be like this.

I wish I’d known then that I was enough, that I was a gift, just as I was.

After college I pursued a career where I once again was on the outskirts of the “in crowd”, hearing about get togethers, hoping I’d be invited, aching to fit in. And the voice in my head said, try harder.

I wish I’d known then that I was enough, that I was a gift, just as I was.

And throughout all of this I dated boys and then men, both of whom didn’t know my worth, men who put me on the back burner, friends came before me, cars came before me, sports came before me but I put them before everything else all the while pretended I was ok being their backup plan. And the voice in my head said, being second is still pretty good.

I wish I’d known then that I was enough, that I was a gift, just as I was.

I struggled through my teens and 20’s trying to find my identity, pretending to be confident, with that inner voice always working against me, making me second guess myself, planting seeds of insecurity. Desperately needing to fit in, trying to blend in, worried about what everyone else thought with this intense need to be accepted. Giving so much of myself freely to others and expecting so little in return. And then it happened, sometime in my late 20’s I stopped getting caught up in being accepted by others and started to love me, started to accept me, started to see just how amazing I was. I realized that I didn’t need to morph into someone else, I didn’t need to tone down the silly, or try to be cool, I could just be me and people could either like me or not. And something amazing started to happen, relationships became more genuine, connections became deeper, self doubt was replaced by self love and a confidence I’d never owned. I allowed myself to let go of relationships that didn’t serve me, didn’t feed me, and didn’t allow me to grow. I became ok with people not getting me and instead of needlessly chasing after dead end relationships I began to see the value in truly liking myself.

I met my husband somewhere in the midst of this journey and he accepted me just as I was, he made me a priority and for the first time I didn’t feel like I was someone’s second choice. He added to my value and he knew my worth and he reminded me of it daily.

And the voice in my head began to change. It said, I like you, you are enough, you are a gift, just as you are.

The idea that your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship that you’re in is mind blowing. When you figure it out, once you really get it, it’s freeing. If you can love yourself, if you can see your value, if you can say “this is me, I’m amazing and I won’t accept anyone that doesn’t accept me”, you’ll find out just how beautiful and liberating it can be. You’ll let go of what doesn’t serve you and your inner voice will grow louder and over time that voice will turn into your biggest cheerleader. You won’t settle for less and you won’t be less, because you’ll know that you deserve so much more.

So, I hope you know, that you are enough and that you are a gift, just as you are.

With Love,
Kelly

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