Who do you think you are?

happiness“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Are you happy being ‘you’? Do you have confidence in yourself and your abilities? Or have you become your own worst enemy by believing what others have labelled you?  So that instead of living your life as you the person you were meant to be, you are simply a reflection of someone else. If so, it’s time to find out who you really are.

I’ve always had difficulties with my identity. Being abandoned by my mum as an infant left me growing up with extreme insecurities about being unloved and unwanted. It changed how I perceived myself and the thought that I was worthless was reinforced by growing up with an abusing father. My dad defined me in terms that reflected his misogynistic attitudes,which as a child I accepted as truth. There was no-one else to tell me otherwise.

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” ~ Maya Angelou

It’s wasn’t simply the amount of derogatory traits that were attributed to me that caused the damage, it was the lack of anything positive or encouraging. The result was that for many years I really didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to say or do. I didn’t know what I liked or didn’t like. I didn’t know what I wanted out of life. Because I didn’t know who I was.

All that I knew was that I didn’t want to be me. I wanted to be someone else. The onset of depression in my younger years held me trapped in the view that I was never going to be pretty enough, thin enough, clever enough, confident enough. I was never going to be good enough for anything or anyone.  I lacked so much, yet everyone else seem to have what I desired.

So to numb the pain of the disappointment in being me and to help to manage the idea of being me for the rest of my life, I turned to alcohol. And for a while it worked. It gave me the confidence to be indifferent to my failings and took away my fears for the future.

Unfortunately, self-medicating led to addiction and over time the depression and alcoholism took over my life.Together with my lack of self-love I existed through others and allowed relationships to continue to define me. All to my detriment.

“True happiness is living life authentically.”                                                   ~ The Hurt Healer.

Perhaps you have also allowed past events to define you, or perhaps you used to feel you knew who you were but somehow your sense of self has disappeared over time? You can take on so many roles which meet the needs of others that your true identity is overwhelmed, leaving you mourning the loss of who you used to be,whilst your dreams and hopes have been abandoned.  Whatever your circumstances, maybe it is time to give the real you a chance to shine.

The turning point for me was a complete physical and mental breakdown. I could no longer go on existing as a product of my past. Enough of the fake smiles that covered the heartbreak. Enough of the false mask of confidence that hid the fear. Enough of the pretense. Enough of the uncertainty.  I had had enough of it all.

It was time to reclaim my life and find out who I really was. It was time to listen to my inner voice, nurture the child within and allow my authentic self to emerge. And in doing so I found out that I was everything I thought I wasn’t and a little bit more.

Refusing to enable my past to have power over my present, I was able to allow the real me to emerge. Initially the fears of who I had become revealed my rawness and vulnerability,, but over time my confidence and self-worth grew. No longer was I controlled by others.  No longer did I compare myself to others. After all the years of believing otherwise, I was okay being me.

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14

fearlessWith faith as my guide, I allowed my mind to explore, my heart to love and my soul to bloom. Faith taught me too that I am valuable and precious. And that even my failures have a purpose. My weaknesses have become my strengths and my imperfections have become my uniqueness.

Something I could never have conceived in those dark days was that I was ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ But to today I think am.

What about you? Who do you think you are?

You’re worth it.

il_570xN.436604577_50qpDo you like yourself? Do you celebrate who you are? Do others appreciate you?

 “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Very few of us live in isolation and most of us juggle the numerous roles life has assigned us. Parent, colleague, spouse, family member – all come with complicated tasks and expectations from others. Each role demands commitment and loyalty.

But you should never give so much of yourself that you have nothing left for you. Likewise your self-worth should not be defined completely by others. It is so important to be able to identify yourself too. Because it is who you think you are, not who everyone else thinks you are, that will ultimately result in who you will become.

“They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi.

Anyone who has experienced verbal abuse will know that the scars  can run deep. Whether the person intended to harm you or not, it is possible to grasp the abuse as a truth and use it to wound yourself time and time again. Too often the deceptions of the past are still allowed to shape who you are today and will continue to mould your future. But only if you let them. You do have a choice to reject the lies.

It amazes me that after all my years of recovery and despite my strength of faith, that I can be caught off guard. Some extremely hurtful comments were made to me last week at a point when I was feeling less than strong. Even though I could rationalise that person’s tirade as transference of their own inadequacies, there was a part of me that took it on board.

And as I did I hurtled back to that place of fear, loneliness and low self-esteem. The intense doubts surfaced and the feelings of self-hatred emerged to remind me of how worthless I was.  The intensity of the darkness was overwhelming.

But instead of wallowing in the gloom and succumbing to the negativity as I would have done previously, I was able to stand firm and fight my way back into the light. The light that shines from accepting that I am perfectly imperfect and knowing with confidence, who I am.

It can be a psychological battle sometimes, but when those demons raise their ugly heads at those times of vulnerability, you need to affirm everything that is good about you and your life.   Do that and you will find that you will start to free your authentic self and begin to live the life as the person you were meant to be.

“……I am fearfully and wonderfully made……”Psalm 139:14

As a child the emotional abuse I experienced laid the foundation of my depression and alcoholism in adulthood. Healing could only take place once I took the inner child by the hand and reassured her that I could reject what had gone before and claim the truth.

It was through faith that I found the truth. It was through faith that I could heal. And through healing I could love myself. After years I thinking I was worthless, I realised I had value. After years of thinking that nothing mattered because I didn’t, I found that life did matter and I did too.

What about you? Isn’t it time to be bold about yourself. I’m not talking about being boastful or arrogant. I’m talking about appreciating and nurturing yourself. About believing in your talents and abilities. About celebrating everything that makes you unique.

Children have an ability to take things at literally and internalise what is spoken over them. It is so important that when it comes to my own daughters that their personalities are cherished, their achievements are praised and that they know that they are loved unconditionally.

So it made my heart glad to hear my youngest daughter talking to her friend as they played the other day. Her friend spoke of how she wished she could be a princess because she could wear a special dress and this would make her special. My daughter told her friend that  she didn’t need to a special dress because feeling special came from the inside not from the outside. I don’t know if her friend understood what my daughter was saying but I know it made me smile. What we have on the inside of us is infinitely more important than the outside.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu

Are you mourning the person you could have been if only……?  It may be too late to recapture the past. It may be too late to pursue a particular dream. But it is never too late to be the person you were meant to be.

il_570xN.436607721_sygnAccept you can’t change what has gone before. Let it go. Resolve to make new goals and new dreams. Accept you can’t change what others have said. Let it go. Resolve to speak new declarations and embrace everything that is good about you.

What ever is stopping you from loving yourself, caring for yourself, being yourself, let it go. Life is too short to hold onto those things or those people who are robbing you of your worth.

Believe me. Believe in yourself.                You’re worth it.

Top image Believe in Yourself  and bottom image Let it Go used with the kind permission of the fantastic Stephanie Ryan at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/stephanieryanart  All rights reserved. No part of these images may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of Stephanie Ryan.