Self-image is a weird concept. It suggests that we have an idea of our identity that was/is self-created or self-manifested. What always confounds me about this is how greatly our self-image is actually propagated and influenced by those who surround us. Whether it is loved ones or strangers, it’s often in their eyes that we see our reflections in. Of course as soon as I say that I am also reminded how often I actually don’t see myself the way others do. I almost always see myself lesser than how others see me – uglier, more judgmental, not as talented, and so on.
So while I stand behind the idea of ignoring what other people think, I find that I personally need to do the opposite and listen to what other people think. As I’m navigating through my quarter-life crisis, I am constantly facing the fact that the only person doubting my abilities and holding me back is myself.
Like with any other personality fault, this is not something I can easily overcome. I’m 100% sure that it is equal parts nature and nurture that bring me to this crucial point in my life. And to some degree – as sick and demented as this sounds – I actually like how grounded my insecurities keep me. Cocky and over-confident are two words that have never been uttered to describe me or anything I do. It’s always been things like dedicated, hard-working, and reliable. So the challenge becomes this: how do I flip the script without losing such worthwhile (and necessary) qualities that seem so inherent to who I am?
The solution (if this can even be called that) is to just constantly work at seeing myself through others’ eyes, particularly through the eyes of the people who know me best and love me unconditionally. I think they see my future more clearly than I do. They don’t know the details of the landscape – like the job I’ll have or the location I’ll be – but they know that I will live up to and surpass my expectations. I’ll be beautiful, unique, always working, always loving, and eventually… happy.
I will work on manifesting this vision that they see in their minds and hopefully soon the reflection I see in their eyes is one I am proud of.
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[ image via tumblr ]