Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Embrace Yourself

We all have people in our lives whom we have designated as experts in specific fields. Our "go-to" list is vast, including people specializing in an assortment of hobbies, beliefs and industries. From exercise to faith to parenting, we look to these people to guide us. They have earned this expert status by living lives worthy of sharing their wisdom and knowledge. They have experience where we lack and we admire their opinion because of those experiences.

The danger of admiration, however, is that it often turns into idolization. We begin to forfeit our own right to a voice and let them speak in our stead. Worse, their voice is often given the power to determine how qualified we are in their area of expertise.

In my nightmare scenario, a jury of "qualified" professionals was given the power to determine my worth and quality as a writer.  Rejection after rejection only added to the desolation of my future self until it crushed me under the weight of the jury's decision: You are not a writer worthy of our time. The final blow comes from my husband's mouth, gentle and subtle: You are not a writer at all. That future self accepts the verdict with barely a blip of argument. The scythe has fallen and the creator has been cut deep, never to lay pen to paper again.

But what of the other scenario, where success is plentiful and the outlook positive? How can their be two drastically contrasting futures? My gut tells me it has everything to do with acceptance and self love.

Accepting yourself is a process that begins in childhood with a full embrace. As a child, we have no inhibitions. We proudly wear mismatching outfits, sing at the top of our lungs and feel without reserve. The confidence fades, however, as we grow up and realize that other people's opinions have a weight on our decisions. That  embrace, once firm, grows light and tentative as the scale of Self vs. The World is tipped back and forth.

The lie I have believed for so long is that I have no power to influence this scale. How wrong I have been. The truth of the matter is we are the ones placing the weight towards one end or the other. We decide who wins, whether ourselves or the world.

The good news is we have the power to change the outcome. We have the voice to say, "No, that's not for me," or "Hell, yes! Let's do this!"

We cannot short change our futures or our innermost beings by handing those outside of ourselves the power to condemn or redeem our lives. They are arbitrary. Their opinion is based on their experiences and can change from one moment to the next. They do not know our heart, our past or our dreams for the future. We do.

My nightmare scenario does not need to end with a defeat. Drawing from preparation paranoia, I can choose today to tip the scales. An opinion from the world, though wise and knowledgeable, may only give me insight. It does not disqualify me. The only person who can disqualify myself is me and I'm choosing to hand myself the qualifications.

I am choosing to write.

I am choosing to create.

I may make mistakes. I may not achieve all that I hope to but the opinions of others will not weigh in on my worth. I choose and am choosing to accept myself and let my voice be heard.

Won't you join me? Choose the you of your childhood who had no reservations. Be brave and embrace yourself.

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