WRITER: ELSA JENSEN
It is a constant mess of problems and drama to be a girl. A world in which happy things bring the bright upswing of life only to counterbalance the internal struggles that we each secretly survive each day. The little details of a passing boy, the consuming drama of a friend, and the overwhelming thoughts of our own shortcomings. With all of our similar struggles, it’s a wonder why we don’t realize the bond we do share in this. I believe the root of it all is comparison and the internal struggle of needing to love what we lack. Looks. Talent. Personality. The heartache that plagues us all and quietly whispers as a little white lie, “You can never be that good. Settle for your imperfections.” The teacher of all rationalization. The breeder of miserable moods. It slowly washes away the resolve that all women must wear until we slowly wash away ourselves. We were never good enough. There was no point in trying. I’ll only disappoint myself more with my inferiority.
And as the pain wrenches and rips our soul in two, our outsides mimic our ugly and worn down thoughts while the viscous cycle continues. It seems as if there is no way out and no hope of a better day with happy solutions. Downward spiraling into the hole that we have dug ourselves. But the glimpse of a ladder can always be seen. It is up to the climber to decide to ascend or not.
It was when I decided to begin to constantly compare myself with the people around me, and no doubt the people I loved most, that I slowly and viscously slipped into that all-consuming trap that was myself. Each step came more quick and much easier than the last, turning me into the oxymoron that it was. The self-conscious and self-righteous bubble that I thought was preserving and cultivating my outside allure, was only harming it. I was so far maimed by my own shortcomings that they were becoming blatantly obvious . And I was not fun to be around. I did not know who I had become and how I could get out. The harder I tried, the deeper I sunk, and the envy inside of me grew. I was upset with myself for becoming the jealous friend that loved, but constantly and internally compared. I knew this was not me.
And I don’t know who or what it was that finally awoke me to my senses (for I cannot take full credit), but it was as if the curtains in my dull drafty house had been opened. And this is what I learned. Each person is made up of such beautiful specific detail, that there is no way in this world that I could possibly be compared to another. With the particulars of my personality and the basics of my looks I could not try to compare my shortcomings with another’s strengths. And with the slow realizations that came into my mind, the truths of my own strengths trickled into my mind. It was the truths of my own internal beauty that gave me comfort in my own skin and passion in my life. The comfort that slowly showed in my smile and gave the confidence I had so clearly lacked. What a beautiful world it had become with happiness radiating my life. It wasn’t because of the noticing of others in my change but my own awareness of myself and my benefits towards this world that helped me become the most me I ever have been in my life.
Of all of the personal struggles and stories I have read and heard of, none has touched me more than the story of Stephanie Nielson. In her beautiful book, Heaven is Here, she so beautifully describes exactly how I have come to felt. “I know, now, without a doubt that the true source of happiness, self-worth, and authentic beauty doesn't come from the outside. Women are constantly being persuaded to want something unachievable, to look younger or thinner and above all to fit in because being different is too painful and embarrassing. I have accepted myself in a world that does not accept me, because I have learned that our hearts matter most... It's a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life.”
Of all I have learned, I know this. Loving yourself is as life was intended. We were made for specific purpose in this life and with that specific purpose, we must learn to truly and deeply love ourselves so we can begin to unfold the great tasks that are in store for us in our lives. Each person is unique and molded for their own reasons. And the more we learn to accept ourselves for the strengths and admit our weaknesses, the more we come to learn to rely on others to accomplish a greater good in this world. To work with others is where we learn to truly appreciate them and love ourselves as life intended. Life can be a glorious thing if we let it. Learn to love it with the passion of your own uniqueness.