“I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger” -The Faces
When I was in high school, I was small. I know exactly how much I weighed because I used to wrestle. I wrestled at 103 pounds through my Junior year, and as a Senior, I started at 103, but finished at 118 pounds. I wasn’t tall and thin, just small. I really didn’t grow much bigger until I was well into college. I must have been 20 when my spirt hit. I was embarrassed by my size. My confidence was needlessly low, simply because I felt like less than the other guys who were developed. I didn’t seem to get much attention from girls, and I blamed my appearance and lack of some kind of magic. The real reason I didn’t get attention was because of my attitude and beliefs about myself. I told myself a story that I was too small, too ugly, too immature, too dorky, etc. I believed the story to such a degree that I fended off potential interactions with the very people I was starving to talk to. I didn’t believe I was worthy of the attention. I was afraid that if I failed, my self image would be confirmed. I was also afraid that if I succeeded, I wouldn’t be able to uphold the image I wished others had of me. It was a double bind that left me feeling safer to avoid.
The truth is, the image others hold of us is often not far from the image we hold of ourselves. This is true because we reflect what we believe about ourselves, not what we wish we were. Of course, the advice is to be yourself. Easier said than done. Truthfully, we become ourselves when we face uncomfortable situations, both around us and within us…and are OK with what we see emerging in us in those situations.
Being OK with who we are has an expanding result in the rest of our lives. If we like who we are, we begin to eat better, we take better care of ourselves, we exercise, we become better with our money, we may begin to read more and become more of our ideal selves. Our external world becomes a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. The reverse is also true. You can actually act yourself into being. If you pick an area to improve, there is an expanding affect to the rest of your life and with your feelings of happiness. If you begin working in one area whether it be finances, health, relationships, or wherever you want to start, you begin to feel better about yourself, and the feeling spreads to other areas of your life. This “law” can work in a negative way too. If you make poor choices with your money, you’ll probably make poor choices with your diet, you’ll probably make poor choices with what you read or watch, etc. Our habits in one area affect habits in other areas of our lives. The proverb that came out of our computer age fits nicely here: “Garbage in, garbage out.” Also fitting: Value in, value out.
You don’t need to be a comedian, you don’t need to know what to say, you don’t need fame… You just need to be willing to take the uncomfortable steps toward a truthful awareness of yourself. You need only to give yourself space to emerge. If you are making positive steps, then deep down, you know you’re “worth” it.