Most of us have been who we are for over 20 years. For 20+ years people have known us to be sarcastic, funny, selfless or whatever characteristics we and others might use to describe ourselves. We have a past and a history. When we focus on loving ourselves this might change “who we are.” And change is always uncomfortable.
My general history includes an entire people (the Hmong) who were used to persecution. We were chased out of China, lived in the hills of Southeast Asia, and always told we were never worthy enough. As a woman in my culture loving yourself is unheard of.
I grew up with a mother with bouts of depression. Although she was happy at times on the outside she never quite accepted herself on the inside. My grandmother also lived a life of resistance. These were the examples of women that I grew up with. How can we love ourselves when we have no idea what that looks like?
Change Your Future
There is nothing wrong with the way that my mother and grandmother perceived themselves. That was simply all that they knew. I, however, know that there is a different path for me. I could choose to follow my history and say that “that’s just the way I am.” Just the way I was raised. But I want more. More for myself, for my daughter, and for the future generations of Hmong girls and girls in general.
Lisa Nichols states in her book Abundance Now that “it’s human nature to remain more committed to a familiar discomfort than to an unfamiliar new possibility.” Change is uncomfortable. Even if we are unhappy with our current situations, we’ve become comfortable with them. Therefore, we continue living out our histories in order to avoid the uncomfortable unknown.
You don’t have to accept your history. It does not define you. Maybe you are a selfless and giving person always putting yourself last. Putting yourself first for once may have others viewing you as selfish. But you know who you truly are. You have to realize that your own opinion about yourself is so much more important than how others may view you. Crossing the line over to the unknown and the uncomfortable may be what you need in order to truly embrace who you are.
When you begin to love yourself the possibilities seem endless. You will change. I have. I still have my moments where I question what others might think of me. At these times I have to stop myself and remember to ask myself how I feel about myself. I truly care for myself now. I’m actually creating a relationship with myself. I feel powerful. That is what really matters.
It’s hard to change when you’ve been living a certain way for decades. But it’s possible. All it takes is desire and then the actions to back up that desire. Imagine if we lived in a world where everyone loved themselves. Where we were all truly satisfied with who we were. How magical would that be? How would this change the women of tomorrow?
My history includes being a dedicated skeptic. The devil’s advocate. Despite this, I’ve also always been an optimist. I’ve chosen to drop the skeptic and keep the optimist. You don’t have to change all of your history. If there are parts that truly make you happy, keep them. The most important factors are that whatever you choose empowers you to love yourself completely and helps you to live in joy. Once you have these two down you’ll start to believe and see that anything is possible.