Do you look in the mirror and focus on your flaws and imperfections?
What about who you are deep down inside? What’s that voice in your head saying when you start to dream, when you start to think, “what if I tried….”?
What makes you unique? Are you trying to change it or playing it up?
What if you decided to love yourself no matter what? To continue to improve the things that matter the most to you, but accept yourself for who you are throughout the journey? To see yourself with eyes of grace and love, the way you might see a small child who is trying so hard but struggling….you wouldn’t berate the child, telling her to give up or that she isn’t worth it. You would encourage her, reminding her of the progress she is making, no matter how small or slow.
(And if you have been that small child, and you have been berated in this way, know that I am so sorry. And you are worth fighting for, and worthy of love and acceptance, especially from yourself.)
You are the one and only YOU.... therefore, you are the best YOU there is!
Things improved so much when I decided to embrace the parts of myself that I had always believed were flaws or that just weren’t good enough. And I realized that I am far from perfect, but I’m still amazing.
I worked hard (and still do – it’s an ongoing process) to figure out who I am. Who is my real, authentic self? What makes me ME? And is it enough? (Spoiler alert – YES!!)
I was born smart. Like naturally gifted. And I’m grateful for that, but it comes with its own challenges. I hope I don’t sound like I’m bragging, because I’m not, nor am I looking for sympathy. I know how blessed I have been. But everything comes with challenges.
When you are known for something, and then you realize that it might not be totally accurate, it can make you question everything. And feel insecure about everything.
As far back as I can remember, I have always compared myself to others and felt like I didn’t measure up. As a child, a teen, a nurse, a wife, a mom….I always felt like a fraud, like if people REALLY knew me, then they would figure out what a mess I am. This has been an issue for me in every area of my life, for the majority of my life.
“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.”— Brené Brown
I have always had body issues. I have always felt “less than” in my body, or at times, felt like my looks and body were all I had going for me.
I was molested once when I was young, and it could have been so much worse, but it still had a lasting impact.
When I was younger and much thinner, I always felt too big, and now I am a lot bigger than I used to be but I have become much more comfortable with that.
I have learned that I like food more than I like being thin, but I also want to find a happy medium. And I want to be healthy.
I have already been gluten-free for many years, and don’t want something that is more restrictive like keto, even though I know that a lot of people have great success with that, including some of my close friends. I’m not saying it’s something I would never do, but it is definitely not something I am ready for yet.
But I have started intermittent fasting and have slowly lost weight and gained more control of my appetite and I feel good in a way that doesn’t feel restricted or punitive to me.
I have struggled with my skin as an adult and found great products that changed my life in so many ways, but I still am prone to breakouts - if my hormones get out of whack or my sleep schedule is messed up or my stress level rises (or if I wear a stupid mask for hours at a time) my skin goes crazy.
But even that is something that I have gotten more comfortable with – so my face breaks out every now and then?????….life could be so much worse!
As my life changed for the better on the inside, and as I got more comfortable with myself, I wanted the outside to reflect that. I wanted to be more comfortable being ME, flaws and all.
So….I decided to quit coloring my hair, not so much for reasons related to the toxicity or health or even money (I colored it myself), but really just because I was tired of feeling like I couldn’t keep up with it.
My hair grows fast, and I have colored it for more than 20 years. (I got my first gray at sixteen!) And I loved the silver color that would peek through, yet I would always feel like I should cover it up.
I realized that I didn’t want to color my hair every two or three weeks, mainly just because I didn’t want to spend the time to do it.
And I felt like it was a perfect next step for embracing my authentic self.
NOTE – this is not me judging anyone else – you can color your hair until you’re 100, have plastic surgery, get your makeup tattooed on – whatever works for you. Just make sure it’s what YOU want and how YOU feel your best. For me, it didn’t suit me anymore.
another note - I am actually going to get my hair colored again, as a way to ease the transition from brown to gray. I originally was going to go all natural, but after lots of thought, I have concluded that I am doing this for me and I am ready for it to be done or as close to done as it can be.
When I decided to embrace my gray, I wanted to go a little further.
I really didn’t want to keep trying to fight my thick, brown, frizzy, bumpy hair. I have always joked that my hair isn’t straight and it isn’t curly, it isn’t even really wavy it is more “bumpy”.
So I decided to give up trying to straighten it or make it behave a certain way and just to get a more layered cut and to kind of dry quickly and let it do its own thing and embrace the natural curliness of it.
I have never loved my hair so much! I feel like it’s finally how it’s supposed to be. Even though I have brown hair with a couple inches of silver roots, and I really could use a trim, I still love it and feel comfortable in it.
I will never be good enough
Although I have worked hard on the inner and outer me, none of it is important as the work that I have allowed Jesus to do in my heart. I grew up in church, and accepted Christ at a young age, but I never really lived my life for Him. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough for Him to love me, even though I believed He loved and died for everyone.
I felt like there were so many rules that I was always breaking, always failing to be good enough. And then I realized that I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to want Him in my life. This relationship and the state of my heart are what matters, not the mistakes that I have made (and continue to make). And He is using these imperfections in my life to show how amazing He is.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9 New International Version (NIV)
When I discovered coaching, I loved it and realized that I had a gift for it, but then those old insecurities would start rearing their head.
I compared myself to other coaches and felt like I would never be as polished as they are or as professional as they are.
But then I realized – I don’t have to be! I just have to be me!
And for some people I am not going to be enough, and for some people I am going to be too much, and for some people I will be just right – and those are my people!
And I feel like this is what it’s all about.
Not trying to be like this person or that person or live up to some ideal, and instead embrace who we really are, flaws and all. The way that God designed us!
I am so thankful to have a family and a tribe of women who get me and love me I know all of my quirkiness and still think I’m great!
What about you?
What have you been fighting against that you are ready to accept and maybe even embrace?
What is just one small step you can take?
Do you feel stuck or lost? Schedule a no-obligation, complimentary coaching call. https://calendly.com/jennylytlern
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde