As the old adage goes, you are your own worst enemy.
The underlying truth behind this saying hits too close to home for I was once in a relentless battle with myself; tirelessly fighting against being the ultimate critic of my life.
Being at war with ourselves is incredibly exhausting. Dwelling in negativity has become second nature to us simply because we often feel like a lost cause, undeserving of redemption and everything good that life has to offer.
Societal norms and expectations play a massive role as to how we perceive ourselves. Our desperate need to fit in and belong to a certain crowd could have destructive effects on our well-being. Majority of the time, we base our self-worth on the opinion of others and what is deemed perfect by the society. We create different personalities and masks – outgoing, tough, demure, controlled, and laid-back – that only conceals who we truly are just so people would accept us according to their own terms.
We disappointingly submit to peer pressure even if it compromises our morals, just so we wouldn’t be labeled as the odd one out. Not to mention, the amount of pressure we put on ourselves in an attempt to be the best at everything in life is a key recipe for disaster, mainly because if we are unable to live up to our expectations, the feeling of defeat will constantly remind us that we are a failure.
Why are we always so hard on ourselves? We know that living in the 21st century is not exactly a walk in the park. There’s always someone who’s better, prettier, wealthier, more successful, more loved, and happier; reminding us of the things we’re lacking. We try so hard to keep up and obsess over the milestones of others, not realizing that we just evolve differently and at our own pace. We let our competitiveness and jealousy bring the worst in us, contending in a race that only exists in our mind. The fear of not being and having enough puts us in a position to overcompensate for the future when all we needed to do was take it one day at a time.
At some point in our lives, we will experience what it feels like to be unhappy with ourselves. We will not always enjoy our own company, more so solitude. But it is through these hopeless moments that we should be able to love and accept our circumstances even more. If we always seek validation from other people, chances are you’ll be left with nothing but a gaping hole where the source of your confidence and self-esteem once existed in when they’re gone.
So, how do we genuinely live an authentic life that is free of insecurities?
We should acknowledge our shortcomings and limitations in order to overcome the need to attain perfection. Strive to stand on your own and appreciate the parts of yourself that aren’t easy to love. Embrace uniqueness, let go of the negativity that continuously weighs you down, and forgive yourself for the times you fell short of being the best you could be. Out of all the realizations I had in my journey of self-acceptance, I believe that the fault is not in our setbacks and mistakes. As a matter of fact, it is through our weaknesses that we are strengthened and transformed into becoming the person we are meant to be. We just need to look within ourselves to find our own voice so we could live our lives freely.
We persistently waste our precious time trying to be somebody else; when in reality, we were brought into this world to stand out. The people who deserve to be in your life will love you exactly for who you are. You are perfectly imperfect and worthy of a beautiful life.
Accepting yourself means loving every version of yourself at any point in time – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Words by Francesca Escarraga