I spent the weekend at a blogging conference and it was amazing. Picture me in a swarm of several hundred women attending this event like bees swarming a hive. There were so many women of various shapes and sizes, intellects, dress, talents, and income. As I spent more time with each of these amazing women and dug into each other’s lives like a gardener plowing seeds, I came to see such beauty and strength in each woman and I was in awe that I could be among them and feel a part of them. Each were so friendly. Each were willing to share knowledge and inspiration. I felt united. And I began to think about how we, as women, are wonderfully gifted and talented and unique.
When I was a teenager I remember feeling so inadequate. I felt worthless. I felt like no one cared about me. I felt like I didn’t have anything special about me. All I could see was how talented everyone else was around me. I compared my weaknesses to their strengths and sometimes it overpowered me to the point where it paralyzed me. My dear and wise mom taught me a lesson that I have not forgotten nor will ever forget. Using the analogy of a garden, she showed me several different flowers: a rose, daisy, sunflower, lavender, and I don’t remember what else but I do remember how beautiful and colorful they were. She asked me what I loved about each flower. I loved the rose’s color and how the petals swirled around each other. I loved the daisy’s individual petals and yellow center. I loved the sunflower’s large and bright yellow head with brown center and how gracefully it bowed. After we went through each flower one by one, my mother put them in a vase and together we saw just how extraordinary the flowers were in the bouquet. We are like these flowers. We have our own unique, individual beauty and when we come together with other women, we have a uniqueness and beauty that only enhances the bouquet with various colors, heights, sizes, and traits. Mom was wise.
“The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to be just you” said Leo Buscaglia. “You are the only you…you are the best you. But you will always be the second best of anyone else.” Yes, YOU are the best YOU. No one else can be you and you can be no one else. You are unique in this world and that is not by accident. It was designed that way. Just like the flowers in this world, it is not by accident that they are made differently. They each have something to give. Mr. Buscaglia states “The world is an incredibly unfulfilled tapestry. And only YOU can fulfill that tiny space that is yours.”
Embrace who you are. Embrace your uniqueness and love who you are. Realize your worth. Realize your strengths. Realize your beauty. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! This life is hard enough. Unfortunately, there are others out there who want to bring you down. Who love to make you feel small and worthless and who delight in it. But reality is, you are your own worst enemy. You have very little control over those around you, but what you do have is control over whether you allow them to come into your camp and sup with you or send them on their way. I love the saying by Leo Buscaglia “Don’t walk in my head with your dirty feet.”
Another one of our biggest enemies in the world is the word “if”. That’s right, “if”. If only I had this I would be happy. If I looked like that I would be happy. If I had money, I would be happy. If I was extroverted I would be happy. I would be happy if. We give that word so much power over us. Do you really want to give a word so much power? Do you really want to look upon this word as an obstacle to your growth and development? I think we’re all familiar with the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side”. Usually when you cross over to the other side, you see it’s just the same color of grass as you were standing on before. The fact of the matter is “most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise” (Gordon B. Hinckley). The hardest battle you are ever going to fight is the battle to be just you. In the end, you have only you. So why not learn to love you?
You are not perfect and neither is anyone else. Have you ever met someone who is perfect? Maybe in your head you have put someone on a pedestal and made them perfect in your eyes. Many of us think that if we are perfect we will be loved. But “the fact of the matter is, perfect is not appealing. It is annoying,” confirmed Julie Hanks, LCSW. “People don’t connect to perfection. They connect to imperfection.”
I received this text from my daughter while I was at the conference. Does this not make you LOL? She is 14.
I brushed this text off. Why? (1) I’m not perfect. (2) I can’t be everything to everyone. (3) I knew I had no control over my house while I was gone. (4) She’s old enough to clean it herself if she doesn’t like the way it is right now.
I’m happy to report, I came home to a clean house. She fixed the problem that was bothering her.
Julie Hanks, LCSW, spoke at our conference. One of the things she suggested we do is instead of writing a “To-Do” list, we write a “Ta-Da” list. She encouraged us to write down all those things we accomplished during the day or that we’ve even accomplished in this life. The one thing I wrote immediately down on my list is that I taught my daughter to change the things she can. And she showed just that, by cleaning the house because she didn’t like the way it was. “Ta-Da”!
I have an assignment for you. Yes, an assignment. This assignment is for me, too. I want you to get a piece of paper out and write at least 10 things you love about yourself. If it takes you all week to come up with ten items, so be it, but I want you to find a minimum of TEN things to write. If you can think of more, then write it down. Now, if you write 10 physical traits, that’s okay, but I want you to delve a little deeper. Here’s a list to help you get started: Are you a great organizer? Are you a good writer? Do you love genealogy? Are you a good cook? Are you a quick learner? Do you get wildly excited about little things like skipping down the street, feeling the wind in your face, or playing with leaves? Can you memorize well? Do you have a green thumb? Are you a good listener? Do you love to learn? Do you embrace people for who they are? Are you a good reader? Nothing is too small and nothing is too great. Write it down.
Next, I want you to put this list where you will see it each morning when you wake up or go out the door or even plastered to the dashboard in your car if you have to. But I want you to READ it. I want you to say it out loud as you read it. I want you to internalize it. I want you to celebrate it. These things are what make you YOU. They are your uniqueness. And when you have those feelings of self-doubt arise, which you will, I want you to read this list. When you allow the enemy to come into your camp and sup with you, I want you to get out that list and empower yourself and send the enemy on his way.
Every moment spent being unhappy is a moment of happiness lost. I want you to feel good about you. I want you to embrace your uniqueness. I want you to love you. I want you to capture the beauty of you now. You control your own destiny. When you cling to your mattress, you only punish yourself. Get on with living. Get on with embracing your uniqueness. Get on with embracing love. You don’t have forever. A life lived in loving and nurturing yourself and others will never be regretted. But a life of being depressed about yourself and making your mattress your friend, will only get you a dent in the mattress and you will eventually have to replace it.
You are amazing. Don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise! Embrace your beauty. Celebrate your individuality whether you be a rose, daisy, lavender, or sunflower, because together you make a beautiful bouquet. But most importantly, don’t forget that you are indeed a child of a Heavenly Father who loves you. You are HIS child. HE loves you. He KNOWS you. And because you are His child–His creation–you have a piece of divinity in you.