There should be people like you on this planet (yes – you), there should be people like me on this planet (yes – me) and there should be people like that dude in the corner of the coffee shop lining up his pocket coins in order of date.
Getting to know a person is like staying with one kooky creature in a zoo and just being with them all day. You might be drawn to the tiger at first (because they are a tiger for crying out loud!) but then, after close examination, you come to understand the meerkat is cheeky, loyal and perceptive.
It’s a wonderful thing when you come to a point of acceptance and love; when you figure out who you are and who you are not. If you are not there yet, enjoy the process of growth – but never apologise or make excuses for who you are and for who you are not.
Adolescence is a tricky age for most. It is that time in your life where you question the world and are still trying to figure out ‘you’. The transition of developing from a child into an adult is a very awkward experience (don’t I know it). I like to call it ‘adolescence/adultlessons’. This period of growth can be so awkward because we are constantly second guessing who we are, who we want to be, who our parents want us to be and what everyone around us is being or trying to be.
It’s taking people a lot longer to find themselves these days because of the influence of people’s lives seeming more idealistic than our own on social media. It’s great to have some visions about who you want to be, but this often cannot be distinguished by a photograph on your feed (unless of course it comes with a backstory).
Looking up to someone because they represent courage, kindness and strength is far more maintainable than looking up to an online stranger that represents perfection and a great rig. When you begin comparing who you are to something based on selective photographs, you end up with a generation obsessed with the idea of striving for body parts that aren’t their own.
Self-acceptance is a challenge and a hurdle everyone has to go through. It doesn’t happen in a day but it can happen with smaller steps:
- Use your body language to encourage your mind. When you look in the mirror, do a power pose! When you talk to somebody, use eye contact, smile and put your shoulders back.
- Give other people compliments for certain qualities that they have. When you start sharing your appreciation and love for somebody else’s uniqueness, you begin to understand the importance of being yourself.
- Be grateful for your body and mind – it does so much for you!
- Have a powerful morning routine that involves movement and exercise. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel happy! If you can get these pumping in the morning it will help you to shine, feel confident and energised throughout the day!
- This one is very important. “One woman’s/man’s beauty is not the absence of your own”. Remember that we need people like her, people like you, people like him and people like that dude in the coffee shop. Stop comparing and start embracing. We weren’t born to think of ourselves as ‘ugly’ or ‘insignificant’ that develops over time through comparison.
- Encourage the people around you to talk about themselves in a positive way. Growing up I would observe the way my mother spoke about her body and getting old, and that negative talk started to impact my young mind – because from my perspective, my mother is a masterpiece. Be mindful of how you demonstrate self-love to your tweens and teens. They are listening and observing.
- You are never complete. I think the biggest trap for me growing up was this vision in my head of the ‘Perfect Eddie’. I was so fixated on the perfect body, the perfect look and being the most perfect version of myself that I was always striving for something in the future. Trust me, this only results in missing out on fun. You become so worried about not being the best version of yourself that you end up creating these false expectations from your peers. Enjoy who you are RIGHT NOW because if you don’t, you are going to miss out on life itself.
So please, stop waiting for some miracle moment that will change you. Enjoy the process and as Amy Cuddy once said, “Don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it.”
What she means by this is, sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is ignore those annoying, negative, gremlin voices. Walk into that new job, new day, new opportunity (said in inspirational American voice) and own yourself (even if you are spewing a little inside). Because, everyone has those voices (yep, you’re not special); some are just better at ignoring them and some let them control who they are.
We need people like Sassy Samantha who get the dance floor going, are the first to arrive and the last to go home. But we also need people like Patient Pete that come for a, ‘Hi, hello, how are ya,’ and go home at 7pm to his three pet turtles named Chopstick, Moo Moo and Salsa.
Respect who you are and who you are not, because if you don’t, it’s incredibly tricky for somebody else too.
The meerkat never apologises for not being a tiger. Unless he gets eaten alive for bringing nothing to the table.