Do you ever feel like things would be easier if you could walk around with a neon sign flashing the words, “Disclaimer…I’m more than a first impression,”? Man, that would be just so good. So good.
Over my life I have really settled with the fact that I make terrible first impressions. Not only do people feel uncertain about me upon first meeting me, but seriously, people hate me. Like, actually hate me. I didn’t know this was happening for a while, and I only ever realized it was happening because in high school my younger sister and some of my friends mentioned that a lot of their friends (younger and older) thought that I was really stuck up and hateful. This was news to me, because these girls who weren’t liking me had never even talked to me before, let alone taken the time to actually find out who I was.
And this trend has continued through college and into adulthood and quite frankly, it sucks. In college, my roommate HATED me. I honestly still can’t pinpoint why, but I sadly wasn’t surprised. And one of the girls that I later became great friends with, even having her in my wedding…she hated me at first too. Her impression was similar to everyone else’s: stuck up, judgmental, unfriendly.
Also, I’m the girl who goes into airports and gets checked in all the ways while going through security. I was once even threatened to be taken into the back for further investigation. Guys, I kid you not. And all I did was ask if I was holding my hands up right…because I didn’t know how to go through the new security in NYC. Sigh. So, yea, first impressions are not my thing. But guess who else struggles with first impressions? Jesus. Boom. He made hundreds of people angry while He lived on Earth and I’m guaranteeing there are still a lot of people out there (obviously) who took one look at Jesus and walked away. So, I’m in good company. *shrugs*
Anyway, over the years, I have found it really hard to balance what others think of me and what I know is true about myself. I won’t pretend like I am 100% immune to all of the opinions people have had of me throughout the years. Sometimes it gets really hard to decipher the truth from the lies and it’s easy to get caught up in the opinions of others, forgetting that they are just that…opinions. My close friends know me; they know the side of me that a lot of people never get to see…partially because I struggle to let people in to my world but also because a lot of people don’t take the time to find out who I am…who I really am.
I could tell you who I think I am right now, but I’m not going to, because as humans we are way too complicated to describe in a paragraph and be honest, I’m still learning who I am and what I like/don’t like, etc. But I will tell you that I am learning how to really, truly love myself for who I am and for what I can offer and it has been a beautiful place of self acceptance and healing.
I also want to go ahead and clarify that I am 100% pro self-empowerment, self acceptance, growth, self love and all of that goodness…but when those things become selfish and hateful and just an excuse to be self-centered…count me out of that. The reason I promote all of the above mentioned is because I truly believe that if we can start loving and caring for ourselves, the way we love and care for others will turn into a revolution of kindness, acceptance for others, and selflessness.
So, I am going to share with you a quick rundown of some things that I have learned in this process, without really giving any back info (for the sake of not writing a book here).
Ten Things I Have Learned on Self Acceptance
- I can offer who I am to people while being safe in the knowledge that some people won’t like me, and that’s okay.
- If I don’t excel in the same way as someone else it doesn’t make me less of a person.
- Trying to be someone else will never end well.
- It’s okay if I don’t get along with everyone.
- Taking care of myself helps me to love others better; even the people who I find hardest to love.
- Just because someone has an opinion about me doesn’t mean it defines me.
- I can choose to step out of a toxic relationship in whatever way I need to, whether it’s completely aborting the relationship or it’s stepping back from unsafe conversations.
- I don’t have to say sorry for who I am.
- I don’t have to make excuses for why I see the world the way I do; if I am being the best me that I can be, that’s enough.
- It’s okay for me to not be the bubbly, always positive, outgoing girl that many people expect me to be and/or any version that others expect me to reflect.
I’m thinking each of this points could be a blog or podcast all on their own…so maybe I’ll touch on some of those in my next post or maybe we can discuss some in the comments. You let me know what YOU think. :). I’m all ears. And I hope that these points were at least somewhat helpful because they have been life changing for me.
Being you is good and it’s enough and so what if you don’t make the best first impressions! I’m not giving up on trying to grow while also being more connectable with others, but I’m starting where I’m at and not where everyone thinks I should be and that’s okay…because we’re all going at our own pace and sometimes my pace is extra fast and sometimes it’s slothy (haha). Aka…sloppy slow. But as long as you are moving forward, there’s progress. And progress is greater than perfection.
Lots of love,