As I've entered my early 30's, I've become not only aware of my insecurities, but also very appreciative of my flaws. When I say the word "flaws," I don't really believe them to be so, or would have ever defined them as that if I had the same perspective then, as I do now. But as a child, adolescent and young adult, I truly thought they were flaws that I somehow needed to fix or wanted to wish away. Now I sometimes laugh at the silly things that bothered me, but other times, I still catch myself feeling a type of way about a specific feature or characteristic of mine and have to have "the talk" with myself on self love all over again.
I believe we all need to start loving ourselves more, especially us women. I have a few of my own things that my 21 year old self would have classified as flaws that I now can love and appreciate about myself and actually feel have become my strengths.
1. Pale Skin
As far back as I can remember, I struggled with how pale my skin was. I was teased a lot as a
child, because all of my family and friends were either olive skin toned, or at least darker than I was, and my insecurity developed very quickly. It didn't help much that I burned so easily either. In junior high and high school I never wore shorts, skirts or dresses and barely wore sleeveless anything. As I grew more comfortable in my own skin, I began wearing the dresses and shorts and realized, if someone had something to say about my pale skin, it isn't any problem of mine, it's a problem of theirs. And it didn't hurt to have a man by my side who still, till this day, loves everything about my pale skin. I'll always be the woman taking the extra 5 minutes to apply mounds of sunscreen before I step foot in the sun and I'll never again torture myself or my poor skin with another tanning bed. That's what spray tans are for people. And if someone wants to point out how pale I am, as if I don't already know, I just tell them, "I'm not pale honey, I'm porcelain."
Along with pale skin came the freckles of course. I was never given the story that freckles were angel kisses. My parents were pretty realistic and said "sorry honey but, I love your freckles." I didn't mind them so much until I began junior high, you know, the cruelest years of your life. I mean, a lot of other kids had freckles, but they always seemed to have something to off set it, like big breasts, or an athletic talent of some sort. I felt like my braces and small chest were only enhancing the problem. I'm just thankful my parents didn't make me wear my head gear to school. But as I've grown, I've come to love how unique freckles are. Granted, they are more of a pigmentation issue, but I still really love my little freckles. I feel like "me" with them. Like if I was somehow missing them, I wouldn't feel quite myself. I love how they come out so strongly in the summer and then tend to fade in the fall and winter months. It's just my own cycle of freckledom.
3. Small Breasts
Who doesn't love talking about small breasts? Couldn't you just talk about them all day? Well my small breasts were never something I could actually grow out of. I will never know the feeling of actually having naturally big breasts, except for when I breastfed my 2 boys. But that's a whole different kind of breast all together. I was insecure for all of the same reasons every girl was. It was more of an issue for me when I was younger, probably because the stereotype went, 'men love women with big breasts,' I mean, hello! Luckily, I do have a little bit of a booty to offset the
small chest, but of course that didn't develop until I hit my late teens, so I guess you could say I gained one asset in the middle of the pale skin, freckles and small breasts. But to be honest, I think the point in my life where it all shifted was when I had my children. To watch your body not only transform, but miraculously grow a child, birth a child, then feed a child, is incredible. I had the big chest for a while during and after my pregnancies and while it was for a completely different reason all together, I just had so much appreciation for what they did. They had a purpose and I was grateful for them for the first time. Now don't get me wrong, they were a lot different looking before my children, so I'm not saying there won't be an enhancement one day, but I am completely comfortable and confident with what I have, for now.
4. Abundance of Emotions
As women we tend to be emotional and act on emotion. I like to call it passion. That way I avoid the all too often stereotypical comment about being an emotional woman. But I admit, I am a ball of emotions. I can feel not just my feelings to the extreme, but I can also feel yours, and yours, and yours, hell, all of yours. I am that passionate. I feel so deeply, because I know my purpose is to help others. I never knew that purpose until I had children, and as I've grown to look inward, I don't see my emotions as crippling me or causing me to make irrational decisions. I see it as my own gift to others in my personal life and in my professional life as a therapist. It truly is a gift, not a curse. And I hope every woman can find that gift in their own emotions.
Do you guys think sensitivity is the same as emotional? See, some do, but I think it's completely different. I am sensitive in the way that I take things to heart. And not just like my feelings are hurt, although, that does happen, but I cry at everything. Most people don't even notice that I'm tearing up at the American Idol audition, or the Sprint commercial, but I am. I tear up when my son tells me he passed his current set of spelling words, because I'm proud. I used to believe I needed to hide it a lot more than I find myself doing at times, but it helps me to release my feelings and it also helps to connect me to others. I always remember reacting to my father as a young girl. I was obviously very dramatic, but I took everything personal and got my feelings hurt a lot. My father would always tell my I was too sensitive. And while I was sensitive, I don't think I was too sensitive, because I still am till this day, but I think that's just who I am. And instead of fighting it, I embrace it. I have had to learn to tell myself that just because something makes me feel a certain feeling, it doesn't mean it was intended to. That way I'm not running around feeling hurt and as if everything is about me, because it's not. People do and say hurtful things all the time, but it doesn't mean it was the intention, and that's the difference.
6. Left Handedness
Where are my south-paws at? Anyone? Hello? Well, while there aren't too many of us, I seem to surround myself with them unintentionally. Obviously because we are awesome! I used to have the worst time in school sitting in those right handed desks, trying to act like it was no big deal that I had no where to rest my arm and elbow. As if I had mastered the art of wrist strength and could manage perfectly fine on my own. Yea it kind of sucked at times, but who really cares? There are much bigger problems in the world than the accommodations of my left hand. It was just the thought of being somehow different, AGAIN. The funny thing is, is that I'm somewhat ambidextrous. I cut with scissors, bat and golf right handed, but do everything else left handed. I can write fairly well with my right hand, but it's definitely more comfortable with my left. They say that left handed people use the right side of their brain and are creative. And while I feel that is true in my case, I am also wired in many ways that a right handed person is said to be wired. I often feel like I have 2 complete different sides to me and maybe I do, but instead of fretting over being different from others, I have totally embraced being a south paw. I am very proud of it. Some of the world's greatest leaders and heroes are left handed. But I'm not looking to be President of the United States so you can rest easy there.
7. Big Forehead
I never contemplated whether I had a big forehead or not until it was time to start caring about my appearance, maybe in junior high? I vaguely remember a boy making a comment about my big forehead, obviously in a negative way. I realized there was some truth to it just by looking in the mirror, but why did it have to be a bad thing? I asked my mom or aunt (can't say for sure) why I had a big forehead and the response I got every time was, "the bigger the forehead, the more beautiful you are." What I took from that conversation, was to stop asking family members for truths, because they would only say something to make you feel better. I grew out my bangs in hopes of covering up my new found insecurity, but all it did was give me forehead acne. Could a girl catch break? Was this really worth it? Once my forehead finally came out of the shadow of my bangs, I never once heard a comment about it again. The less thought and attention I gave to the ridiculous notion that bigger foreheads weren't acceptable, so did everyone else. So now, I flaunt that forehead around like no one's business, because it's not! It's my beautiful forehead!
8. Forgiving Nature
I've had my share of pain, but who hasn't? No one person has it easy, and if they do, they'll eventually experience some sort of heartbreak in their lifetime and they'll be faced with a choice to forgive or not to forgive. I've always been one to smooth things over and make them seem ok even if they weren't. That doesn't necessarily mean I forgave immediately, but in the end, I always have. There's a saying that sometimes in order to move on, we have to accept the apology we never got. And that happens so often. Some things have happened to me where people around me have urged me not to forgive, because they felt I was letting someone off too easy by doing so, but I never had the energy to keep the hate going. I used to try to have a tougher exterior in hopes that people would take it as a sign not to hurt me again, but in the end, I was only hurting myself. Life is too darn short to be upset and mad all the time. I don't have the energy, simple as that. So if I have forgiveness in my heart, then maybe the ones around me who don't, can learn something from me. If we really want to be happy, and I mean really happy, we must learn to forgive. That doesn't mean to keep a situation the same or to take on something we are unhappy doing, it simply means we can forgive and move on, and be happy.
Honesty is an interesting topic. I am a person who likes to communicate, but not just communicate as in talk a lot, I like to communicate the truth. I have an eye for bullshit, pardon my French, and it feels like I'm allergic to it. So when I see or experience something that calls for truth and honesty, I'm there to say it or do it. I hate being fake. I can't pretend to like you, to hate you, or care for something if I don't. I wear my emotions on my face, so everyone will likely know what I'm thinking, it's just a matter of acting on that. I have scared a number of people out of my life due to their disdain for honesty, and that's perfectly okay by me. I am not someone who is unfiltered and lashes out at people. I know everything has a place and time. But if I'm asked a question, I tell the truth. If I'm crossed, I address the matter, and if there is a problem, YO I'll solve it! Not really, but I'll attempt to. One of my favorite quotes is "Everyone wants the truth, but no one wants to be honest." Ain't that the truth! I value honesty in others the way I think others value it in me. I pride myself on being honest. I never need to struggle to remember any sort of lie or fabricated story, because there is no need for it. There are so many people out there that are more concerned with portraying a false reality than actually living in a real one. What's wrong with honesty anyways? I think it makes life much more interesting!
10. I am an Open Book
So this kind of goes along with my too honest attitude. I've been asked if I should be as open as I am, due to the creepy internet trollers and being so exposed on the virtual web. I feel like if I tried to keep myself locked up tight then I wouldn't be accessible to people. That's not very conducive in a blogger's world. My main purpose in life is to help others and my way of doing that is by being open and honest about my life struggles and triumphs. I don't want people to ever feel alone. I want them to feel like they have someone to relate to and that doesn't work when you're hiding things or making yourself unavailable to do so. I know there are some crazy people out there and if I was just a private person who didn't want to be bothered, I would privatize my whole life the best way I knew how, but that's just not me. I take ownership in my wrong doings as well as my rights and I think others can appreciate that kind of honesty. I'm here to share that with others. If someone doesn't like it, they don't have to read it. The great thing about the internet is that you can click someone out of your screen. I don't claim to be everyone's favorite person or cup of tea, but if I can be of any help to anyone, whether it be my sarcastic, honest attitude, or my deep feelings of emotion, than great. I might be down right annoying in your life, but to another person, I might be making a real difference. And that's what I really care about.
So there you have it. My 10 flaws that became my personal strengths. I feel like my insecurities actually made me more confident as an adult. I am who I am. We are who we are. Aside from the things we continue to work on, we should accept the little flaws and nuances of what make us unique. My big forehead isn't going anywhere, so all I can do is love all of it!