Celebrating your whole self

Imagine this scenario: a 10-year old girl has curly hair that she loves. She’s the only person in her class with curly hair. It’s the one way she feels unique and special. It’s a major part of her identity. It’s the one thing about herself she wouldn’t change.

Then one day, her grandmother comes to visit. The little girl has on her favorite dress. She runs to give her grandmother a hug, and her grandmother makes a comment to the girl’s mother about her wild, frizzy hair. The little girl is devastated by her grandmother’s offhanded comment. She feels ashamed of her hair and embarrassed that it’s not like the other girls in her class. She starts asking her mom to blow dry it straight for her. Every day is a battle to cover up her true self. Years go by. When she’s in high school, a well-meaning hairdresser suggests a Brazilian blowout to chemically straighten her hair. The old belief that she’s not good enough is reinforced…

Now imagine the same story, but replace her curly hair with a quirky sense of humor, a “nerdy” hobby, below average athletic skills or any other quality that might set a child apart. We all have experienced childhood trauma in some form. We all have had a moment or moments like this one that profoundly changed how we viewed ourselves and how we in turn presented ourselves to the world.

The details don’t matter. What matters is that those viewpoints are lies…lies that we initially believed because we were young and impressionable. More often than not, they came from someone else’s hurt….their feelings of inadequacy. Maybe the little girl’s grandmother was told by her own mother that her hair needed to be straight, so her pain trickled down to haunt another generation. The lies start small, but they compound as the years go by.

It’s so incredibly healing to trace those lies back to their origin…to the moment they all started…and see them through the eyes of an adult, not a child. Recognize that the person who said them was weak and hurting and that their actions or comments actually had nothing to do with you. Let that sink in: they have nothing to do with you.

This process takes time, but once you see your past in a new light, you can’t unsee it. You will become more accepting of yourself, the real you. You’ll proudly show that side of you to the world. And when that happens, you will stop attracting situations and people that reinforce the lies you once believed. It will dramatically change your life and set you on your true course.

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