You know, for a long time I struggled with loving myself. Loving who I was. In fact, for the majority of my life, I’ve felt like there’s some invisible standard of perfection that I’ve had to meet. Some benchmark.
The pressure to excel has been present with me my entire life. It’s been completely and totally self-directed. A pressure I’ve always placed on myself. A pressure to somehow be the best. To be perfect.
And how silly is that? Be the best at what? Why? There’s always going to be someone who is more gifted or better than I am at something. At, probably, most things.
In the past, these kinds of thoughts and feelings fuelled jealousy, fuelled envy. Fuelled a sigh of relief when someone did worse than I did.
And, honestly I can’t believe I was ever that person.
No wonder why it was so difficult, you know, at times to love myself. I was too caught up in some ideal I prescribed to myself, an ideal I could never meet. And when I didn’t mean it, I beat myself up.
I am so far from perfect, and I have always, always been. Perfect is on a railway track, and I’m standing in the middle of a cornfield nowhere near it.
And, you know what? So is everyone else.
We need to stop sighing when people are doing well, and start applauding and cheering them on. I say it all the time, and I’ll say it again, we need to lift people up.
There are lots of things I am terrible at. But there are some things that I’m good at. If you help me, I’ll help you. Let us work together. What a simple concept!
You show me how to do this, and I’ll work with you and show you how I do something else. Duh. Just duh. Let us draw on the strengths and talents of those around us so that we can do better as an entire people.
In 2013, I hit rock bottom. And I reevaluated my entire life. I decided that I’m done with meeting some societally prescribed role. I’m tired of trying to fit some mould.
I’m done with bragging about all the things I’ve accomplished. I’m done with posting only the wonderful things that happen to me. And instead I am going to be as real and as raw as I can be.
Life is too short, I decided, to try to be something I’m not.
And I’m not a lot of things. I’m not thin, I don’t have perfect hair, my mental health is a circus, I’m never on time, for anything, and I am not always the most practical person on planet earth. And I hate cleaning, and I’d rather get take out then cook.
But I am a lot of things, too. I’m kind, I’m considerate, I genuinely want the best for everyone, I’m a bit funny, I’m empathetic, I have a strong body, I have, what I believe to be, a beautiful soul.
And I now love myself. I freaking love being imperfect and embracing it. All of it. This is me. I am Mandy. And, sometimes my life (like my kitchen) is a disaster, but I’m done hiding.
I’m putting myself out there. And I’m loving the support. And I’m here to support you. You have my support if you need it. Know that. Remember it.
Stay true to you. For who else can be you? No one. No one can live your life better than you can live it yourself. This life was designed for you.