Updated: May 24
This is a loaded thought, isn't it? Seeing me the way I want to see me hasn't always been the easiest. Perhaps you can relate? In all honesty, for most of my life, I struggled with even wanting to see me.
My typical vision stayed focused on how I could be seen by others. It was so important to me that I always measured up, that my outward appearance matched some version of perfection, that of course had been based on my naive version of what beauty was. Honestly, I just didn't see in the mirror what I thought anybody else would want to see so I continuously tried to fit some mold that I thought would be more acceptable. Now of course so far, I have only brought up what I saw in the mirror and how I didn't want to see what I saw. And I briefly touched on my efforts to fit in through my physical appearance but what I haven’t said is what I actually saw in the mirror. Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw flaws, I saw distortion, I saw imperfection, I saw disfigurement. I was too heavy or not muscular enough or too muscular, too feminine or not feminine enough, too pale, too dark, you get the idea.
I also struggled with how I saw myself intellectually. Now at first, this wasn't an issue for me because I was bright, and I knew I was bright and in my childhood innocence, I loved to share that intellect. But as I grew older, I began to hear others discontent with my brightness. Looking back at that now, today, the words that I heard we're much more innocent than how I internalized them. Nonetheless being labeled as conceited, being coined as someone that was a know it all, or just asked to not talk at all changed me. I faced this struggle through most of my adolescence. I became pretty persistent in my efforts to fit in linguistically to whatever group I was around. What this equated to was sliding into the dumb blonde routine or airhead act. This was more accepted, got me more positive attention, I was less ridiculed, so I adopted it, it wasn't me, it wasn't how I wanted to see me, but it was how I saw others wanting to see me.
Emotionally I was starving to feel wanted, needed, desired, or even sought after. Shoot, I can remember back to the nightmares I had at four years old where I was screaming standing out in the middle of my driveway with all my family and neighbors surrounding my home finding that none of them could hear me, my screams were unnoticed, nobody came. These dreams haunted me for years. In translation, in my mind I experienced unworthiness. This is where I learned to think and believe that my thoughts, feelings, emotions, opinions, beliefs, dreams, needs, wants, and desires were not worthy they were not valid they held no value, and I was undeserving of all of them. This followed me around throughout much of life, not so much with my husband and my children because they didn't think any of those things, they didn't feel any of those things and they never said anything to me that would make me think or feel that way.
Unfortunately, that neural pathway was carved out probably as soon as I was born.
I could go into a lot of reasons why I didn't see myself physically as acceptable, why I didn't intellectually see myself as acceptable, or why emotionally I didn't see myself as acceptable. But, the why’s from the past aren't really what I want you to hear. This would be a novel if I did!
This is what I want you to know and what I want you to have hope for.
Today I see a powerful woman. I see a physically, healthy, and attractive woman. I see a woman embracing graciously her age. I see an intuitive, intellectual, powerful woman who goes through life every day with purpose and with pride. I see a woman who knows how to live life productively and proactively. I see a woman who lives for herself first, who doesn't feel guilty or selfish. I see a woman, who despite her interpretation of her environment as a child, is able to live free all of those negative attachments without feeling punished or restricted, a woman who holds her personal integrity in high esteem and lives every day in a morally and ethically charged light.
Now, what about you! How do you see yourself?
In what light do you want to be seen?
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