‘I sank deep into my insecurities. Stop talking so much. People don’t like that. Tone it down. You come off as too much. Don’t be so ‘you.’

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“Two years ago, around this time, I sat in a big ole reclining chair nursing my fussy newborn. I sank deep into the cushions and deep into my own insecurities. I pulled out my phone and started to type out my New Year’s Resolutions into the notes section on my iPhone, huge tears rolling down my cheeks. This is what you do on New Year’s, right? You start fresh? Change everything?

– Lose the baby weight. And then the extra 5lbs you had before you got pregnant. You look awful.
– Stop talking so much. People don’t like that.
– Get places on time. You are so unorganized.
– Be a better mom. You are failing.
– Tone it down a bit. You come off as too much.
– Stick to a budget. No more Target. You have no self-control.
– Don’t be so ‘you.’

I felt damaged. I felt broken. I felt all kinds of blah. I knew everything that was wrong with me. I didn’t need a list to point them out in black and white. I didn’t need to see my faults spelled out in Times New Roman 12 point. I knew. I’d known since I was little bitty. And I was over it.

I just couldn’t take it anymore. Thirty-five years of that mess was enough. So, I deleted everything, and I started blank.

This. This was going be the year of the Un-resolution.

This was going to be the year where I accepted myself, and understood myself, and really, really dug deep into every corner that made me, me. No changing. No criticizing. No cliché calorie- counting. Just loving on myself a little bit.

Just understanding my strengths, so I could use them for something good, for something great, for something worthy.

Just welcoming who I was, so I could open up my arms and hug on everyone around me, so I could love on my friends and family and strangers walking down the street.

Just focusing on liking myself, so I would be healthy enough and happy enough to flip the switch, walk into a room full of faces, and focus on them and them alone. No more insecurity pointing inwards.

And as I grew, as I became stronger and more self-aware and more self-assured, amazing – almost miraculous – things began to happen around me. I changed more in that year that I ever would have done with a checklist.

  1. I became at ease with myself, and everyone around me became a little more at ease as well. I became relaxed, and everyone around me became a little more relaxed as well. I became true and honest and real, and everyone around me became a little more real as well. My friendships blossomed. My marriage was fun. When I stopped forcing myself to be somebody else, when I stopped forcing myself to fit into this tiny mold, fewer things around needed to be forced anymore.
  2. I stopped needing so much from other people. I stopped relying on their affirmation, their approval, their invitation for self-approval. For the first time in my life, I didn’t need other people to feed me. I was feeding myself. I knew not everyone was going to like me. I knew not everyone was going to want me. I knew I wasn’t going to be everyone’s sauce. And it was okay. I knew me, and I liked me. And when I needed less, I became more.
  3. I learned to appreciate the strengths of everyone around me without lusting after them. Suddenly, my yard became the greenest lawn on the block, not because I was special (I wasn’t. I still am not.), but because I was watering my own grass. I could look over my shoulder and see her value without wanting her value. I could see her strong-suits without wanting her strong-suits. I could see her talents without wanting her talents. I could finally become a woman who was strong enough to support other women without crumbling into a pile of my own inadequacies.
  4. I gained a whole lot of freedom. It’s exhausting to feel like the only way to ever be loved is to be good enough. It’s like chasing a big ole Snickers bar on a hamster wheel. It’s never going to happen. Perfection just isn’t in the cards. When I learned to stop waiting around for a handful of aces. When I learned to stop waiting for an invitation to take a seat at the table, and just hopped right in and played the cards God dealt me, life stopped being a game. Life stopped being a beauty pageant and an episode of ‘Who’s Got Talent,’ and it just became…well, it became whatever I wanted it to be.
  5. I had the confidence to raise my hand and boldly say: ‘Here I am, God! Send me.’ I finally really knew myself. I was finally in a place where I could proclaim, ‘This is my gift! God, use it.’ And when I allowed myself to be brave. When I allowed myself to boldly go in the direction of God’s plans, I became very at peace with every part of me. I became someone with a purpose. I became someone with a purpose bigger than my own. I became someone with His purpose.

As we turn the corner and enter into this new year, I don’t know where you are. I don’t know where you stand. I don’t know the stirring that’s spinning around in your heart. But if it’s anything like mine. If it’s sick. If it’s tired. If it’s sick and tired of hiding in insecurity and doubt and disappointment, I hope you’ll take the plunge this New Year and make an un-resolution.

I hope you’ll take the time to get to know yourself. I hope you’ll take the time to give the girl in the mirror a big ole hug. I hope you’ll take the time to appreciate her for all that she is, and all that God created her to be. You’ll change more from loving yourself than you ever will from hating yourself, and from beating yourself up. You’ll change more from respecting yourself than from repeatedly wanting to be somebody else. You’ll change more from deeply knowing yourself than you ever will from some magical list that’s going to help you become some somebody new overnight.

Step 1: Know yourself. Step 2: Love yourself. Step 3: Conquer the world, or at least your life.

You can do this. You are totally capable. And you are absolutely, positively, without a doubt worth it.”

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Follow Amy on Instagram here and Twitter here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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