“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Those words written by Eleanor Roosevelt have lived written on a chalk board in my house for a number of years. I read them every day as I walk about from room to room. I have even written about them before, but over the past few months I have fully come to understand their meaning.
My whole life I have struggled with feeling inferior. There was really no event that caused such an issue, but it has been there for as long as I can remember. Everyone is smarter than me, prettier than me, and by far, more successful than me.
Crazy I know, but its a real struggle.
The past couple years have seen and brought many changes into my life, and I honestly felt I was in the place I needed to be, surrounded by the people I needed to be surrounded by. I wrote constantly, and was starting to finally get offers to be published. I found peace and purpose in hiking, and had developed some precious friendships. Life was good.
Then my old nemesis Inferiority showed up. The friends I thought were friends, shunned me over a misunderstanding my head is still spinning from, and once again, I was left feeling broken, worthless, and unloved. This was followed by the ultimate rejection in November when the magazine that had hired me to write two features for them, suddenly and dramatically gave me the ax.
My confidence was at an all time low. I shut down from everything….hiking, writing, living. It was just easier to stay inside than it was to pretend. Inside my home it was just me and my dog, and she thought I was awesome.
Then five weeks ago she passed away and I was suddenly all alone again. My depression grew deeper and even more dark. I officially was a nobody.
I tried to hike, but my strength was gone. I tried to write, but the words would not come. I sought God, but I failed to listen.
And then I saw the chalkboard with Eleanor Roosevelt’s words on them. I don’t know what happened, but in that moment something inside me snapped. How utterly simple and profound it all was. I had a choice. Let others make me feel less or, or take back my consent.
Virginia Woolfe once wrote, “No need to hurry. No heed to sparkle. No need to be anybody, but oneself.” For so many years, I have struggled to be someone I am not. I have sought to find acceptance from those who never gave me a second thought. So much time was wasted trying to conform to them, I had forgotten who I was.
Yes, I have a added a little weight over the past few months, but I am also beautiful woman created in the image of God. I don’t like to drink, listen to vulgar jokes, or share all my drama on social media. I am quirky, moody, emotional, and sometimes quiet. I love PBS, reading, and going to bed at 8pm. I am old fashioned, sentimental, and believe that God is in all the details of life. I am crazy funny, love to laugh, but also love a good cry. I believe writing letters is a lost art, and that women should practice a little mystery and modestly.
There is no need for me to seek fulfillment from anyone but God. He made me who I am, and I learned long ago, He doesn’t make mistakes, so that must make me pretty incredible.
Now, I am not saying I have all this life stuff figured out and that I am totally secure with who I am. I don’t think I will ever be there. But what I have learned, is that I am a pretty incredible person, and that in the past few months, when I stopped trying so hard to fit in, I actually started feeling like I belong. I am surrounded by some people who aren’t part of the “cool crowd”, but who are totally the coolest to me, and they love me for all my quirky awkwardness. No longer does rejection stop me, but I am learning to use it to fuel me on. I just submitted for a short term writing assignment, and was given the green light to start immediately.
Life is too short to be worried about what others think. I don’t need to sparkle to shine. I just need to be me.