By Brenda Grays, i Start Wondering Columnist
How many times each day do you mean to say one thing but instead say another because you’re worried about what others might think? I have learned to accept that my struggles and challenges belong to me. What others think doesn’t matter. Instead, it’s important to be true to yourself.
I learned this lesson from experience. I became pregnant at the age of 15 and raised a beautiful daughter, thanks to God’s grace. Putting my commitment to my Higher Power first and then picking myself up by the boot strap brought me through the challenges facing me! I have learned that I may not control all the events that happen to me, but I can decide not to be reduced by them.
Instead, I’d encourage you to consider taking these steps in order to be true to yourself:
- Know who you are. I learned to take time to consider and value what makes up the essence of who I am. I would encourage you to think about what kinds of things you would or wouldn’t like to do in your life and act accordingly. Find out through trial and error since exploring your options helps more than you might think it does.
- Find your values. The culture, religion, mentors, inspiring people, education and families may try to set your values for you. However, it’s important to decide what resonates for your own life. Therefore, I’d encourage you to continue working through any conflicts that arise to identify what values feel most true to yourself.
- The past is the past; you can’t go forward by looking back. Instead, allow yourself space to grow, to improve, to become wiser. Allow yourself to forgive past errors and past behaviors that you’re not so proud of. Work on accepting mistakes and choices you’ve made; they’re done and in the past.
- Deal honestly with others. Be honest and open. What have you got to hide? We’re all imperfect. We’re also all continually growing and learning.
- Stop caring about how people see you. Some people will like you while others won’t. Why fixate on the views of people who don’t like you? Let go of these concerns and be true to yourself.
- Live in the now. Don’t worry about tomorrow or next week or next year. Don’t stress about your birthday or fret about some mistake you made last week that made you feel stupid. Live in the present!
Most importantly, we need to continually charge our batteries so we can be proactive in finding new opportunities to keep becoming who we are meant to be. As financier and philanthropist Bernard M. Maruch said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind