Every day seems like a game. Trying to keep up with the latest fashions, trying to make sure that your hair looks like the style that Beyoncé rocked in her last performance…simply put, are trying to keep up with the status quo. This game is real. This game is stressful. This game is not fun.
How many of us have lost our true identities? How many of us don’t even know who we are, because we are trying so hard to be someone else. Social media has a way of messing with our minds. All types of people, some whom we call friends and others whom we just happened to stumble upon through various means, at times struggle to portray this image of perfection.
I must admit there are times when I see certain styles on social media, or certain hairstyles, or certain images, or places people go that I subconsciously yearn for myself.
“I want my hair to be straight, I want to go to that place, and I want to wear clothes that look just like that.”
But the question that I must ask myself is, “who am I?”
I’m asking you…Who are you?
Will the real (insert your name) stand up!
Will the real Candace stand up!
I remember growing up as a child, that I wasn’t confident about who I was. I suffered with low self-esteem, and that was caused by the image that society deemed as beautiful. Beauty was defined as having long hair, light skin and a slim body. This image dilemma started back in elementary school. This was such a tender age for me, and I should not have had to deal with such self-esteem issues at all— especially being that I was just in elementary school.
This childhood experience has compelled me to constantly teach my children that they are beautiful/handsome. This is important to me.
I believe that we are called to teach our children to love themselves, to appreciate themselves, to be happy with the way that they were made—
because they are beautiful.
I never heard those words growing up. As a matter of fact I heard the opposite. I was known as the fat one, the ugly one, and the one that no one really was attracted to. It was really bad and even looking back at it now brings sadness to my heart, that I had to endure such pain at an early age.
I remember in my early school years looking at some of my classmates who received all the attention, wishing that I looked like them, or wishing that I had hair like them, or that I was light-skinned like them. I was lost and I didn’t know who I was.
As I grew into adulthood, I got better at accepting who I was and learned to love myself, but every now and then I would still struggle with self-esteem issues and feeling beautiful.
So many of us struggle with accepting who we are, struggle with living confidently in our skin, and struggle with being the best that we can be. We are consistently being bombarded with society’s portrait of “beautiful ” that it can become stifling.
It’s time for us to reclaim ourselves. It’s time to be confident as we represent ourselves in this world. In order to do that, we first have to learn who we are. We have to know what we love, we have to know what we choose to stand for, and we have to know what we want to be outside of what society thinks is “appropriate.” We have to learn to be an individual. This is essential when you are learning to love yourself.
Second, we must never compare ourselves to anyone else. We are not them. We have not walked in their shoes, we have not talked their talk, we have not slept in their beds, we have not eaten at their tables, we have not lived their lives—so we should not compare ourselves or set our standards according to someone else’s. We all have a different purpose, and we all are equipped differently to walk this course we call life. So we must never compare ourselves to anyone else.
Thirdly, we have to be confident in who we are. We have to live each day holding our heads high, being confident in what we are setting out to do for that day. We must never proceed in a manner that portrays us as being cowardly, timid, or even withdrawn. We have to own the stage that we are walking on, even if it’s a different course than what others are walking. We have to live knowing that we are “bad” a.k.a “the stuff”.
I believe that this confidence comes when we learn to love ourselves and accept ourselves for who we are. I am learning every day that I am Me and I cannot be compared to anyone else. I am uniquely made and I’m special. Knowing that helps me to become more confident in what I do and who I am. Knowing this helps me to keep my head lifted high and to live each day to my best ability.
Lastly, we just have to live out our purpose. Once we know who we are and we accept who we are, and are confident in who we are, only then are we able to just live and be. Don’t be afraid to soar. Don’t be afraid to live and thrive, to take risks, to explore. We have to live out the life that we were created to live and be the best at it. We must not allow any distractions to come our way, that will deter us from the purpose that we were created to fulfill. When we can do these things, we are standing up in confidence. Then when our name is called, we pop up and be like *BAM* “Here I am”.
So, the next time your name is called, don’t stand up all timid and shy, but stand up strong, head raised high and say, “Here I am!”
The real (insert your name) is STANDING!!!