One of the greatest struggles that we as humans face is the ability to embrace who we are. To be authentic. For most of my life I struggled with this greatly. I tried to blend in and not draw attention to myself. I lacked self confidence and was extremely shy. I worried more about friends and family liking and accepting me so I molded myself to fit an image I knew they would accept.
I constantly battled with myself regarding who it was I wanted to be. I couldn’t make decisions because I was more worried about what people would think of me than what the actual outcome of what the decision would be. I couldn’t communicate with others truthfully because of fear they would judge me and no longer like me. I was lost and I was allowing others opinions of me to drive all of my actions.
When I met my husband ten years ago, I started to experience thoughts that I had never had before. He gave me self confidence and I wasn’t sure how to process those emotions. He constantly told me I was beautiful and always made me feel good about myself. I was finishing up my bachelors degree and still struggling with trying to figure out who I was and what it was I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
I came from a pretty humble upbringing. We didn’t have a whole lot growing up and I was the first female in my family to graduate from college. Shortly after I graduated I took a job with a big corporation and as I worked my up in my career, I started to “find myself”. I gained self confidence. I had reached a point in my life where I was successful and I was starting to feel more and more comfortable in my skin.
At this same time I found yoga. Going into my first practice at the Ashtanga studio was pretty intimidating. We were all facing each other in this small room that had floor to ceiling windows so all the passerby’s could see in. I was so worried about people knowing I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I was so scared they were going to judge me that I almost left before class even started. I was trembling. The class started with a few rounds of ohm and chanting. I looked around the room thinking “what the heck have I gotten myself in to here?” I’m not going to lie, I was scared.
As we moved through our practice I was observing the room and I noticed something that completely shocked me, nobody else was looking around the room. Everyone was doing their own thing and it was obvious that not one person in that room cared what anyone else was doing. This was a game changer for me. I found myself craving not necessarily the practice at first, but the space. It was like my mat was my safe haven. Like I was invisible and since nobody could see, they couldn’t judge me.
My mat became a place where I grew. I learned to find and accept myself. My practice gave me confidence and allowed me to open up in more ways than I could possibly imagine. I broke down the walls that were keeping me from obtaining true friendships. I finally was able to love myself exactly as I was.
I still struggle with self acceptance but not near as much as I used to. I understand and realize that not everyone will like me. Some will judge me and form their opinions of me. I can’t control other peoples feelings towards me, I can only control how I treat others. My hope is that I make others feel welcome and loved when they are in my presence. I now have confidence in who I am and what I want to accomplish. I am honest and true to myself. I am kind and I make decisions based on what my heart tells me to do. I have my faults but those are things that make me who I am. Even with all my little quirks, I am still a really good person. I am me.