I was an 11 year old girl, sitting on my bedroom floor, face to face with my reflection on the mirror of my closet door. My sketchbook was balanced on my knee, my charcoal pencil poised to catalogue the features of my face as I attempted my self-portrait.
Who am I? I drew my heart shaped face, the frizzy nest of ebony hair, rounded almond eyes, cupid bow lips, the curve of a cheek, the dusting of freckles….I remember being quietly pleased. I don’t care if the editor of Glamour thought freckles were unattractive. I have freckles and I like my freckles. Maybe my hair is frizzy but am I vain to think that I liked how I looked? That some days, when I stopped to look in a mirror before I ran outside to dive into a day of summer filled childhood fun that didn’t give a passing thought to sunscreen, that I even thought that I was maybe just a bit pretty?
As I sat there staring deep into my own eyes, noting the flecks in the irises, asking myself, “Who am I?” I heard that voice that speaks in the quiet. That voice that comes from deep inside. An eternal voice that belies age and in this case youth. That voice asked, “If you were turned inside out and your face reflected your character, would you still be pretty?”
Of course, I was still a child and had a lot of growing to do; however, the lesson is relevant for us all.
“The greatest gift that you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” – Laozi
If you are looking to create and refine yourself in such a way that gives your existence deeper meaning, to manifest a life of value that builds, connects and supports rather than destroys or just “is”, there will come a time when you choose to be the creator of yourself. You will know that you do not have to be the person that others and circumstances have molded you to be. You will choose to stop blaming others and take responsibility for every aspect of your life. You will choose to stop passively receiving the messages from the world around you and will decide to start broadcasting your own message and imprint your own intentions on reality.
The crux of the matter is that the outer world reflects our inner world, so it is imperative that you “start with the man in the mirror.” Do an assessment of yourself, and if you are honest, you will find aspects of self that range from the “fan-freaking-tastic” to the “down-and-out-fugly”.
Assessing yourself is important but it is vital that you don’t get stuck in elevating nor denigrating yourself to the point that you lose focus on the point of self-growth. Sometimes we can get stuck in thinking about everything that we have done wrong in our lives and it affects our self-worth. We cannot get trapped on that treadmill. If you are on it, get off it now. It goes nowhere.
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ― Amy Bloom
Forgiveness is key to letting go. Forgive yourself. Own your light and your darkness. Say, “F*%#$ it. Yeah, I made some mistakes and I feel terrible but I have grown from them. I have tried to make amends, I own them but they will not weigh me down or hold me back.” Remember that all seeds grow in the dark.
- Think about the qualities that you already have and what you love about yourself.
- Think of people that you admire and the characteristics that they have in which you would like to embody.
- Think about times in which you wish you had acted differently.
- Think about qualities of self that you would like to change.
Like an artist sitting in front of a blank canvas, your potential is unlimited. Yet with every brushstroke and sweep of color…..as with every decision that you make in life, doors to some of those possibilities close. So you must have a strong vision of self to manifest the ultimate dream of you. You are the creator of your life. Start your masterpiece today.