Why is our self-image dependent upon others' perceptions of who we are?
I think if there were more love, understanding and acceptance in this world, we'd accomplish a hell of a lot more than any amount of hate and judgement ever could. Our fear and judgement from others is what causes great divides among people. It's what makes us feel most alone in our darkest moments.
I know what it's like to look in the mirror and not recognize your own reflection, or worse, hate the image staring back at you because you can't see what everyone else does. I've watched people I love live a life in hiding because they don't know how to accept themselves and fear rejection by the people closest to them. I've learned that some of my closest friends have dealt with violence and abuse in relationships for years while putting on a happy, smiling face to the outside world.
I have lost many people in this life, and the toughest losses are ones where the person couldn't find a way to love themself. I had a family member who spent his entire life running from inner demons that he couldn't quite get away from. He saw himself as a weed choking out all the good in his life. What he couldn't grasp no matter how many times I told him was that he was one of the best parts of mine.
7 ways to be true to yourself and inspire acceptance
Here's the advice I have to offer you, my loves. It's been my personal experience that the only way to be truly happy is to start with yourself and work outwards. You have to learn to love yourself for who you are, exactly as you are. It's something I continue to work on every single day. Some days are harder than others. But here are a few good ways to start.
1. Find happiness in who you are and love yourself enough to walk away from anyone or anything that makes you feel like you aren't enough. I know it's easier said, than done, but you deserve it.
2. Love your life and fight for the things that bring you happiness and light, even if others don't understand or respect it.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help from people who love you. You don't always have to shoulder this world alone. Find people who will walk with you.
4. Don't apologize for who you are. Don't apologize for who or what you love. Love inspires great things and everyone deserves the right to find their passion in this life. Everyone deserves to be loved, no matter where we've been, what we've battled, what we've overcome or are fighting to overcome.
5. Learn from your fears and your own wounds and reach out a hand to help those around you. Lift others up and remind them that they are loved, too, so we can inspire love and acceptance in others.
6. Pay attention to people and what they are saying in what they don't say. Listen.
7. Love is a fulfilling cycle. As I always say —