There are a lot of things we choose to do and we think that we make that choice because it is the best decision. In reality, there are so many factors that contribute to that choice, whether it may be the fact that it’s just the easiest option, the most socially acceptable option, or what we truly feel is the best option.
Growing up, I was always striving for acceptance, and validation from others. At school, I was surrounded with incredibly intelligent, creative people. I constantly compared myself to others and their accomplishments, not realizing what a hinderance it was to developing confidence in myself. Instead of developing my strengths, and addressing my weaknesses, I constantly compared my actions to others’ actions and what seems to be easiest for everyone else. I was indecisive externally, internally struggling with trying to hash out what I actually wanted.
I started college at 17. Since I was young, I wanted to be a Pediatrician. Unlike many others, this was the career that I wanted for myself until I went to college. I went to college orientation and attended a group session for pre-med students. The majority of the session was them telling us how few of us would make it through to medical school. I now realize how I let their scare tactics and negativity influence my confidence and my goals. Shortly after that session, I decided I would try to be a nurse instead. They got to me. They convinced me that I was one of the ones that couldn’t do it, instead of pushing me to work hard enough to make it through. Looking back, it’s really disappointing to think about that session and how I let them influence me. They shattered my already weakened confidence in myself. At nearly 30, I am working on my Masters in Public Health to address mental health and developmental disorders in children and adolescents. I think that if I had actually known more about myself and my strengths and weaknesses, I would have known that I could have done it. I could have accomplished anything I wanted to do. I know that now and it makes a world of difference in my motivation and dedication to my goals.
I have learned to embrace who I am. I have learned to embrace my faults, and cater to my strengths. I have learned to express myself and my desires. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t still struggle with being externally decisive due to anticipated rejection. I have learned that it’s okay to be wrong, and that I will never develop confidence in my thoughts if I didn’t express them. I often still cater to others and their desires, but I have learned to speak up when I do or do not support something. I have learned to fight for who I am and what I believe in. I have learned that I have to be myself, regardless of what others think, because it doesn’t matter what others think.
I have learned to love myself. I have realized over time that I didn’t love myself. Honestly, I still struggle with this at times. I suffer from an anxiety and panic disorder, depression, and OCD. But I am not my diagnoses. I have to remind myself that I am much stronger, smarter, and more independent than I think. We must love ourselves in order to truly be happy and accomplish our true desires.
So, here’s your reminder: you are amazing.
We are all incredible creatures with the ability to achieve great things. Put your heart into it. Forget what that person said about your ideas. Forget what that teacher told you in 6th grade. Forget what that person said to you about your body. Turn inward, develop your confidence and self-love. We can do anything.