Monday, August 13, 2012

Bold is Beautiful

My talents, interests, and experiences are an important part of who I am. I love listening to people and letting them know they are valued. I enjoy building one-on-one relationships. I have a strong sense of empathy and compassion. I have always liked writing and reading. I am great at planning and organization. I love talking about practical applications of faith in everyday life. I was a teen parent and married young. I am fascinated by pregnancy and birth; I have birthed three children, two of which were unmedicated homebirths, and I have had a lot of experience with breastfeeding. I am educated in child development and positive discipline. I have experience dealing with special needs such as developmental delays, Asperger’s, sensory issues (both sensory-avoidance and sensory-seeking), and apraxia.

When I am in environments where my strengths and experiences are useful and appreciated, I feel fulfilled. Alive. Buzzing with energy and excitement. I feel wholly like myself.

And yet I make the mistake of downplaying or ignoring my strengths and passions. Sometimes I try too hard to be what I think other people want me to be, at the expense of who I truly am. Because I want to matter to other people and be liked, I end up trying to figure out what they want from me so I can hopefully deliver that, rather than giving them who and what I really am. What if who I really am isn’t what they want? I fear being seen as uninteresting, irrelevant, or offensive by people I care about. And I end up being uncomfortable, reserved, and guarded, presenting half-truths of who I really am.

I have tried for too long to paint over my bold colors with muted shades. Something must change here. I want to boldly live in my passions and strengths, rather than trying to be a people-pleaser.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Maryanne Williamson

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