I think many of you will understand when I say insecurity and self-doubt have ruled my life for a long time – at one point, I thought I would never be free of their grip.
I felt different from others my age from the time I was 9 years old, and when I was severely bullied at the age of 13, to the point I was isolated and didn’t have any friends at all, I pulled up walls to protect myself. I never wanted to feel humiliated or hurt again. Everything I felt or thought was ridiculed, and I was left feeling no one would accept me as I was. As a child who was aware of the differences in her own personality, that has been extremely hard. I felt insecure about myself, doubted everything and everyone, and my body and mind went into survival mode – taking life one day at a time.
I write the bulk of this post on April 6th 2019, a date that holds some importance to me. Exactly one year ago, I attended a show of my supervisor’s band, Powerized.
That was one of the best choices I’ve made in my life. The band had just released their debut album, and I went to one of the release shows. That night, I looked into a mental mirror and what I saw, and realized, hit me so hard that I was knocked out of survival mode. Looking back on the year that has passed now, there were five themes I worked through that really got me out of the insecurity and doubts I came to know well.
Super Power 1: Be Yourself!
The lead singer bounced all over the stage during their show, not standing still for more than a few seconds at a time. Between songs, he’d interact with the audience, and boy his words came out at breakneck speed when he talked. I stood there, baffled, because it was almost as if I saw myself. The energy he displayed was the exact same energy I had, and still have – and that made me realized I had become a dilated version of who I truly was. I realized I had done that to myself because other people couldn’t handle the amount of energy I have.
I’m literally a bouncing ball, going all over the place when I’m in my usual happy mood. There’s too much energy to hold in, so naturally, my mouth sometimes cannot keep up with the speed of my thoughts.
In the past year, I’ve realized that I’m the most important person in my own life. I had always looked to others to determine how I could feel or think, and I felt miserable for it. I now take responsibility for my own feelings and thoughts, and I look to myself to see how I feel or think. I am so much happier for it, knowing I have full control of my life again.
Super Power 2: Acceptance
That brings me to the second theme: acceptance. It goes hand in hand with the first one; accepting who you are is a key element in being who you are. I never felt accepted for who I was as a child. I was afraid to fail, to be bullied, to be shoved into a corner and not be able to defend my boundaries.
There came a point when I realized that if I do not accept who I am, no one else would. I would no longer base my life on what others wanted, or dilute my energy because they felt it was too much. Accept me as I am, or hightail yourself to the highway out of my life.
Super Power 3: Let Go
The misery I went through as a child, that’s over and done with. It’s in the past, where it can no longer control me – and so I let that heartache, that misery, go. The survival strategies I adopted as a child have served their purpose, and I’m letting them go as well. New strategies are adopted, and I’m a stronger person for leaving the past where I go.
The letting go theme came along hand in hand with acceptance: I made the decision I would not allow people in my life who would not accept me for who I was, and I was finally able to let go of them. I realized I had a choice: I could either let what made me miserable control me, or I could let that go and choose to be happy. In the movie “Frozen”, just see how happy Elsa becomes when she finally stopped keeping her powers inside and instead, released them? Thát is what I’m talking about here, stop holding it in, but just be you!
Super Power 4: Trust
Trust is a theme I am still working on at the time I write this post. I still find it difficult to trust people or situations, because I’ve trusted before and got hurt or left behind. Though what I have come to learn too, is that I trust myself much more than I used to – so I want to start there. You will always have the choice between being defeated or keep on fighting. I trust myself, the passionate, bouncing-ball happy person I am and the way she feels and thinks. She’s my ally and she shows me the strengths I have inside of me. I trust her, and I am so much more confident about my skills thanks to her.
Always trust yourself! Trust how you feel or think because that is part of you! No matter how hard other people will try to convince you of the opposite, your feelings and thoughts are who you are, and they are always true! Do not deny them, but acknowledge them. You still have the power to decide hów you want to act on your thoughts and emotions. You can feel hurt, and either decide to be the victim and crawl into a corner to cry your eyes out or decide to be a fighter and tell the person hurting you off for their harsh words.
Super Power 5: Find kindred spirits
Working through the previous four themes would have been much more difficult for me if I had to do it by myself. It was thanks to Powerized’s lead singer that I was able to find what was required inside myself to face them and find the strength I never knew I had. In the past year, I met people who saw me returning to my real self, and they loved who I was. It is those people, the ones that build me up, that I value and that I count on when I’m down. If you can find people like that in your life, people who will still be with you in your darkest moments, cherish them. For they are the ones who will see when you falter and they will help you get back to your feet. Always choose the people who help you up, and who stay at your side when you’re at your worst. They often see the strength inside you long before you do, and they help you rediscover that.
There’s one thing I would like to add here. I was lucky enough to find the one person who knocked me off my feet so bad that I could only get back up if I worked through these themes. I was, in a way, forced to look into the mirror that was held up to me and not being able to look away was what made me finally find the courage to step through it.
Like Atreyu in the novel of the Neverending story – where he steps through the mirror gate which shows him his true self. I hope that everyone who struggles with what I’ve been through finds someone who’ll hold up that mirror for them, just like I did, and help them get back on track.
Ellis Paas – I hope you find the courage to be yourself 🙂