As I approach this last year as a twenty-something, I’ve realized just how much I’ve grown + changed these last ten years. From discovering my passions, hopes, and dreams, to really understanding who I am. And being okay with that.
All my life, I’ve struggled with just being myself. Comparing myself to others, wishing I wasn’t so shy, worrying what others must think of me, that quiet girl. Fear of saying the wrong thing, of missing out, of people not knowing the real me. Spending so much energy wishing I was someone else, filled with anxiety + disappointment at every perceived failure. Ignoring my own gifts and longing for those of others. Keeping my true self hidden within, so I wouldn’t have to face what would surely be rejection in my mind. Over-analyzing every situation, so afraid to reach out, to let others accept + love me for the person I was, not who I thought I should be.
Slowly I began to understand the only way to really be happy with yourself is to embrace your gifts + share them with others. Stop being afraid, and know you do have something to offer, you are important, even if you are reserved more times than not. It’s okay! We are all unique, we all have our strengths and our weaknesses, and that is what makes life so interesting + amazing.
I may not always be the best at expressing myself verbally, I may say something stupid out of nervousness, I may not be a skilled small-talker. Instead of getting so hung up on the things I don’t have, I’m learning instead to accept them, to relax, to share myself in the ways I’m good at. Sometimes I just like to sit back and take it all in, to observe, to listen. I need to think about what I want to say rather than just blurting out whatever’s on my mind. I’m not stuck-up or a snob, it just takes a little more time to get to know me. I love sharing relevant stories + talking about the things I’m passionate about, and hearing the same from others. I don’t really enjoy talking on the phone, but would rather take the time to share words through letters or emails. My favorite way to show I care is by creating, whether that means cooking or baking something delicious, or making something artistic for another. In giving away a little part of myself, I hope the recipient knows how very much they are valued + loved, even if I don’t always let them know with words.
I need peace and quiet in my life to feel recharged + energized. I don’t like going to lots of parties or socializing in noisy places. For me, it’s harder to have meaningful conversations with so much busyness going on all around. I love spending time with others, but would rather have a game night, cook dinner together, go for a hike or bicycle ride, anything that is more low-key + easier to really talk with each other and share time together. When I have time to reflect, to create, to notice the beautiful moments, I feel so at ease and better able to experience the joy of life.
As this journey of life continues, I know there will still be struggles. I know there will be days I’ll still wish I could just come up with something witty to say (rather than thinking of the greatest comeback 20 minutes later), or to be charming + outgoing the first time I meet someone. But I will remember to just be myself, in the kindest and most gracious way possible. To appreciate the gifts of others, and know that I have something to offer too, even if it is in a different way. To hope that simply being genuine is enough for others to see that I am someone worth knowing. To keep sharing myself with others, in my own quiet ways.
There is something so freeing in being proud of your strengths, knowing each gift you are given is all you need to live this life well + be a blessing to others.