“Not everyone’s going to be nice and friendly all the time. Some people are going to be mean to you and tease you. If they do, I need you to remember that it has nothing to do with you, okay? They’re choosing to be mean for the day and meanness is always wrong. You should just try to ignore it and play with someone else.” I found myself saying these words to my children, on the drive home from school, after a rough day on the playground. I heard these words coming from my mouth, stating them so matter-of-factly that my children didn’t question it at all. “Okay,” they responded. Okay, problem solved, I laughed to myself. That was easy. What’s funny, is when I said this to them, I meant every single word. To me, my kids are perfect. Yes, they talk back, cry, fight, smack each other, tease, burp, and make annoying noises you didn’t know existed, but they are perfectly themselves and I love every bit of them. Even the annoying parts. I found myself wondering though, why is it so easy to give this advice to our young ones, yet so hard to apply it to ourselves? We are our biggest critics every day and instead of letting rejection and doubt from others, roll off our backs, we let it define us. This is not okay. We need to change this. The only way we can even begin to teach the younger generations about loving who they are, inside and out, is to start within ourselves first. To become the example and play the roles we born to play.
Every day we spend so much effort trying to fit in. From the clothes that we wear, the cars that we drive, the stores that we shop at, what we post on our many social media accounts. It all screams, LOVE ME, LIKE ME, WE SHOULD BE FRIENDS, LOOK HOW COOL I AM. We spend so much time and money on proving to others why we are worth their love. And folks, I am here to tell you to…STOP IT! We are so hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up daily by letting others define our worth. “You don’t live in the right subdivision, you don’t have the right look, we are looking for someone with a different degree for this position, you aren’t skinny enough, you don’t have the right relationship status.” Blah, blah, blah. None of us get out alive without feeling inadequate by another’s opinion of us. We believe what people say about us and what category they place us in. They tell us how we should feel and act and things we should like. We all play along, all the while forgetting something HUGE. NONE OF THIS MATTERS. It’s not real. These standards and rules are made up and none of it matters. This is not who we were meant to be. We were meant to be great but our own kind of great. We were not made to live for others’ opinions. We were created to care about only one person’s opinion. The same person that made you to be exactly the way that you are…GOD.
We as humans, are hard-wired to feel like we belong, and this feeling isn’t placed inside our hearts on accident. What gets screwed up is who we feel we need to belong to. We get caught up in the world’s view of who we should be, that we forget who we were made to be. God created each and every one of us different. Did you hear that? I will say it again in case you missed it. He created all of us to be DIFFERENT from each other! Yet the world is consistently telling us to be the same. What to wear, where to live, what brands to like, where to shop, because it will make you “cool”. We forget to ask, “By whose standards?” Most of us are guilty of buying something that was so hideous that we forced ourselves to like it because it was “in” this season. Yeah, I’m talking about that hideous puke colored purse that was highlighted on Vogue’s runway, and those mini butterfly clips for grown woman’s hair, or maybe saggy pants & wallet chains are ringing a bell? How about we go a little darker and throw some light on the glorious “Mullet” (yep, I went there). I mean COME ON! The mullet? “All business up front and a party in the back.” We even created a slogan to try to sell it. When will it all end? Please! FIX IT JESUS. You would think living through these nightmares would give us a wake-up call but then comes a new day and a new ridiculous thing that make us into sheep again, screaming “Look! We fit in!” Except it doesn’t work, we still feel empty because we are becoming sheep to the wrong shepherd.
Okay, so now that we covered all this, and your sitting there in your living room, wearing your shoulder-padded blouse and matching scrunchie, watching Hunger Games, eating your cronut and drinking your pumpkin spice latte, thinking what your next move should be, I’m here to bring you the answer. Ready? It’s… be yourself. That’s right peeps. It’s that simple. God designed you to be (Insert your name) and no one else. We forget to stop and remember that God created us to be exactly who HE wants us to be. To live out HIS plan for us. Those brown eyes you have, the one’s you cover with blue contacts, HE picked purposely for you and someone might be out there searching for those eyes to love. Those freckles, HE placed on your cheeks, that you work so hard to cover, might remind a new co-worker of her mother’s freckled face, bringing her comfort in a new place. That shirt of the band you love, might make you a life-long friend at college because another student decides to strike up a conversation with you because it’s her favorite band too. It is ALL connected and when you pretend to be something you aren’t, you are masking all the beauty that God put in you. Those quirks that make you who you are, are not accidents. They were intentionally put there to draw friends, spouses, employers to you. To push and pull you through life and towards His plan for you. He needs you to have a certain look, taste in music, a certain sense of humor to find your people, your place in this world and ultimately His path for your life. When people try to define you according to their own standards and leave you feeling empty, move on. These are not your people. Not everyone is going to like you and that’s okay. Never take that as a sign that you are less than the truly amazing person God created you to be. God does not make mistakes. People do. When you cross the path of someone who makes you feel inadequate or unwelcome, shake the dirt off your shoes and move on. Wish them well but know that your heart is guiding you away from them and back onto Your path. Those people weren’t your story and while it may feel hurtful and embarrassing at the time, it has nothing to do with your worth. It’s a redirection. God made every single one of us. Every. Single. Person. The fact that you are here, living and breathing, proves your worth. If God purposely made you and felt you needed to be here, at this time in history, then I think that should speak louder than the people who try to push you into a corner. Just be your true, honest self and don’t worry about what people think of you. Wear that mullet like a rockstar if that’s your jam, watch those dog shaming videos that crack you up, snort loudly when you laugh. Embrace every beautiful part of you and if someone ever makes you feel less than great, remember that God made you perfectly in HIS image, not theirs. You need to come out of that corner they pushed you in and onto the center stage and look them straight in the eye and say I am enough. And if the mood strikes you, you can also add that, “NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER!”. Patrick Swayze said so.