Everybody is their own worst critic. We all have voices telling us we’re not good enough or pretty enough or strong enough or smart enough. These voices of self doubt are usually wrong. Nobody is perfect, and that is OK. We are all unique and the variety of individuals makes this planet great. All of these different perspectives creates opportunities to continue learning from others. 

I’m constantly learning about myself. I am finding the me I am and the me I will grow into. One thing I’m recognizing about myself is where I see all my flaws and mistakes, other people see my strengths. Finishing my college degree was very hard. There were plenty of times I wasn’t sure I could finish. Then at some point I ignored my self doubt that told me I’d be wasting my time because there are at least a hundred people more qualified or better than me, and I applied for a scholarship. Somebody saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself and selected me as a recipient. That scholarship has turned into countless opportunities to learn and grow and eventually led me to my career. This isn’t an isolated event. I’ve had many people in my life’s journey that have shown me who I am through their lense. The lense that isn’t clouded with the voices of self doubt that live inside my head. I often times doubt myself even when being shown my worth through another unclouded lense. When my professors show me my academic qualities with my good grades, I would cloud that lense with my insecurities about my failing marriage, what good does it do to get good grades if your husband questions your fidelity? When a boss would show me my professional qualities with a raise, I would cloud that lense by questioning myself as a mother- clearly I’m too focused on work and not enough on my kids, right? It has been a long road for me to see parts of me through the lense of another. To accept compliments and to not add qualifiers in my language. They still exist. I am not perfect. But in the last year, the year since my marriage ended and I started actively looking for myself again, a huge change has happened within and I am starting to actually see it.

I was talking to someone else who struggles to see their beauty and who has a mom that sees it, and said to her something along the lines of “I wish you could see in yourself what your mom sees in you, because mom’s see our true value in ways we never will.” I was speaking more about how much value I see in my kids and how I want the world for them. For just a moment as I was saying it out loud I realized I was talking to myself as much as I was talking to her. My mom, my biggest cheerleader and the woman who has always told me how proud she is of me, how beautiful she thinks I am, etc. My mom knows my value. My mom knows what it took to create me. She knows how hard I worked at trying to keep a failing marriage together, at finishing my degree, developing my career, and at motherhood. She has seen me at my best and my worst. And if anybody knows my value, it is most definitely my mother.

Other people have definitely shown me they see my value too. Recently I’ve had someone in my life who sees my qualities and through this person I started to see them too. Because of this relationship, I realize I am worth it. I am worthy of happiness. I am worthy of affection. I am pretty enough. I am smart enough. I am nice enough. I tried to tell myself these things before, but I’m not sure I ever felt these things before. Having someone in my life who helps me see my value has given me hope for my future. For the first time in my life I don’t feel like I need to change my appearance to be worthy of a relationship. For the first time in my life I feel like whatever changes I make in my life are strictly for me, not anybody else. For the first time in my life I feel like if I don’t constantly criticize myself for my weight, it’s OK. I am who I am. There is no need to apologize to anybody for who I am and doubting myself is just those stupid voices clouding the lense. So I’ll clear off those lenses, or keep trying to see myself through the lenses other people see me through. It’s really nice to see that version of me.

~Struggling Bonnie