Recently I had a sweet friend pay me a compliment. She told me that she felt comfortable in her own skin around me, because I seemed to feel comfortable in my own skin.
There was a time that I wasn’t this way at all, there was a time I couldn’t stand my own skin. I was riddled with insecurity, full of shame, and tried so hard to cover it all up with a pretty smile and perfect exterior. That was a tough place to be. But the thing that struck me the most, is even though I remember that time and feeling so well, I’m not sure when I grew past it. But I did. And it’s true: As I have learned to love myself better, I have learned to love other people better, too.
Sometime over the last ten years of adulthood, I have grown into myself. I have settled into myself as a mother, and that has helped me settle into myself as a woman. I appreciate myself. I love myself. I love the life I’ve made, and I’m so proud of myself for it, because even I had doubted me. And I don’t say this in a boastful way, because I’m not boastful. But I have been on this ride of life with myself and it hasn’t always been easy. I have steered myself out of some tough times, and I have made the best of each decision I’ve made. My life is very different now that it was those years ago, and I’m happy for me for that.
I have learned that it’s okay for my opinions to change from time to time, that it’s a sign of growth. I know better now that I don’t want to be ignorant, or intolerant of something I can’t understand, because one day I just might understand it. I can choose compassion over judgement when I can’t relate. I can look at my own different hardships when I see someone else’s. I can choose to love people over opinions.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to be where I’m at spiritually. Because it’s really not about the destination to get to a wonderful place with God, it’s about being in a relationship with God, and learning and growing along him each day. Some days that looks good and peaceful, other days that looks resentful and weary, but each day brings with it learning, and a new day does dawn.
I have seen and felt the capabilities of my body. I have seen it run, and dance, and serve, and carry, and mourn, and labor, and give, and grow, and shrink, and grow, and shrink, and soften, and age, and feel. This body amazes me. This body is healthy, and strong, and capable and I am so grateful.
I am glad I have been able to experience the woman in me being as loved as I have. I have seen myself grow, and open up, and become as I have been safely and deeply loved by the man I love. It has been astounding to me what that love has done for my life. I don’t take it for granted.
I have learned that I am in charge of my own happiness. I am in charge of pushing past hard times, making changes that are necessary, prioritizing myself and my own well being. I have seen in difficult times that happiness is a choice, even when it seems just out of reach. If you start walking toward happiness, you will find it. I have prioritized happiness in my life, and that has proven to be a really great choice.
I don’t by any means have it all figured out, but I’ve lived a lot of life in my nearly 28 years, and I am grateful for the journey. Because from where I’m standing now, I can love people in a much better way. I can feel comfortable in my own skin, and love them just as they are, in their own skin.