For a lot of my life, I let other people’s opinions of myself define who I was. I think a lot of people do this to some extent. It’s normal to be curious of what other’s think of you and wonder if it’s true or not. But at one point in my life, I was so unsure with myself that I literally defined myself by how other’s perceived me. I had to look to other’s to confirm that I was lovable and worthy and deserving. And it made me unsure of who I really was, what I really liked and enjoyed and how I really felt about things.
Looking back on this now, I feel sad for the girl I used to be. I wish I could tell her that I didn’t need others people approval and that I should embrace and be ok with all the things that make me unique. Everyone is unique in one way or another. So why did I try to adapt myself to whoever I was hanging out with? Why did I think that was the key to being likable? The truth is – even if someone did tell my 13 year old insecure self what I now know, it wouldn’t of made a difference. I’m stubborn, and the only way for me to believe something is for me to truly experience it myself. So in a weird way, along with feeling sad for who I used to be, I also feel proud of myself in the sense that I was able to grow stronger and change how I once thought.
The worst would be when someone would refer to me as quiet. Whether or not they meant it in an offensive way – it would hurt. Being called quiet when I tried so hard not to be, felt like failing. It felt like an exposed flaw. An open wound. I didn’t realize that the reason it hurt my feelings so much was my own fault. I reflected my own, false definition of the word quiet onto myself. For whatever reason, I assumed that quiet people were weak and insecure. Which is obviously so, incredibly wrong. So it makes sense that I would automatically assume that every person who called me quiet was implying I was weak or insecure. Well, first of all, that definition I had of quiet couldn’t be further from the truth. And second of all, yeah, I can be quiet at first, but I definitely am not quiet when you get to know me. I’ll admit, I definitely used to be a lot more reserved when I was younger, but I am not that person anymore. I found my own voice and taught myself to accept who I was and flaunt it, instead of try and cover it up. No one has the power to define who you are, except for yourself.
When I learnt to accept and love myself, I was able to be exactly who I am around everyone. And thankfully, this is the point I am at now. There is nothing wrong with being called quiet. Even if someone were to call me that now, I wouldn’t believe it. Instead I would just assume that the person doesn’t know me well enough yet, and that’s totally ok. Now that I think about it, I can’t even remember the last time someone said that to me.
I remember when I went to my first therapy session in July, I introducing myself by saying I was quiet and by the end of the session, my therapist said that she definitely did not agree and didn’t understand why I thought that about myself. That was definitely a moment of realization on how far I have come. That word does not define me anymore. You can think it all you want, but that doesn’t mean it’s how I see myself. I have found my voice. I stand up for myself now. I have boundaries. I know what I deserve and I won’t settle for any less. I have my own opinions on things. I like what I like, and I dislike what I dislike.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that you should never let anyone else’s opinion of who you are define yourself. You are okay being exactly who you are. Everyone is deserving and worthy. What someone says about you says more about themselves more than anything. Opinions are opinions. Does your opinion of someone change who they are? Nope. You can’t control other people’s opinions and everyone is definitely entitled to have one. However, you can control how you react to their opinions.. and that should simply be to not let them affect or change your perception of yourself. A year ago, I would never of been able to admit this. But I’ve changed. I’m not afraid of telling my story anymore because one, it’s in the past, and two, it’s made me who I am today. It’s part of my story. And I know everyone reading this will relate in one way or another.