Dear fellow daily scholars,
I have been depressed. I have loathed myself. I have asked why people I thought were my friends make fun of me. Then I realized the relationship I had with myself was horrible. How you talk to yourself internally will affect every other relationship in your life. So how does one take control of their mindset? The answer is to take ownership, take responsibility because it is your fault.
Just as an alcoholics' anonymous sponsor might say, "The first step is to admit that you have a problem." The same step applies here. The great news about this being your fault is that you can fix it. You have the power to change this and change your life. As I always say, this is your life, your choice.
Let's start where I started. What is love? I found that defining love was tricky. I looked at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and how it had defined love.
"(1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties."
"Maternal love for a child."
"(2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers."
"After all these years, they are still very much in love."
"(3) a : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests."
"Love for his old schoolmates."
"b: an assurance of affection."
"Give her my love."
Like me, you may not have found this definition helpful. It helps define types of love, but what really is love? I spent countless hours researching this. The best description of love I could find was in the Holy Bible. You may not be a religious person but there are many great teachings within religious text of the Holy Bible. This is one of them.
1st Corinthians 13:4-8 states, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."
I wanted to try and live this way. I wanted to live through this definition of love, but how? Where do I start?
I decided to be strategic about this. I started with the first sentence, "Love is patient, love is kind." Being patient and kind to myself was a lot of work. I have always been brutally honest with myself. It was easy to critique my facial structure. Due to my cleft lip and palate disorder, my face is not symmetrical. That mixed with my speech impediment has always made me feel inadequate. I always felt ugly. I was self-conscious about this. I pulled away and withdrew. So, I asked myself, how do I be brutally honest, but also be patient and kind to myself?
The answer was simple. I needed to focus on the things that I could control. It is okay to be honest as long as it comes from a place of love. Being honest about where I was, who I was, and what I wanted helped me figure out the areas I needed to focus on so that I could grow.
I wanted to rewire my thoughts. So, I started words of affirmation in the morning. Doing this felt so weird and unauthentic at first, even though I was being honest about when I was speaking those words of affirmations to myself. I remember even thinking, as the old saying goes, fake it until you make it. I felt unauthentic, acting like I was secure, smiling, putting on like I was confident when I was not. I stayed patient with myself. I kept working on those affirmations, and I read a lot of self-help books.
After a while, I started to feel authentic again. I started gaining the self confidence that I needed. I slowly stopped having so many negative thoughts. Positivity became normal for me. After being more positive, I forgave myself for all the negativity. A lot of people in my life have said or done something mean to me. As bad as those people were, what was worse was that I believed them. I forgave myself for believing those people. I let those feelings go and once I did, was able to start making goals for myself.
I realizd that who I am and what I want, will affect where I end up at. I started this journey when I was around the age of 22. I am now 32, and 10 years later, I can tell you that I am still not where I want to be, but I know I am in the right place. I have the right mindset. I am self-confident. I love myself and I have the right people in my life.
I have realized that the destination doesn't matter as much as the journey. I am still on this journey. I have turned down opportunities that have come my way because I didn't feel they were the right opportunities to get me to where I am going. I have three simple goals. One professional goal, one personal goal, and one life goal.
People tell me that it's unwise to broadcast goals. They say that by doing that, you are inviting people to give you their opinion about your goals. I say who cares about other people's opinions? As long as you are actively working toward the goals that you are setting, then who is to tell you that you won't achieve those goals?
My professional goal is to become the greatest business operator that I possibly can be. I want the business that I operate to be organized, process oriented, people centric, and achieve high results.
My personal goal is to become the greatest person that I possibly can be. I want to be the best father, husband, and leader. I also don't want my family to have to worry every single day about finances the way I do. However, money is not a motivating factor. To me, it is just a resource, it comes, and it goes. Money is an effect and what I decide to do is the cause.
My life goal is to have built something special. I want to have made an impact in someone's life and assisted them with realizing their goals, potential, and dreams. I want to have helped at least 1 person become the best version of themselves possible.
I have broadcasted my goals; I have written how I started to love myself. It's your decision to follow in the footprints that I left behind. You may have a similar story. I challenge you to start on this path and love yourself. Not in a boastful, look at me, narcissistic way, but in a real loving way.
From your humble fellow daily scholar,