This is part of Jen's Self-Esteem Carnival. Check it out.
The past year has been a crazy mess. I came home from school in January not really knowing what I would do. I worked for a while as a temp hating it the whole way, forced myself to go to church with people I believed I had no interest in knowing, and felt like a huge loser the whole time because the situation was entirely my fault.
What is it about people that makes it so much easier for us to see the amazingness in other people but not in ourselves? I look at each of my friends and I can give a list of reasons I like being around them for each and everyone of them, but when I think about myself I always shake my head and wonder, "why do they like hanging out with me?" It always boggled my mind.
With the media pushing all the physical expectations of women, we are to be gorgeous, skinny, with perfect hair, and clear skin, it's no wonder I see people falling into the trap of believing that they are only worth what their bodies can get them. I find myself talking to some of my girl friends, telling them that they deserve better that some guy that's just after some action, they deserve to be loved for who they really are. I've never believed myself to be the drop-dead gorgeous person that society expects all women to be, but I don't need to believe that to feel good about myself.
Over the last year I've found some things about myself that I hope I will remember for the rest of my life. I don't need a boy to be happy. I don't have to hate my job, I just had to find something that I enjoy doing. I can survive without one of my best friends being close by. People telling me I'm beautiful has never made me feel better about myself, but someone telling me I have "an awesome personality" does. Ditto for hearing that I have the biggest smile they've ever seen, and for people asking me if I'm ever afraid my "funny will break" because I laugh so much.
I think I used to be a crazy outgoing person, and I don't really know where this quiet person I've seen lately came from. I remember those share-something-about-your-neighbor games in Sunday School, and I remember people saying I was the person always smiling, or laughing or whatever. I think I lost that person for a while. But guess what? I think she's back.
After all, what really matters isn't what other people see when they look at us, it's what we see when we look inside ourselves. I'm happy because I've finally been able to start seeing in myself what other people have been seeing all along. And I am AWESOME.