"We are what we believe we are." - C S Lewis
When I read these simple yet powerful words, I thought about that moment in the Bible when Jesus asked his crew of followers, "Who do people say that I am?" All the guys chimed in, sharing the this + that labels people were putting on him. Then he asks, "But who do YOU say that I am?" And bingo, Peter nails it, saying "The Messiah, the Son of God."
We all live our lives beneath labels–some good, some bad + some ugly. The he said-she said that swirls around our name tries to constantly dictate who we are, where we can go + what we're capable of. We've all been told we're too much of this + not enough of that. We've all allowed someone else's opinion of us to rule certain areas of our lives. I'm not sure why we cling so tightly to what other people think of us...maybe it's 'cause deep down we want to be loved? Crave belonging? Yearn for acceptance? Think we gotta "fit in?" But I wonder how liberating, how comforting + how empowering it would be to trade the world's labels of us for the identity given to us by the One who made us? What would life really be like if we knew the One who is pleased with us already?
So if you want to debunk the lies and crush that pesky feeling of not being good enough, here's 3 steps that'll help you care less about what people think.
1. Hunt For Habits
This is crucial and can be a bit challenging for some of us. Looking within and doing a legit inventory of self can be a difficult thing, but it's the first step toward becoming a better you. A lot of the time, we do things out of habit without even realizing it, but I challenge you to pay attention to how you act + the things you say when you're around certain people, and in time, you'll begin to identify those people-pleasin' habits that need to be nixed.
Prime example: because I was always teased about the mole on my nose, I internalized the label of "ugly" that people placed on me. But recently, I realized I have a habit of walking with my head down (typically fiddling with my phone) when I'm in large crowds or unfamiliar public places to protect myself from people teasing me–or rather, me being aware if they are. Problem is, I bought into the lie that I'm unattractive, which then led to a behavior of shrinking + hiding who I am for the sake of making other people comfy. (Unh-uh...not cool.) For you, it may be not sharing your opinion in class or in a meeting because someone made you feel stupid for having one. Or never wearing your hair natural because it wasn't "tamed" enough for the likes of some folks. What part of you do you hide, silence or suppress when you're around certain people? Identify whatever those behaviors are that are linked to lies you've believed about yourself.
2. Take on truth
Often times, the labels we put on ourselves were first placed upon us by other people. If you haven't figured it out by now that you can't please every body...well...NEWSFLASH! YOU CAN'T PLEASE EVERYBODY! Haha. The way to break one habit is to replace it with a better one, so now, it's time to dig into the truth of who you were made to be:
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. But whether you have a relationship with God or not, know this:
You are not a mistake or an accident, but are in this space + place of time for a reason.
You are truly, wildly + deeply loved.
Everything about you–from your looks + personality, your experiences + perspective, your gifts + talents, your likes + style–is part of you for a purpose.
There never has nor ever will be anyone else in the universe like you.
It's truly exhausting + a waste of your life to try working to earn the approval of people. Trade those lies for the truth of who you've been created to be.
3. Remind and Rewind
Now comes the hard part: actually livin' this stuff out! When you feel like playing small, dumbing yourself down or changing who you are to fit someone else's standard, remind yourself of the truth + own every bit of who you are in that moment! This may not be the easiest thing to do, so give yourself some grace + understand that this ain't a quick fix; it's a life-long journey. Knowing you, loving you + being you can take some time when you've been told all your life that you need to be someone else. And, you'd be surprised how many people you empower + liberate to be themselves once you get the guts to. So remind yourself constantly of the truth + live life in light of it!
I really hope this resonates with you + gives you the same courage it gave me, to dare to be you no matter what anyone has to say. Let's chat; I wanna hear from you! What lies have you believed that have been spoken about you? How have these labels affected you? Share your story in the comments below!