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4 min Read
Published January 21, 2014

The Art of Being You: 4 Steps to Finding Your True Self

During my daily routine applying my makeup one morning, I suddenly realized the reflection I saw looking back at me was not someone that I immediately recognized. Analyzing at all the aspects of my mirror image, I asked that girl in the mirror, “Who are you? Where did those crow’s feet come from? What is up with this muffin top you are sporting?”

But wait a minute–this is not the first time we’ve crossed paths! I have seen a younger version of this girl in the mirror before. In fact, she’s been bugging me for years with all her imperfections. Where did those insecurities come from? How much of my reflection is truly me? How much is the illusion of what others have convinced me that I should be? I’m tired of carrying this load of insecurity. I mean, what idiot decided that a woman, or any other person should look a certain way in order to fit into a certain standard? Who made them King of Standards?

Who decided that being thin and tan was acceptable and being voluptuous and pale was unacceptable? The world is so diverse and full of beautiful different types of people from different backgrounds and cultures. If the whole world were all the same and we all dressed the same way, looked the same way, ate the same way, maybe it would seem like a perfect world to you at first. But looking at the bigger picture of things, there would be no reason for diversity, no thought process for new ideas, no inventions, no expansion of being the best that we can be. We would just exist.

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And how would we expand our minds and the world to make it a better place to live in if there was no stimulation from our surroundings? There would be no reason for creativity, no art, no music, just a world of nothingness. I had to make a conscious decision to change my way of thinking and stop comparing myself to what others think is beautiful. I had to reach from within to allow myself the freedom to make my own decisions, have creative new ideas, and learn from others that are different from me.

I love being different. I love not being “normal.” I love that I don’t look the same as everyone else! I love that I can be creative and have thoughts and ideas that are unique to this world. It’s who I am and who God wants me to be! I accept all the flaws that I don’t like about myself and only focus on the things that I do love about myself.

All my imperfections are perfect just as they are. Who is anyone to tell me any different?

I worried about what I ate to stay a certain weight. I worried about feeling fat and unattractive. I worried so much about myself all the time, that when I did go out to have some fun, I could not enjoy myself because I was too busy comparing myself to everybody else. How stupid is that? Enough of this insanity! How can I fulfill my true purpose in life if I’m focused on little things like that? So I decided to make a change. With conscious awareness, I decided the person in the mirror does not reflect my true self, my true worthiness, my inner beauty, and everything within that makes who I am. I had to retrain my brain and my perception of how I see myself.


1. Re-program Your Negative Self-Image

Make a list of all the things you don’t like about yourself. Then make a list of all the things you do like about yourself. Take the list of all your “flaws” and rip it up! With each rip, say to yourself “You No Longer Exist” and throw those pieces of paper in the trash can, burn them, or whatever you need to do release those insecurities. And then say to yourself, “From this day forward, this list of things I love about myself is all I see and all I’m going to focus on.” Tape those beautiful, wonderful things that you love about yourself to that same mirror you look at every morning when you’re getting ready for the day. And after seeing that list everyday and reminding yourself of just how beautiful, wonderful, and unique in every way that you really are, you will not need to see that list everyday. You will just feel it!

You’re basically re-programming those negative thoughts and feelings into positive affirmations of who you truly are. All those negative thoughts are liars! Don’t listen to them. Remove your fears of being unworthy and not good enough–if you were unworthy, then you would not be here in the first place! God is nothing but pure energy of love, and you were born from that source.

I don’t think God’s intention when he created us was to put us on this earth to live a miserable life and feel terrible about ourselves all the time.

What kind of life is that? How could a God so loving and merciful subject his creations to that kind of life? But it is your choice. It takes so much more energy to be unhappy than to be happy. Acceptance of yourself is the key. Once you accept yourself and all that you are, then others will feel that love for yourself and you can give a little of that love to others. It will take some time and practice, and you will have to face some major issues you’ve had with yourself for a long time. You can’t be truly loving to others until you truly love yourself.


2. Attract Healthy, Empowering Relationships

Someone once told me that your relationships are only as good as your self esteem. If you don’t love yourself and accept yourself for who you are, then unfortunately you are going to attract people in your life that will feed off of that low self-esteem energy. It makes you easy prey and a target for manipulators and dominant personalities. You’ve heard that old saying “misery loves company”? Stop being miserable and start being happy and joyful. Eventually those negative people in your life will just fade away because your positive feelings are contrasting against their negative feelings. If you have a lot of garbage and trashy relationships that make you feel demeaned or unappreciated, like you can never measure up, then those relationships do not allow you to be who you truly are. Throw the trash out!

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Get rid of the garbage that is making you feel sick and putrid about yourself. When you feel good about yourself and love yourself for who you are, you will attract people who will give you that same respect in return. Relationships should make you feel special, wanted, and loved–whether it’s with friends, a lover, a spouse, or family members. So think about what the perfect relationship is for you. If any of these people do not measure up to your standards, then sweep them out the door.

And here’s a secret that I learned on this journey; Most people who constantly put others down usually are not happy with themselves.

So they put others down to try and make themselves feel better. Just because someone is unhappy in their own lives, doesn’t mean you have to be the garbage dump for them to drop off their rubbish of frustrations. Think of it like moving into a new home. When you move to a new place, do you take your garbage with you? No, you throw it out! You have to clean up the garbage in your life before you can attract and make new healthy relationships.


3. Indulge Your Creativity

We are all born from the Master of All Creation! God is our creator and just as you inherit traits from your parents, you also inherit traits from God. We all have the light of God within us. God is the master of art and creation. Just look at the beautiful planet he created for us to live on. It’s beyond magnificent. We all have a piece of that creativity. It could be art, writing, music, whatever sparks something inside you that makes you feel good and joyous! Find something that you enjoy and make time for it every week. We can not discover who we truly are until we discover what creative talents each of us has.

I firmly believe that art of creating is aligned with meditation.

I get the most amazing ideas and thoughts when I’m creating new designs for my art or listening to music. There’s so much to discover out there!

Try things you always wanted to do and never tried! Just make time for yourself every week. This step is so important. When you make time for yourself, you are telling yourself that you are worth the time, that you deserve fun, and that you deserve to do the things in life that make you happy and joyous. You are giving yourself a gift and the gift is you! I’m not saying it has to be an art class, it could be as simple as taking a walk, learning to knit, writing poetry, or just reading a book. I know the excuses we all tell ourselves – family, job, and a list of never ending things to do. But if you’re not happy then others around you are not happy. There is an old saying: “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy.” So give yourself some “me-time.” Show yourself some appreciation for all the things you do. You will never find the kind of appreciation you’re looking for from others. You have to look within yourself. It’s all about loving yourself. Happiness truly does come from within.


4. Prioritize Your Own Needs

Transitioning from someone you’ve been comfortable living with is not an easy task. It was hard to let go of old habits and negative thoughts. When I was in my teens, the world was my oyster. I had so many possibilities ahead of me. I had dreams and aspirations of what I wanted to be when I grew up. But as time went by, I made some crappy decisions, lived my life the way everybody else expected me to live, and chose my path based on what others wanted me to do. Although they meant well, it wasn’t the life they were living. It was my life, and even though I was doing everything right that made everybody else happy, I wasn’t happy. In fact, I was miserable, stressed out, and exhausted with trying to be perfect. Now don’t get me wrong: Giving to others can be good if it’s because you want to give. But it is not good if you’re giving because that’s what others expect from you. After a while it becomes so expected you end up getting taken advantage of and before you know it, you’re every body’s doormat. You have to learn to be a little selfish. Yes, that’s right, selfish. How can you be of service to others, when you can’t be a service to yourself. Set boundaries and learn to say no sometimes. You’ll never be able to make everybody happy all the time no matter how hard you try. It’s that simple. Believe me, I’ve tried. You have to make yourself a priority. By doing this, it helps you re-discover all the wonderful things you missed about yourself and discover new things you never knew about yourself.

I am writing all these steps from experience. I have to be honest with you. The steps for me to accomplish the art of being true to myself and loving all of me just as I am was not easy. It took me a good three years to figure things out and head in the direction that gave me happiness and joy. Although it was difficult at first, it was and is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and the rewards outweighed the hardships ten fold! Just take it one day at a time and always focus on the light at the end of the tunnel.

I will admit, I felt sometimes there was no light, no hope, and I went through some depression and a lot of tissues. But looking back, I think that was my soul’s way of letting go and releasing all that tension and anxiety I had accumulated over the years.

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The first time I sat down to write a list of all the things that I wanted out of life, I couldn’t think of anything. I didn’t know what I wanted. I had been giving and giving and giving to others for so long, I lost myself along the way. So I went back to my childhood and remembered all those dreams and aspirations I had. I have to be reasonable here, because the job title “Wonder Woman” is a little out of reach at the moment. But it was the feeling that I had during that time I was imagining all those wishes and dreams. That warm fuzzy feeling of excitement and aspirations that I can do and be anything I want. Once I remembered those feelings, then I began to think of the present and what things could I introduce into my life now that would give me that same feeling.

It took some time, but I did eventually find myself again and frankly now I don’t care what others think about me or worry about how I look or do I fit in with the criteria. I’m free to do and feel whatever I feel and today I have to admit, it feels great to be me again!

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  • Hope Thompson


  • Trying to educate the world one SLICE OF HISTORY at a time! Hope Thompson is a freelance journalist focused on hidden history, Southern & Appalachian folklife, and Native American culture. She is a native of North Carolina and has been writing for this space for four years. She currently works in state government finance and owns a graphic design business. All my articles.

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