From time to time — usually in the midst of some kind of personal quest for self-improvement… maybe it’s more of a personal quest for affirmation? — I ask my (very handsome) sweetheart two questions: one. What is your favorite quality about me? two. What is one thing that you would change?  The answer to the first one takes many shapes — I’m blessed with a partner who can see me from different sides, always finding something to love.  But the answer to my second question — slightly fragile and achingly vulnerable, as it is — always looks the same. I wish you could know how wonderful you are. Stop being so hard on yourself. Trust yourself, babe.

Trust yourself, babe.

Why is it that our first instinct is to seek to be something else, something more than we are presently?  The term “self-improvement” suggests that there is something innately flawed about us… some lack that we must tweak, fix, spackle and neatly paint over to be a better version than who we are right now.  We look to outside sources to determine our weaknesses.  We park ourselves in the self-help section of our local bookstore, sadly stare at photos in magazines, read articles that promise that they have the answer for what we’re missing — it’s just going to take losing the last ten pounds, or finding your inner seductress, becoming what he craves, dressing for your body type.  We compare ourselves with the neighbor, or the neighboring cubicle-mate.  Believing that once we isolate those holes and scratches and gouges, smoothing out the rough spots, we will be whole, flawless, able to be more, do more, make more.  It’s exhausting. Heartbreaking, even.

The constant seeking has left me tear-streaked and wearied, wrapped around myself in the fetal position.  Weakened from the search for something outside myself to fix what I thought was cracked, peeling, in need of a touch-up.

Screw it. Just stop it. Trust yourself, babe.

Whatever you’re searching for — the deepest desires of your heart, whether it’s a life-giving relationship, a job that you love, a place to call home, or a life of adventure, travel, exploration — you’ve already got the answers.  I don’t mean that it doesn’t take work, the gritty stuff of self-discovery, mindful exploration and honest reflection. It’s already there, the path to a seriously mind-blowing and fulfilling life, in whatever way you envision it. But it takes you — not an article in Cosmo or the newest fad diet — to get there.

 The world doesn’t need another cookie cutter.  It needs you. Showing up in all your authentic glory — cracked and patched up, edges and all. It might be a little messy, you might not be dressed “right.”  But inner alignment – the meeting of who you are with who you want to be, do and create in the world – doesn’t always look pretty from the outside. Hell, you might even piss a few people off.  As the ever-amazing Danielle LaPorte says“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy.  If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.”

Inevitably, when the true you meets the world, some serious beauty will unfurl. You’ll fall in love with people you meet on the street, encounter opportunity to do your life’s work, find “home” in unexpected places and live adventurously or peacefully or electrically… whatever it is that you most deeply desire.

Trust yourself, babe. You’re good.

Kate McCarthyComment