Have you ever encountered people who pass judgement or criticize you when they do not really know who you are? Lots of times people are judged by their physical appearance or social status. Think about high school (if in it now or once was), it can be quite challenging with the types of criticisms you may hear. Those same people who critique thou go through additional personal growth or life experiences, and will realize their shit stinks as much as everybody else’s. Also, at a young age, you will hear and feel words with great emotional impact. As you get older, those same words will not mean the same, and those same words become easier to tolerate. They may still hurt, but it will be different – trust me on this one. Working with others, trying to have better lawns that your neighbor, have smarter kids, or maybe you have a medical condition – folks will pass judgement to give themselves more security.
What I’ve learned so far with life is I cannot change the people who I encounter, nor can I change those who simply want to break my spirit. Since you cannot really change their words, it is up to the individual (YOU) to decide how to let others make us feel and shape who you are.
But people are not the only things in this world that can shape you…
So after receiving my diagnosis at 16 years old, I remember thinking to myself
Crap, my life is over
I am going to be such a burden, I might as well help everybody out and fix that problem…
Luckily, I had decided early on that my life was really NOT over with. Instead I was determined I could and would provide things to this world. At first, I approached my condition with the the attitude of, “I don’t need to tell others, because I am not going to let this diagnosis define me… I will define myself.” Don’t be fooled though. For the most part, I still do not tell people right off about my condition because of the amount of ignorance and stigma behind the condition, but I am continually getting better at sharing my story because people will stay ignorant unless you share your side of things, and will continue to make bad assumptions.
What I didn’t realize though, by me “not letting my condition define myself” (i.e., denying I even had a condition) so strongly, I ended up defining a portion of my life and who I was. Don’t let this be you though. Simply be yourself, and don’t fight your imperfections. Instead embrace and own those flaws, and show others your courage to embrace your flaws and imperfections with confidence.
Today I leave you thinking – how will you define yourself?
Will you let others lead the way and do it for you, or will you embrace yourself and take control?