I had a conversation with one of my girls today regarding what people perceive about you and what you perceive about yourself; it took me back to a time where I remember thinking similarly.
For me there was a time where I would sit back and think, “God, if I walked like her, talked like her, sang like her, ran like her, looked like her, then…” I could go on and on. At that age, I could think of a long list of women out there who I wanted to be just like, as long as I didn’t have to be me. Back then being me was the last thing I wanted to do. I was constantly crippled by people’s perceptions of me. I wanted so badly to be liked, so I would follow along with trends and what the crowd was doing. But I remember my mom saying to me, “even in the crowd God set you apart.” Because even in the crowd I would say “no” to certain things. If I saw the crowd running towards a cliff I decided it was time for me to find a new crowd or a new trend.
It is interesting how crippling that can be if you never find the voice inside of you saying that there is nothing wrong with just being you.
I was presented with a question from a manager who said to me, “do you care about how you are perceived?” And to be completely honest I don’t. People are constantly going to make perceptions;. There are two things I want to make mention of that I have learned this year, that has been the foundation to me continuing to be unapologetically ME, unruled by peoples’ perceptions of me.
The first thing is a quote I saw online that sums it up perfectly:
“why do we only Rest In Peace? Why don’t we live in peace too?”
The thing that I found myself chasing after this year was peace. I wanted peace surrounding my mother’s passing, peace in my mind, peace in my heart. The definition of peace is, “a freedom from disturbance; tranquility” and that is the thing I am seeking most of all FREEDOM. I have the right, anyone reading this has the right to live a life in peace but it has to start with self. It is not my job to create peace for others, my desire is to be at peace and if some of my peace rubs off on others so be it. In the beginning of a recent relationship, he would always say that I was “his peace” and for the most part to me it was smooth-talking mumbo-jumbo but at the time peace is what I was seeking. I was at peace with being single, I was at peace with work, just at peace with life and in turn I believe that he could sense that, and a little bit of that rubbed off on him. Of course, life happens and you get off course, people piss you off but at the end of each day, even some times in the middle of my day I get somewhere alone and relax my shoulders, breathe deep and think, “I am still at peace.” A great verse about peace that I love is John 14:27:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
No matter what His peace is with us, whatever you believe there is peace on earth for us not just beyond the grave.
The second thing is, worrying about the wrong things. These past few months I set a challenge for myself to create a morning routine and stick to it. Part of my morning routine is that I read my Bible daily. I think I mentioned in a few post back that I have never read the Bible straight through in one year. A few weeks ago I was reading Luke and there is a passage in Luke 10:41-42 that states:
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one”.
What God revealed to me was that Martha, like me a lot of times was worried about the wrong things! Jesus already knew what was up, Mary knew what was up, but still there Martha was worried about the wrong things. I have noticed that often times without thinking we fall cripple to that. My mother was a worrier and she passed that along to me, it wasn’t until she became older where she slowly started leaving more things up to God and I think it was more so because she began to notice that trait in me. She wanted me to know when to worry and when not to worry. Often times it is in your best interest to be careful about the things you are worried about! Why?! The truth is that worrying about the wrong things can get you in so much trouble, your mind gets to thinking and moving around and then boom! Your thoughts are all scrambled and you are operating out of emotion rather than faith! Life is so much more simple when you operate out of faith. I believe those are the key things that are the foundation to a healthy perception of self, not spending time worrying about the wrong things (what people perceive of you) but placing that energy in operating out of faith, and seeking peace while you are living!