"Be yourself." It's a phrase we've all heard before. I've struggled with this phrase most of my life due to insecurities and a large sum of self-doubt. I found that in moments I was myself, it seemed someone would always correct me or make me feel inferior.
"You're too nice! Stop it."
"You're being too mean. Tone it down."
"Wear more make-up, you look better that way."
"You're too fat, lose weight."
"You're too skinny, eat more."
"Change up your style. You always wear the same thing."
"Why do you listen to that kind of music?! It's boring/too intense."
And on and on and on. I was told by few to just 'sit pretty' and not say a word, which led to me becoming doubtful of the core person I was. I molded myself to fit in and tried my hardest to please others based on their requested perception of who they wanted me to be. I was a living and breathing puppet and there was point in my life where I truly lost myself. This led me to a path of self-destruction filled with self-doubt. I dumbed down who I was just to be accepted. And the worst part was that no matter what I did to "improve myself", my critics would never be satisfied. I always felt like I wasn't enough.
It wasn't until I fully accepted Jesus into my life that I finally felt confident in myself. It was a day by day experience, but after some practice and a whole lot of prayer, I realized I couldn't please everyone and it was ridiculous of me to live my life that way. I am a child of God and at the core of my being, I am who God made me to be. This includes the good and bad of myself.
I may be too this or too that, but that's who I am and I have the ability to change myself for the better on my own terms. I am not perfect, but with God's grace, I can rest in the fact that it's okay not to be perfect. I celebrate my colorful characteristics that not everyone will understand. I accept my scarred flaws, but I continue to better myself everyday. It's best to turn down the sound of judgement from the noisy crowd of critics and accept myself as the person I am, which is a creation of the Lord.
In turn, I needed to accept the fact that people will always have an opinion of the world around them, including myself. I can't be judgemental of someone else's opinion, but I can be mindful of the fact that my attention shouldn't be of this world, but of the kingdom.
One verse comes to mind when talking about turning away from being carnally minded:
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:2
I remember sitting with a friend and just venting about the hurt and pain I felt when someone made me feel like I wasn't good enough because I didn't fit it in with their worldly standards. My friend gave me the best piece of advice: Don't ever doubt yourself. Simple, but impactful.
This world will let you down, more so the judgement of others. The best thing you can do is be who God wants you to be, which is the best version of YOU. Lean into the Lord and humbly listen to his guiding spirit, not the negativity of what others say you should be. Don't let the noise of the world cloud your confidence. Stand tall and know that with God by your side, you should never doubt yourself. It is when you finally accept your inner being that you can go forth and contest to the life God has in store for you. Stay kingdom minded and most importantly, be yourself.