I went through life feeling misunderstood.

It caused me to shut people out, keep things to myself, and constantly try to prove that I’m “good enough.”

It felt like if I could just fake being perfect, then I could be who everyone wanted me to be. The only problem was it was hard to not make mistakes. So I decided to become a perfectionist at not being perfect. Make mistakes, but hide them from others. Hold it all in. Be vulnerable only in ways that were comfortable. 

For a while, I didn’t recognize that I was doing this. I thought I was being open, honest, real. Until I recognized that I wasn’t telling people the full truth. Just the pieces that kept me blending in. 

Counseling allowed me to become aware of this pattern. It allowed me to recognize that I have the power to change what I believe about my life and who I am. I don’t have to hide anything or feel less than. That’s an old coping mechanism that no longer serves me.

Sometimes we go through life and get so caught up in protecting ourselves that we miss out on the good things.

We show up in the ways that other people seem to find “good enough” and then we fall short because we aren’t being authentic to who we actually are.

Want to find your people? You never will unless you own who you are at the core.

Faking it ’til I made it led me to a place that didn’t feel like me. It looked good to everyone else, but it felt like I was living someone else’s life.

The truest version of me is a victim of abuse. The truest version of me spins everything to be positive to ensure that no one ever feels as horrible as I did.

That’s the real me. But you can only see the parts of me I put forward.

The positive one will tell you that life led her exactly where she needed to be. The honest one will tell you that she’s not sure how to put her struggles into words. The confused one is unclear whether telling everyone her struggles is worth it.

But the whole, real, raw version of me KNOWS that I’m worth opening up. That constant shame and constant optimism were a mask and a cover up, and that the real me is somewhere in between those things.

I don’t have to be a victim anymore. I’m 28-years-old and I can live this life from a place of self-love and honesty. There will be good days and bad days, but the true me is worth showing up for. 

The true you is worth showing up for. Your experiences don’t define who you are, but your wisdom from those experiences does. Your value never, ever changes. You get to do good things in life and be exactly who you are. You get to make mistakes and it doesn’t make you any less valued.

Get to know the real you and retrain your brain to know how valuable you are and always will be.

You are never alone. Choose yourself every time.

You can find a counselor near you at psychologytoday.com.

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