There's a beautiful peace that comes with knowing yourself.
It's one of the coolest surprises that age brings—this ability to discern what can change and grow within you and what is hardwired in your DNA. Understanding this distinction is incredibly helpful in discovering where you can have an impact in the world, how you can contribute to others' growth.
The most amazing thing about getting older is the deepening understanding of who you are and the peacefulness that accompanies it. You come to realize your unique gifts, talents, and purpose. You start to understand why you were put on this earth and what you have to offer. Simultaneously, you become aware of the areas where you won't excel or have an innate ability. It's an incredible realization.
As we journey through confronting our things, there is a gift awaiting us on the other side—self-acceptance. I know that fear will always be a part of my life. It will always try to take hold of my mind, body, and decisions. But over time, as I grow stronger and employ the right tools, fear's influence diminishes. It becomes like a seedling that receives less and less nourishment.
With each passing day, I gain more evidence that my talents have purpose in the world. I experience the support and love of those around me. As I speak about my struggles, I find others who relate, and together we normalize these battles. This diminishing seedling of fear receives less sunlight, less nutrition, and less ability to grow. It's still there, part of who I am, but I've learned how to restrict its power.
Recently, I was cleaning my home office, which had turned into a cluttered mess during the pandemic. As I sorted through old journals, I stumbled upon entries from my younger years. It saddened me to see a recurring theme—constantly beating myself up over a lack of discipline. I would meticulously plan my workouts, setting specific schedules for each day. But if I deviated from the plan even slightly, I would mentally berate myself, convinced I was a failure.
Looking back, I wish I could tell my 19-year-old self that, at 42, I still fail every single time I attempt such rigid plans. I've come to accept that I function better within a flexible system. For instance, instead of specific daily goals, I aim to move my body a total of 15 miles each week. I can run three miles on five mornings or do a longer run on Saturdays. This approach allows for creativity, flexibility, and being present—qualities that align with how I'm wired. It leads to greater success for me.
When we truly know ourselves and accept who we are, without judgment, it brings an understanding of our strengths and limitations. Personally, I'm drawn to highly disciplined and accountable individuals. I admire their ability to commit and execute flawlessly. However, I've come to realize that I'm not like them. I'm not a perfectionist. And that's okay.
I appreciate their qualities and learn from them, but I've learned not to force myself into their mold. Trying to be rigid and perfectionistic feels constricting to me. It doesn't align with who I am. I've accepted that I'm wired differently, and that self-acceptance allows me to thrive.
As you embark on your journey of self-acceptance, I want to encourage you. Look at yourself with a loving and excited perspective. Recognize your gifts and talents. Be kind to yourself in areas where you're still a work in progress, because we all are. It's like the analogy of health and fitness—there are various approaches to achieving a healthy life, and what works for one person may not work for another. Find the tools and methods that align with who you are, and you'll find success.
I'm excited for you and the path of self-discovery and acceptance you're on. Continue to work towards understanding who you are, appreciating your unique qualities, and extending grace and compassion to yourself.
Remember, we're all a work in progress, and that's what makes us beautifully human.
Embrace the peace that comes with knowing yourself, and let it guide you towards a life filled with purpose, authenticity, and fulfillment.
You have the power to make an impact in the world by being true to who you are. Embrace your journey of self-acceptance, and let the peace within shine brightly.