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When We Love and Accept Ourselves, the World Fits Around Us

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“If you feel like you don’t fit in in this world, it is because you are here to help create a new one.” ~Jocelyn Daher

Since I can remember, I never felt comfortable in my skin. I would watch everyone else, and it seemed as though they knew exactly how to be themselves. Even as a toddler I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t like everybody else. From those earliest memories I thought something was wrong with me if I didn’t feel, understand, or think the same as someone else.

My insecurities started young and grew as I got older. I would observe the other kids at school; they had interests, hobbies, and seemed to know who they were. I wanted to fit in so badly that I began to morph into whatever I thought I needed to be to belong.

I would see someone and want what they had. It didn’t matter if it was clothes, shoes, or musical interests. I thought their happiness came from the life they lived, and I wanted so badly to be happy.

I grew up poor, in a single parent home. I was overweight, and other kids bullied me daily. I told myself this was why I didn’t have hobbies: My mom couldn’t afford to put me in classes, and I couldn’t play sports because I was fat. This was partially true, but it was also true that I didn’t like sports and never wanted to play them.

I just longed to fit in to a group, any group, and it was easier to make excuses for who I wasn’t than to admit that I didn’t fit in anywhere. I’ve always been a people pleaser, and I wanted everyone to love me. I craved love so strongly because there wasn’t any inside of me.

The façade would constantly blow up in my face, and I’d get called out for not knowing things I acted as though I knew. There was always someone skinnier, smarter, and better than me at things. I needed to be the best at everything to feel good enough. You can imagine how often I felt unworthy.

The issue was that I wasn’t looking inside of myself to find out what I enjoyed. I wasn’t following my heart. Instead, I used that energy to watch and mimic other kids. I constantly compared myself to others and saw only where I was lacking.

It didn’t get easier as I headed to high school and into adulthood. I was still trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be and fighting who I really was.

The further I pushed my feelings down, the more my social anxiety took a hold of me. Living a lie made me feel constantly on guard; it was exhausting thinking that at any moment I could be called out for being phony.

Because I never allowed myself to be who I really was, I felt more alone than ever. Nobody understood me, and I didn’t think anyone really loved me. How could they? They didn’t even know me. Heck, I didn’t even know myself.

The hole inside kept getting bigger, and by thirteen years old I started filling it with drugs and alcohol. I spent the next twenty years of my life using my addiction to numb the feelings of loneliness and fear, a fear that I wouldn’t be accepted if I wasn’t what others expected.

I attracted men who didn’t care about me because I didn’t care about myself. I got taken advantage of in so many relationships, including my career, because I didn’t think I was worthy of respect. I took what I would get, and I was getting what I was giving. My world was responding to who I believed I was.

It wasn’t until I found sobriety in a fellowship and started my spiritual journey that I began to love myself for the first time in my life. I removed alcohol, and what was left was emptiness. I had a lot of space to fill (that hole in my heart was thirty-six years big), and I got to work.

I started meditating and looking inside myself instead of looking for acceptance from others.

I stopped observing other people and looked at my part in every situation that brought me anger, sadness, or anxiety.

I worked on cleaning out all the resentments I had built over the years and forgiving the people who had hurt me.

Most importantly, I forgave myself for not believing I was worthy.

I learned that nothing anyone does or says about me has anything to do with me. They’re acting out their own feelings based on the perceptions they’ve obtained through their own life experiences. I learned to let go and breathe.

For the first time in my life I felt comfortable being me. Through practicing self-love, I was able to spread true, unconditional love to others, and it started to come back, twofold. The relationships and people I attracted in my life were different. They were more meaningful and loving because they were meant for me.

Everything I do today has feeling behind it. I no longer have to defend myself because I live with integrity. I know my intentions, and I’m able to see that we’re all living our own battles. When I started to see things with compassionate glasses, I realized how my experiences could help others.

I also learned that I do have interests! I like to read, write, and hike. I love meditation and helping others. By stuffing who I was inside, I was keeping the world from an amazing human being with so much to give.

My people-pleasing character defect turned into an asset—instead of needing love and approval, now I love hard. I give my heart without conditions and expectations. I no longer live in fear that people won’t like me. I’ve attracted people who love me for who I am, because that’s who they see.

The more I accepted myself, the more I started to realize I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one who felt like they would never find their place in this world.

It had taken me thirty-six years to realize that so many people are dealing with social anxiety and feel unworthy. I know I’m not the only one who was living a life they believe someone else wanted for them. So many of us are lacking the self-love to show the world who we really are.

Not everyone understands me, but that’s okay! I no longer feel the need for everyone to like me. I don’t crave love and acceptance because it’s already in me. I’m full of it. It pours out to the people around me. It’s like one of those self-powered waterfalls. It flows to everything and everyone around me, and then comes right back around.

I finally realized that as long as I accept myself (whoever “I” am), everything that was meant for me would come into my life.

The most important thing I’ve learned so far on this beautiful journey of life is to follow my heart, to listen and pay attention to what my body is telling me.

If something makes me unhappy, I investigate why and remove myself from that situation. Likewise, if something makes me feel good, I pay attention and gravitate toward that.

I believe we’re all born with innate gifts and talents that allow us to help each other grow. When we do what feels right, we find out what those talents are.

I no longer compare myself to others. Instead, when I’m unhappy, I look at my part in the situation and what I need to do to change it. I ask myself what I can do to be a kinder, more compassionate person. Every perceived win and loss is an opportunity to share our experience with someone else later.

Whether you want to find your life purpose, or just be happy and fulfilled, you don’t have to go searching. It’s already in you. Just get in tune with your inner self and watch yourself blossom.

Notice what brings you joy or anxiety and adjust your path accordingly. Finding happiness really is that simple; we, as humans, make it difficult.

Being yourself is the greatest gift you can give this world because you never know when someone might need the real you.

We don’t have to “fit in.” We just have to follow our hearts and love unconditionally. When we do that, the world fits around us.

Profile photo of Dawn Turner

About Dawn Turner

Dawn Turner is a writer, self-love activist and recovered alcoholic. She has a passion for helping others become their best selves through sharing her experience, strength and hope. You can find her on her blog at BestPartofDay.com and through her writing at Medium.com.

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  • Raunak Vashisht

    what an amazing write-up Dawn …thank you :))

  • Kat Seekatz

    I love the morning’s brightness. I am grateful for breath.

  • nigeria

    Beautiful post! This resonated with me sooooooo much. I had tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for this. It really opened my eyes. I am on a journey for self love myself. Thank you. thank you and may the universe continue to bless you 🙂

  • Thank YOU! Its a blessing to be able to get honest with myself and share that with others.

  • It’s a beautiful journey for sure and you’re so welcome. I’m just grateful and feel so blessed that I’m able to share my journey with others. I had tears in my eyes as I wrote it 🙂

  • Isabelle.a

    What a long and I am sure painful journey you went through. It takes incredible strength and courage to get yourself back up from everything you went through and achieve everything you have your story is really inspirational. I think we all struggles with not comparing ourselves to others but what we might not realize is that when we compare ourselves to someone, we only see the good part of their lives we might not realize the struggles they are also going through.

  • Alcira Grijalva Rocha

    This really opened my eyes, thank you so much, Godbless!

  • Iphoenix

    Thank you Dawn, I can relate to that need to belong but I no longer desire that, I belong to myself and God and everything I can do to make anyone happy is a gift not only to them but to myself.

  • Beautiful!

  • Thank you! Spreading love is what it’s all about.

  • A journey I’m grateful for. Every experience is an opportunity to help others!

  • Kathryn

    I am on this journey right now. Thank you so much for sharing yours. I printed it out to encourage me along the way. <3

  • Dean

    beautiful words keep it up!

  • Nana

    Love this post soooo much! Thank a for putting words on things I am still feeling today!

  • bigdo

    These days I often feel isolated and alone. I’m unlike the vast majority of people I meet. The thing is, I used to let that make me upset… and now I just let it be… sometimes it hurts a lil’, but I think I’m getting close to just being okay with who I am.

  • It took me a long time to learn how to love and accept myself and it is still a daily struggle. My turning point came when, as an adult, I was traveling with a group of strangers and started to change aspects of who I was in order to be more liked by everyone. As soon as I realized it, I stepped away for a few minutes to write and realized that what makes being with a group of people so special is that each person brings a different character and flavor. Once that sunk in I was able to let go of any insecurities and just be me. It was such a liberating feeling. Thanks for sharing your story! It is a reminder that this is a struggle we all go through.

  • John Romero

    This is great! As stated in Consumer Health Digest, Loving can really improve your mental well being. This article is a good read! Keep it up! 🙂

  • Ivan Schneider

    Loving yourself is for faggots.

  • ShaunTheCHB

    It’s cool that you were able to find a way to accept yourself. I honestly do not love myself and I doubt I ever will. I have a disability that makes it very hard for me to read body language and emotions. This makes it incredibly difficult for me to find friends and a romantic partner because people don’t really want to take the time to understand me, they just dismiss me as weird and strange. I wish I could be a normal person that could pick up on things like everyone else can. I hate the fact that I have this disability and would give anything to receive in my life what so many people today take for granted.

  • Lynn

    Ahhh I can totally relate! This gives me hope because I’ve done enough shadow work to realise that I attracted all the bad situations and people in my past because I didn’t feel worthy of happiness. I know now that I deserve so much better and I’ve had enough of playing small. Now…how do I begin to attract the experiences and people I really want?