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Feel Like You've Got Nothing to Offer? Don't buy it.

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One of the most paralyzing things that prevent us from offering our gifts and talents is the belief that we do not have something valuable to offer.

MY STRUGGLE ...


For a long time my struggle with self-esteem was related to accepting that I was an introvert. Susan Cain explains it excellently in her TED talk called "The Power of Introverts". I was struggling to be an introvert in a world predominantly made up of extroverts. Not only were extroverts more common, but they were also more sought out. The "ideal" was to be loud and boisterous, not silent and contemplative. 

I was perpetually haunted by the feeling that I wasn’t who I was supposed to be—that there was something innately wrong with me, or with the way God made me. It led me to feelings of shame and sent me hiding. I was afraid to get attention out of fear that my 'inadequacies' might be 'found out'. 

As a result, I never offered much of myself to others. I held onto a belief that I had nothing valuable to offer; if I couldn't offer what an extrovert could offer, then I had nothing worth offering at all. Extroverted qualities were the ones on demand. The idea never came to me of offering something that wasn’t on demand—to create a new demand that people didn’t realize they needed yet. 

It felt as if everyone was on this diamond-hunting craze, and I felt diminished because I knew deep down that I was not a diamond and never would be. Diamonds were on demand. But I was a different type of precious gem. Only when I embraced who I was and wouldn’t be did I finally give myself permission to be who I was, and things felt more aligned with my God-given purpose.

So to answer many people's questions about why I only decided to blog now--it's because I was so fixed on my weaknesses that I never utilized my strengths. Although I wasn't as 'outspoken' as I wanted to be, my contemplative nature allowed me to come up with these insights regularly. All of the contents in my blog are insights that regularly pop into my head, but I never considered sharing them with anyone before , because I never saw the value in them. I was too focused on trying to fit an 'ideal mold', that I didn't offer my strengths. It was an act of unintended selfishness. 

APPARENTLY I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE ...

The words of my classmate this week really resonated with me, making me realize that I wasn't the only one struggling to accept myself as I was.

Our assignment was to create a self-portrait in which everything about its composition--the expression, pose, scenery, props, and editing--all had to speak about 'who we were'. We were to take a very introspective look at ourselves while representing ourselves to the class.

Everyone's self-portraits were truly unique and incredible in their own way, until one girl's self-portrait showed up on the projector that resembled mine. I automatically thought: OK, this girl is probably very similar to me.

That's why I was shocked when the first words that came out of her mouth when explaining her portrait were: "This photo of me is a LIE. This image shows the idealized version of myself -- the person I want to be, but am not."

She went on to describe who this 'ideal version of herself' was, and I realized that the person she  was describing sounded a lot like me. I was perplexed. I didn't understand. There she was, wishing to be like me -- contemplative, insightful, the type of person who looked inwards for strength -- while I loved that she was outspoken, simple-minded, and constantly living in the present moment. We were like two fools, each wanting qualities that the other person had, blind to our own unique, God-given beauty.

That's when I realized that this nonsense had to stop.

THE POINT?

We need to embrace ourselves wholly and completely--to stop trying to be anyone else, because otherwise the unique gifts that each of us have will never be offered or shared. We need to stop focusing on everything we're not, and to rejoice over everything we are.

If no one has told you this before, I am here to tell you now: You have something valuable to offer. Not only is it valuable, but it is necessary. It needs to be shared. So throw away whatever 'molds' you feel pressured to fit, throw away all the voices that tell you that 'you are not good enough'--because you are truly irreplaceable, unique, and downright beautiful. This world wouldn't be the same without you.

1 Corinthians 12  //  Jeremiah 1:5

YOUR TURN ... 

If you've got any insights to add, or any personal experiences to share, or any comments at all -- PLEASE COMMENT BELOW! =) Comments are always welcome!

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