Did you know there are a lot of men, women, and children who have gone through an awful lot of hurt, anger, guilt, low self-esteem, and the feeling of never measuring up? Did you know many people have made mistakes and find it difficult to move on? Mistakes that eat away at their hearts making it challenging to live the life they yearn for.
This story is about love, faith, believing, forgiving and embracing a heart that is waiting patiently to feel happy and whole again.
When I was a young girl growing up on a farm, the ugly voices started. That is what I called the words from the children on the bus and at school. I really never seemed to fit in with the crowd. I was either to chubby in their eyes or wore the same clothes over and over, even though they were always clean and never torn. When I was in school, it seemed as if I could never do anything right. Even though I would know the answer to a question, I was petrified to raise my hand for fear of mixing up the answer. Laughter from others became a fear that stayed with me throughout my school years. Not being included or the last one chosen made a mark on my heart.
Fast forward to junior high and high school, where the ugly voices increased. Same kids plus a few new ones, only bigger and more vicious. Sometimes their comments brought on loud bouts of laughter. Which dug deeper into my heart.
I want you to know that I tried very hard to overcome the feelings of inadequacies. I became very good at hiding my true feelings.
My face revealed a happy person, but deep inside, I was hurting, struggling, trying to drown out the ugly voices that followed me around, just waiting for me to make a mistake, or say the wrong thing.
I did not like looking in the mirror. The reflection I saw did not match what my parents and family saw in me. God love them, they saw the chatty, happy person. Although I loved them dearly for loving me unconditionally, they had no idea the tug and pull of emotions, I was feeling.
Then at thirty-eight, a transfer from community college to East Stroudsburg University, and the advice from a wonderful professor helped me to see the real woman I indeed was.
Fast forward to a class assignment, two paragraphs of what we thought was holding us back in class and in life. As I thought about the task, the ugly voices, made of self-doubt, started creeping in. But this time, I was one step ahead of them. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I didn’t care if I surpassed the two paragraphs, I just wrote.
Two days after handing in my many paragraphs, this dear, fair, kind professor asked to talk with me.
She was a little older but was one that never would become an ugly voice. We went to the commons and chatted over tea. The following is paraphrased from the message and lesson I learned that day.
She told me that each time she taught a class, the first thing she did was to gaze out at her students’ faces. She continued by sharing, that some of her students revealed a lack of sleep or boredom. Some faces showed a lack of patients. But when she looked at my face, she saw someone who was a hard worker. But most importantly, she saw a spark of enthusiasm.
She continued to say that each class the enthusiasm seemed to grow on my face. I must have had the look of disbelief on my face. But it didn’t matter, she quickly continued to say that I had a great future in education, I just had to believe in myself, keep working hard, be willing to take a chance, and never give up.
Then she took out her makeup compact, opened it up and told me to look in it. As I looked at my reflection, she said, ” Cynthia, say after me, I am a good woman. I am kind, loving, and care about everyone I meet. I am beautiful inside and out. I have faith that I can and will make a difference. I forgive those who have hurt me with their ugly voices.
But most importantly, I forgive myself for feeling inadequate in every area of my life. I will love myself every day.” She asked me to say that, on the spot mantra, every day. She ended by saying that she believed in me. It was if the sun suddenly appeared.
I said those words every morning and every night. It took a while, but guess what? It worked! Forgiving myself was the hardest. But I continued working hard at it and before long, I felt like a new person. The ugly voices of the past did not win. The bullying that lingered so long in my soul was gone and my heart was happy. I was finally complete.
I hope my story will help those who are struggling with low self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence, and who struggle from a mistake that has ruled their life.
Now for a little lesson. Repeat after me, ” I am beautiful. I have a kind heart and care for others. I am capable of making good decisions and will follow through and do the right thing. I am important. I deserved to be forgiven. I forgive all those who have hurt me. I believe and have faith in myself. Most importantly, I love me.
And now my part, ” You can do it because I believe in you!”