In the past few years, I have done lots of soul searching (navel gazing?) and lifestyle evaluation (more navel gazing?) and bootstrap pulling to separate who I am from who others want me to be, and the fear that comes from not trusting that your true self is enough.
These are the mantras I've learned so far. Repeating them daily keep me from regressing, descending, spiraling into the pit of self: self-pity, self-doubt, self-loathing, self-absorption ... you get the picture.
It's not my business what other people think of me.
Words have only the power you give them.
Speak and act with the intention and direction of truth and good.
Always make the next best choice.
Courage means asking questions and expressing what you need.
It's okay to be wrong.
I am not the most important person in this room.
It's my job to love myself. If I don't, who will?
This is not about me unless I make it about me.
Notice a theme? My whole life, I've felt there was so burning spotlight trained directly on me. People watching, judging, measuring and always me coming up short. My mantras revolve around me remembering that I am just another face in the crowd.
You wouldn't believe how freeing it is to know that the room isn't staring at you. That the world couldn't care less about you. That you can show up to a fitness class or a civic group meeting or a house party and no one will care you're there. Sure, someone may be happy to see you or someone may cringe that you showed up, but that person is just like you -- just another person in a world full of people.
In the end, it's not my business if you want me to show up. It's not business if you think I look disgusting in a bathing suit. It's not my business if you can't believe I don't know that song, that word, that movie. My business is putting good into the world. My business is loving myself. My business is speaking what I need so that others can be fully present in my life (and I can be fully present in theirs).
Those are my mantras. What are yours?