Looking inward teaches me to accept myself as I am

April 25 | Guest post by Heather
Looking inward teaches me to accept myself as I am
Stop Projecting – print by
Stine Greve

Trying to find your self-worth in the eyes of another is setting yourself up for severe disappointment. Being a people pleaser, I know this more than anyone.

During yoga last night, I was instructed to look inward, to close my eyes and only see myself. To look inward toward myself for satisfaction. I spent the entire hour with my eyes closed just doing what felt right in my body and not trying to compete with the girl on the mat next to me. That simple choice to keep my eyes closed and look inward was incredibly awakening. It inspired me.

Nowadays, there are so many ways to compare ourselves to others. Television and social media being the major avenues for me. I don't think it's terrible to compete or having a desire to better yourself, but, I think somewhere along the lines of ambition and aspiration, we stop really examining ourselves and finding what's best for ourselves. Looking inward gets forgotten somewhere along the way.

I have spent my life looking outward, striving to keep everyone around me happy and trying to do what I thought I should do.

But last night, I spent the time on my mat reflecting about the journey inward. My journey inward. That journey for me has been the longest and still continues every day. I have spent my life looking outward, striving to keep everyone around me happy and trying to do what I thought I should do. Until I started running and doing yoga, I don't think I ever took a single minute of my life to look inward. I never looked inside to see myself, to see what I needed. To examine who I was.

Oscar Wilde once said, "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives mimicry, their passions a quotation."

How much of yourself is formed from other people's opinion of you? How much of you is really what you truly are? We live a life today of uber online and superficial connection. We have the ability to like and comment and essentially judge other people's lives. Thanks to social media, it's out there for everyone to see. I am no exception to this. I share and post and talk about my life online, usually the happy stuff, but I try to keep it honest.

That joy can only come when I am completely myself and can be satisfied with who that person is.

I see pictures shared online and have caught myself being envious of people who have the ability to run way more than I do, or who seem to have endless amounts of money, and I struggle with finding satisfaction in the daily grind of a 9 to 5. But I don't know if it's the yoga or just growing as a person, but the older I get the more I am learning to look inward at myself to find answers and solace. It's not something I was ever taught as a child. It is something I have learned as an adult. I realized in order to be truly happy, I have to know what I need to find joy. That joy can only come from inside of me. That joy can only come when I am completely myself and can be satisfied with who that person is.

I have talked about love and motherhood and all of the adventures I find myself going on, but the one thing through all of this has been learning myself. I still have to consciously make myself close my eyes and shut out the world around me and listen to what I need.

Throughout the past year or two, I think it's what has kept me happy despite the turmoil and big changes in my life. I have closed my eyes to the judgement and the belief that my life has to look a certain way or be like someone else's to be meaningful. I am happy with where I am in life, and with who I am in this life. I know I am flawed and restless and can be a little scattered at times. I know I am hopelessly optimistic, but deep inside I have dark corners that can suck me in without warning. I can be impulsive but I am never dull. And despite the hurt I have felt and the hatred I have seen reflecting back at me, I can appreciate love and tenderness and give it in return.

Because when I look inward, I am unapologetically myself and I am enough.

  1. Thank you so much for this! This is a lesson I, unfortunately, am still trying to learn. About a year and a half ago, my husband and I took jobs in a city much larger than the one we had both lived in our whole lives. Since being here, I have struggled so much with comparing myself to others who are younger than I am and are further along in their career…people who seem to have enough money to take awesome vacations, when the cost of living here has knocked us on our ass…and on and on. I will probably read this article again…so it can sink in where I need it. Thank you for sharing!

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