Be true to yourself

Posted by jennifer gibson on Sunday, August 11, 2019 Under: August 2019

I have to admit that I’ve been seeing a prominent theme lately which I find interesting. It keeps popping up in so many unexpected ways, through music, books, tv shows and even Instagram! Last week has been all about loving ourselves, this time it’s showing love, kindness and respect to others. I wholeheartedly agree with that and already do it on a daily basis. I’m constantly showering people I meet with compliments whether it’s face to face, through Facebook or Instagram. I enjoy doing it and know how much of an impact it can have on someone. It could potentially make their day or boost their self esteem. A smile and kind comment can go a long ways. 

I even tell my cats how cute or smart they are! That’s because I know they are listening and often react to my mood or body language. They are sensitive to how I behave or the way I use my voice, so I have to be mindful of my behaviour. 

I recently had my hair cut really short and have had a lot of comments on it. The other day, a complete stranger remarked how much he liked it which I didn’t expect. That kind comment lifted my spirits for the rest of the day. All it took was that spark of positivity. 

In the book, Queer Eye, Karamo encourages us to praise others, you never know how much of a difference it can make with them. I absolutely agree with that idea. I’m not entirely sure when I started dishing out compliments although it would’ve likely been around the time I went to Drama Camp at University of Guelph when I was just starting high school. Yes, it was a lot like Glee Club full of singing, dancing, performing and so many crazy antics.

At that time in my life, I was super shy and my self esteem had been completely destroyed by the relentless bullying I endured throughout school. When I first arrived at camp, I was very withdrawn and had a tendency to cast my eyes downwards. By the way, that pattern shows up whenever my confidence is low or shattered. I recognize it whenever it happens which means I have to take a break and step away from the situation that caused it. 

Then something happened at camp that changed my perspective. All it took was one person who came up to me, nudged me with their elbow and told me how much they like my long curly hair. Not only did it surprise me, it made me realize that these people were genuinely interested in learning more about me and being my friend. That was huge! My circle of friends quickly grew and I became more receptive and honest with myself. It meant delving into my personality to figure out the real me. I had to learn to let go of my former self in order to transition from elementary school into high school It was a transformative experience that forever changed my life. 

At camp, we all had to embrace different aspect of ourselves without any judgment through a series of exercises. It was about trusting each other on and off the stage. In essence, we became a family very quickly which is what I needed at that time. That experience made me realize that I had outgrown the old part of my life, it simply didn’t belong there. Soon afterwards, a lot of people commented on how much I changed. I seemed more grounded, confident and developed a sunnier deposition which I’ve carried with me since then. 

That’s exactly what Karamo was talking about, he encourages us to have a more positive outlook and share that optimism with others. It’s about being honest with ourselves and deciding who belongs in our lives. We need to learn to trust our instincts and really listen to our hearts. Once in awhile, do something nice for yourself whether it be reading a good book, sipping your favourite wine on the rooftop, doing Sudoku, or listening to music. 

For me, when I’m having a bad day or feel like I’m stuck in a rut, I’ll go for a walk outside with my camera and take pictures. It has a meditative quality that allows me to refocus my priorities. I find that it helps me clear my mind and let go of anything that bothers me by living in the present moment. Even taking the time to talk to a neighbour or friend can be extremely therapeutic, especially when you hit it off really well with a topic that jumpstarts a passionate conversation. So please be kind to yourselves and share that love with others. 

In : August 2019 

Tags: karamo  "queer eye" "love yourself" 
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