orchid girl

There are many longings of the human heart. These longings are powerful and can serve as a common thread, crossing continents and boarders, language barriers and cultures, social classes and traditions, connecting us all.

While the desire to love and be loved is one such common thread, there is another longing that remains ever present within our hearts: the desire to know and be known.

From a young age, we seek to know and be known. This desire is coupled with a yearning to more deeply know and understand ourselves. We spend years of our precious time — and great amounts of our hard earned money — in search of people, experiences, words and phrases that will aid us in this long distance journey of self-discovery. We hike the tallest peaks, parachute out of moving planes and travel to the furthest corners of the globe searching for clues to ourselves. We watch television shows and relate to characters who share similar (or exude seemingly desired) attributes.

We cruise the internet and various social media platforms for quizzes, self-assessments and personality tests, all in an effort to better understand our true natures. These tests and self-assessments only succeed in grouping us into one or more categories; nevertheless, we review our results with the intent of helping us along our quest of defining who we are.

Why do we pursue the external to define the internal? Why do we seek out others’ definition of who we are and so easily adopt their words or phrases as truth?

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When we place too much emphasis on what others say, allowing them to tell us who we really are, it can subconsciously cause us to overshadow the empowering and life-giving traits that this world desperately needs its women to embody, embrace and inspire.

Here are five labels, words and phrases which you may have been told in the past and unknowingly accepted as truth. They will require strength, wisdom and self-awareness to break, but you’re not in this alone. With a little love, generosity and an open mind, you can begin to embrace the fullness of the beautiful life you have been given.

Label No. 1: “Weird or Out There” to “Innovative and Interesting”

Break the mold by embracing your creativity and uniqueness. View yourself as innovative and interesting! Present your thoughts and art to others in new and unexpected ways that inspire thought and action.

Label No. 2: “Conceited” to “Empathetic”

C.S. Lewis once said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Allow this simple quote to influence the way you serve others and see the world.

Label No. 3: “Too Opinionated” to “Action-Oriented”

Don’t just talk the talk. Together, let’s impact the world for good by discovering what within it breaks our hearts. Then, respond by finding ways to heal the hurt and pain through our actions.

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Label No. 4: “Perfectionist” to “A Risk-Taker Who Learns From Mistakes”

I’ve heard it said, “Strive for progress not perfection.” Perfection is overrated and robs us of the beauty that is only found when we make mistakes and learn from them. Go ahead, take risks and resolve to learn from the inevitable mistakes of life. The world needs more women who are willing to share their lessons of growth with those following a few steps behind.

Label No. 5: “Insecure” to “Self-Accepting”

We all struggle with insecurity in some aspects of our lives. Whether it’s public speaking, finances, physical attributes or career advancement, these insecurities can run deep. Instead of meditating over our insecurities, let’s spend more of our valuable time focusing on our strengths and what we do well. Together, we can lead the world in wholly embracing the skills and talents that make us all unique.

Toni Collette once said “The better you know yourself, the better your relationship with the rest of the world.” The more we begin to embrace what we do well, and continue to develop those gifts and talents, the better we can impact this world for good. Starting today, learn to move forward in spite of the insecurities and fears that have held you back for far too long. The strengths and skills that you have to offer this world far outnumber the weaknesses and insecurities that you might now face.

There is power in our words; the cadence with which we speak of and to ourselves can impact our self-worth for better or worse. The decision to allow any label to bend us until we break is ours. So don’t wait! Beginning today, the labels of your past don’t need to serve you any longer. Know that you were meant to accomplish beautiful and brilliant things. You were meant to inspire others to love, push others to succeed and to accomplish good in this world.

You were meant to shine!

What other labels are you ready for society to break?

Images via Esther Baseme

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