My friend, let’s call him Graham, came home early expecting to see his son. His son, 10 years old, had started walking home recently so Graham had given him a phone. Three o’clock went by, then four. There was no sign of his son who was supposed to have been home by 3:30. Graham called his son. The phone rang without an answer. Graham called over and over again, hoping for a different outcome. Five o’clock. Graham panicked and called his wife. They walked the neighbourhood searching. When they returned home, they looked grimly at each other knowing that the moment had come to call the police. It was every parent’s worst nightmare. As he picked up the phone to dial, he looked out the window and saw a familiar head bobbing up and down. He ran to the door. It was his son.
“Where were you?” he shouted. “I’ve been trying to call you for hours. Why didn’t you answer your phone?”
Turns out Graham’s son was with his friends. He’d turned off his phone so he wouldn’t have to answer it in front of the guys. It wasn’t an iPhone or a fancy Smart phone. It was an older flip phone model and he was ashamed of it. Before you shake your head and say, “kids today,” this behaviour is not limited to kids only. I know adults who won’t go to the beach because their bodies are not perfect, or this woman I know who is reluctant to go anywhere with her friends because they are slimmer than she. There are people who won’t invite anyone to their houses because their houses are not big enough or for some other reason, they’re ashamed of where they live. Many of us at some time or another may have been plagued with this sense of not living up to some ideal standard, whether it’s our income, our weight, our possessions or lack thereof, being unattached, or whatever it is that makes you feel less than. When the old inferiority complex rears its ugly head, there are ways to feel good about yourself and embrace the world.
First, find many quiet moments and focus on you. What is it that you want to do, learn, accomplish in this lifetime? Do it. Whether it’s art, dancing, learning a language or a new skill, go for it. It’s an accomplishment and it will make you feel great.
Second, try hypnosis. I’ve read every single self help book on the shelves (almost) and nothing has helped as much as this. Hypnosis bypasses your conscious mind where all our negative habits and ways of thinking prevent us from achieving lasting change. Hypnosis has made me finally go to the gym and focus on my writing. Nothing else worked for me.
Third, be yourself and learn to love who you are. You are unique. How do you learn to be you? You find yourself in those quiet moments, through self-reflection, journaling, meditation and prayer.
Fourth, surround yourself with people who love and accept you. Shed the others.
Finally, realize getting to know you and love you is a lifelong journey. Keep telling yourself, if someone doesn’t like me because of my weight, income, house, marital status, etc., they aren’t worth knowing anyway. You being confident and living your dreams will enable the children around you to do the same.