What makes you YOU?

This is a question most of us don’t bother to ask ourselves, much less think about. We need, however, to answer this question in order to live the lives we were born to have.

The reality is that most people have gotten disconnected from their true selves and taken refuge, instead, in their heads. Believe it or not, like I’ve said many times over, your head is not always your friend. Being disconnected from our bodies, we are basically sleeping with the enemy. Just look at your body if you don’t believe me. It is a reflection of your mind. Living in the worst place on earth, our heads, we keep our minds busy with negativity while ignoring our true qualities.

What makes us perfect is our “imperfections”. What we are proud of and ashamed of is what makes us special and unique. Oftentimes, all the things you believe are wrong with you are actually the ones that make you stand out. We are it. We are the good, the bad, and the ugly. However, since we live in a world where everyone’s trying to be somebody else and meet someone else’s expectations, we become hypocritical and politically correct.

We cover our flaws with plastic and brand names. We hide inside fancy cars and behind Instagram filters, all the while, pointing our fingers. We are opinionated on Facebook but can’t communicate with our spouses. The truth is, we are proud of our strengths, intrigued by our potential and ashamed of our weaknesses. In my dictionary, a weakness is something we’re not aware of. In fact, we often proudly hold on to our weaknesses by keeping them locked up in our volts. Therefore, most people struggle to stand up to their problems just because they believe they shouldn’t have them. We live with the “If I don’t acknowledge them, they’ll go away” attitude. Wrong approach. We all have issues. What separates us from others is how we DEAL with these issues.

Having low self-esteem or lacking confidence or discipline, living without passion, or lacking motivation is something you shouldn’t be embarrassed about. Just as your good qualities and strengths do define you, so do your insecurities, doubts, and fears. They are part of you. When you deny your vulnerabilities, you also deny your strengths. When you chose to ignore your pain, you also won’t be able to enjoy your talent.

Problems don’t go away. They get bigger if they’re not dealt with. Acknowledging your weaknesses will not only help you turn them into strengths, but will also allow you to capitalize on your positive qualities. Feeling embarrassed about your flaws will only keep them in hiding, where they can grow and grow.

I used to have low self-esteem whose low confidence often came out as anger. Anger was a tool I used to cover up the feeling of being misunderstood and alone. It was something I inherited from my childhood. Acknowledging and facing my struggle only helped me to find the strength and motivation I needed to search for help. Facing the truth also gave me hope to believe there was a better world out there, and it also gave me the strength to move forward. It took a lot of courage to look into my own eyes and own up the lie I’d been telling myself for my entire life. I was the first to admit that living in hiding from my own problems wouldn’t help me solve them.

A person in great physical shape is no different from a binge eater or an anorexic if he or she lacks self-confidence. They both have the same issues, but deal with them in different ways. We all have our different ways of coping with, or masking our problems. Some people use exercise, some use work, some drinking, some are compulsive, others controlling, all in efforts to keep us from admitting we’re not perfect. And that’s where the problem lies. Nobody is perfect, nor they should try to be. Not even you. It’s talking about yourself, not lying to yourself, that is going to help you learn more about who you are.

One way you can learn more about what’s holding you back is through exercise. Your body is always talking, telling you truths, whether you like it or not. Since you’ve been disconnected from your body for such a long time, you haven’t learned how to listen to it, let alone trust it. That’s where you need help. You need someone to help you translate and understand what your body is saying. Exercising makes you face yourself.

Moving is talking. Breathing is living. Period.

People don’t seek change because they don’t understand, or, even know it’s possible. It is because they don’t know who they are, or who they could be. You shouldn’t seek self-improvement just because you believe you aren’t good enough. It is quite the opposite. Being good enough should motivate you to get better and will be the reason you move forward. Losing 15 pounds won’t give you what changing a belief system will. It’s not about being able to do twenty push-ups. It is about changing how you feel about yourself. It’s not about what can you do on the outside, it’s about how you feel on the inside.

We are quick to judge the ones who are overweight or underweight. We are the first to criticize someone for being to muscular or too active, or by the way they dress or talk. Often times people are, just like you, keeping themselves busy and running from the truth. We all have things, however, we deal with, or at least things we should be dealing with. Being true to yourself is the only way you’re going to elevate your self-esteem and gain the confidence you have always wanted. Being true to yourself is honoring your true feelings. Standing up to your own problems is working on your character. It is the same as training. Acknowledging is just the first step. Constant practice, however, is what is going to help you master your skills. The more you do, the stronger you become. Being true to yourself is a commitment you make to the present and future YOU. I did it, and it helped me.

It is not a diet, and you can’t just do it on the weekends. Your friends or your coach can’t do it for you either. Recognizing your true feelings takes work and time, and oftentimes a lot of help… but it’s worth it, because YOU are worth it.

That is a true lifestyle. That is what it means to have a winning mentality.

This is what it takes to really find out what makes you, YOU.

Good luck.