My Happiness is Accepting Who I Am

Lauren - Valrico, Florida
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

My happiness comes from accepting myself for who I am. It’s taken me a long time of sorting through illusions of happiness to figure out but I’ve finally found the truth. It’s the scariest, most liberating thing I’ve ever had to face: I am Me.

As a girl of twelve I was a soft ball of putty easily molded by those around me. I was an introvert while all of my friends were outgoing and getting all of the attention I wasn’t. When I was with them I was as easy to overlook as the sticker you forget to take off your new clothes. For years I modeled and mimicked them and felt that my every action was graded on a curve according to their standards. Sometimes, the façade slipped and I was subject to ridicule.

High school rolled around and still something as simple as getting an “A” made me a “smarty pants” or a “know-it-all”. Why did people say those things? Why was it a big deal what I ate for lunch or how I spent my free time? This was the beginning of my realization.

After a while my shyness thawed and I challenged people instead of accepting my behaviors as abnormal. It was remarkable how quickly people backed off and as they did, something fell into place. My perspective shifted. I could do what I wanted, say what I felt and be who I was without being ashamed.

Of course I love to have fun but being quiet, reading a book or just thinking—these are not pathetic, lonely things; they’re just part of who I am. The most miserable times in my life have been when I played this down or tried to change. I accept these parts of me. Some days are better than others, but again, I am happy when I am me and it’s thrilling to know that becoming the best me possible is a lifelong process.