Just the Way You Are

You are perfect. 

Just. The. Way. You. Are.

You heard me right. And yes, I’m listening too. I’m telling myself too.

In light of my last essay, this is a necessary mantra for me to adopt, and it’s necessary for you to adopt it too. How frustrating, beautiful and unnerving it must be for a parent to watch their child grow into an adult and turn into a person all their own. How could they not mourn the “loss” of the little person that they raised? The one that was so innocent, agreeable, protectable, uncomplicated. It’s natural for this to happen, it’s not bad (which is what my sweet mom tried to tell me today as I crumbled beneath guilt for making her sad in any way). What’s the silver lining… because there always is one…? Well, I’m simply grateful that it’s my slightly compulsive nature and my commitment to a healthy lifestyle that causes the only friction that exists between my family and I. Ha. How could I be complaining about something so petty? They have a right to be protective, given my history, and they understand, accept and are proud of my intention, my discipline, lifestyle and my accomplishments in this career I’m building. I’m fortunate! Was I really crying earlier about not feeling understood? Silly me, I was blinded to my blessings.

There are children who grow up and come out and are not accepted by their family. Family, who exist to love one another unconditionally, turn their backs on children due to things like sexual preference…the race, religion or background of the partner their offspring chooses to marry…the job their child takes as an adult…the decisions a person makes that might not line up with the parents’…situations of discord exist in families that are intensely challenging emotionally. I am fortunate to not be living this. My family simply loves me so much they don’t want me to miss out on a single moment of enjoyment. 
What do I have to say to my family? Thank you. I love you. I am enjoying every moment of my life so deeply that sometimes I’m afraid I’m hogging all the joy that life has to offer.

What do I have to say to those kids who grow up into adults who are misunderstood by their families for their sexual orientation, marriage, religion, career, dreams, decisions, what-have-you? I love you. If they don’t accept you, know that I do. SO many of us do. Those who accept you and love you despite their views are who matter and those people are your true family. Unconditionally loving and accepting you JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

We are born perfect. We are born pure. We are born innocent.

Life threatens to harden us, make us fearful, make us owners of that “I’m Not Good Enough” heaviness that likes to hang on and never let go.

Let us soften together. Let us become fearless. Let us throw away the “I’m Not Good Enough” heaviness and replace it with light and airy “I’m perfect just the way I am.” Let us remind each other of it everyday, with our eyes, with our smiles, with our kindness, with our polite gestures, our holding the door open for one another, our courteous driving, our random acts of kindness…let us use every outlet available to us to remind ourselves, our families, and every member of this beautiful human family of which we are all a part…that we are perfect. We are all perfect. You are perfect. 

Just the way you are.

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