We are not perfect human beings. We come with flaws, then life inflicts us with a few more along the way. It’s just how life is. Sometimes people become so dissatisfied with their looks or their lack of some talent or other that they make themselves miserable. We need to be happy with who we are.
That doesn’t mean we don’t work to make ourselves better, it just means we aren’t always wishing “if only . . .” It reminds me of the father whose wife left on a trip for a few days, leaving the care of their four children to him. He reported that the hardest part was fixing his daughters’ hair each morning. He said, “One wants me to use the flat iron to straighten her too curly hair and other wants me to use the curling iron to give her straight hair some curly personality. Go figure!” Like these young girls, we are too often dissatisfied with how we come.
What if you were born with an abundance of freckles? Everyone teased you about your freckles to the point that you began to think you would be so much better off “if only” you had been born without them. How do you know that? Freckles never stopped any determined person from becoming who they really want to be. Sometimes freckles are just downright adorable. If you have them, embrace them.
Maybe you were inflicted with something far more difficult to handle than freckles or curly hair. What if you were burned in an accident that caused you to have severe facial scars? Could you be happy with such a difficult affliction? Or would you let it ruin your life? If you think your life is hard, you need to watch how Stephanie handled just such a situation. She was severely burned in an airplane crash and has had several surgeries to get to where she is now. See her in this two-minute video where she was interviewed by Anderson Cooper, and be inspired by this young mother.
What if you were born without an arm or a leg? Would you wake up every day thinking, “If only I had two arms or two legs, I would be happy.” Take a look at this inspiring video of a young farmer named Chris and see how he accepts who he is. You’re gonna fall in love with this guy right away. His charm and acceptance of his situation are compelling.
What about you?
Now it’s time to look at you. What has happened in your life that could be a difficult challenge to handle? We all have something we have to overcome, or simply accept and move on. Life is too valuable and precious to miss, so accepting who we are is vital to our enjoying this personal journey of life.
Here are a few ways to be happy with who you are.
1. Be grateful for life. Every day is a new opportunity to live and love those around you. What a blessing to wake up! What a blessing to be able to get out of bed and make your day happen. Wake up with gratitude that you have another day on this beautiful earth. If your job or family situation isn’t the best, be glad you are alive and have one more day to make your life better than it was yesterday.
2. Look in the mirror and really see yourself. Smile. Be grateful for that smile. That smile can set the tone for your day. Happy people smile. Sad people smile so they can be happy.
3. Be grateful for what you have. When you comb your hair, be glad you have some to comb. When you brush your teeth, be glad you have some to brush. If you have two arms and hands, look at them. Be grateful for those ten fingers and that they still work. If you can see, be grateful for your eyes. Some people are critical of their noses. What if you didn’t have one? Be glad you can smell the sweet scent of flowers. Today notice all the parts of your body that make life fulfilling. Be grateful for each. Be happy with what you have.
4. Recognize the talents you have. Just because you may not be able to sing like a winner on "The Voice," don’t despair. You have other talents. Develop those and share them freely. Think about what you can do and start using that talent to bring a little happiness into your life and the lives of others. If you enjoy writing, write a story and share it with your children or a shut-in. If you play the ukulele, have some fun with it at a care center. Those folks will love it. If you wish you could play the uke, give it a try by googling lessons online. Learn a new talent and have some fun with it. If you enjoy cooking, have some fun with that and share the goodies with others. Maybe you’re good at sewing, quilting, or knitting. Maybe you’re good at cheering people up. Notice your talents and enjoy them.
5. Accept your family situation without letting it control who you are. What if your father was a drunk and beat your mother, and you? What if you hated how you grew up? Does that have to control the rest of your life? You are not your father, or your mother. You are you. You can learn from their mistakes and make a better life for yourself. A man recently told of how his father was an alcoholic who caused a lot of pain for his family. This son decided to learn from this bad example and be a better man than his father. He even decided to forgive his father. He chose a different path and has found happiness with his own wife and children. Be your best regardless of your past.
When you start noticing all that you do have you will not have time, nor want to, dwell on what you don’t have. Live in the positive. Be happy to be you.
Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist, Joy is a writer and lyricist. Together they author books on relationships. Their website is garyjoylundberg.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org