I met Emily through my husband’s work. She was gracious enough to go to lunch with me and share her business expertise. Ever since that day I have been drawn to Emily. Her positive energy and self confidence are contagious. Emily is a supportive friend who remembers details that other friends might forget. She is an amazing woman who adds value wherever she goes. I am so thankful she was willing to share her story. I learned a lot from her and I know you will as well.
I think I was born with high self-esteem. I LOVE MYSELF. Truly. People ask how I learned to love myself so completely, but I don’t know, which is why I think I must have been born with it. I’m not the ideal body type and never have been, but that has never affected my deep-rooted knowledge that I am beautiful. I also think I’m pretty funny, but I’m self-aware enough to know that sometimes I’m the only one laughing at my jokes…and that’s ok! Something I want all women to know is that it’s not prideful to have self-love.
Even with my insanely high self esteem, I’ve had times where I let people “get in my head”. I’m a bold and bright personality and there have been people close to me that in the name of “helping” tried to tone me down. I was told my passion, my appearance, my style, etc were not the norm and that I needed to tame them down to fit in and get ahead.
In all my life, I’ve never tried to fit in, however as a responsible adult I wanted to listen to the feedback from people I thought had my best interest at heart. So, a few years ago I bought clothes that were more neutral, spoke up less in groups, dyed my hair blonde (I hated it, but a well meaning friend suggested it), and frankly got more boring. As a response to everything else being muted at that time, I dyed my hair bold red, and it’s a decision I will never regret (I LOVE it).
Now, I have plenty of room for improvement, but it took some time and skill to learn to differentiate between the people in my life that truly had my best interest at heart and those that cared more about appearances and didn’t understand my unique ability to not care what the generic public thinks of me (I reserve the caring for my inner circle).
My “wake up” moment was meeting, Bob, the kind of person that is your instant best friend. Almost in the first breath, he had me googling “Bob Quick’s Journey” to see for myself his amazing accomplishments, including bicycling across america (3x), having 32 heart procedures in the last 16 years, 20 stents, and most recently a quadruple bypass surgery. We became friends on Facebook and he is continually the most encouraging and positive person. I met Bob when he was at work, helping me buy a new door. Even in a professional setting, he could completely own who he is and Bob’s total openness instantly endeared me to him. Bob’s light sparked the realization (or perhaps remembrance) that it’s our beautiful differences that not only make us human, but also attract friendships.
I moved into a new house during the couple of years I spent suppressing my more bold nature and truly struggled to make close friends. I love all my neighbors and positively feel a friendship with all of them, but had no best friend. I shed many tears seeing women enjoy close friendships, but honestly didn’t know how to forge one of my own. It was hard. I went on a lot of solo hikes during that time (the mountains are my balm). There’s something about the fresh air, achieving a new height, feeling the refreshing spray of a waterfall, meandering a trail, and enjoying God’s varied creations that fills my soul with peace and joy. It’s a renewal that I treasure!
Something that held me back from inviting friends hiking, is that I’m very slow. But, this last Summer I pushed past my worry that I’d hold my more spry friends back and shared some great hikes and walks with a few incredible women, and on occasion their families. Communing with nature and people is a magical combo.
The reclaiming of my oddities this past year opened the door to finally making some dear friends, which has been very fulfilling. It takes some serious faith to let go of inhibition and “bee yourself” (as the genie in Aladdin says), but it has greatly helped me connect with people in deeper, more meaningful ways. Accept yourself flaws and all, and I believe that invites others to feel comfortable being their flawed self with you.
P.S. I love people and making new friends, if you do too let’s connect on Instagram @mcleanentertain