Like so many others, I grew up with low self-esteem. Who’s to say why, probably for a number of reasons. After my parents divorced, I turned to food in an attempt to manage my emotions, and ended up spending my teens a bit overweight. I also grew up in a mainly white area and always felt slightly out of place. My pimply brown skin stood out like an oil spot in the sea of white faces. Whatever the cause, however you slice it, my inner critic was deafening.
After growing up some and embarking on a few adventures to find myself and prove my strength, I spent most of my 20’s learning about my values. Both what I value most, and what is most valuable about me. Now, I feel I am beginning to understand these questions at a new depth.
For now, my core values could be described as:
These are the diamonds of my life. These are the gems I install upon the world. They reflect my light and inspire me to keep shining because in my heart of hearts, I want to become an exemplar of these values. I want to demonstrate my way embodying these values so that I can inspire others to find their unique way as well.
Because truly, I want community. A carefully crafted, richly curated concoction of people and programs, of individuals and institutions that align with my values. I see now that by continuing the path of growing into my own shoes, that others will begin to find me from the footprints I lay down.
In many ways throughout my life I’ve avoided taking on leadership roles. A part of me wants so badly for people to look inwardly for guidance instead of to an authority figure. "Don’t bother following others, follow your own intuitive knowing!" it shouts. But if I really want this, I have to be willing to stand as an example of it. After all, I’ve benefited immeasurably from seeing and following the examples of others. So perhaps this is the form of leadership I feel most comfortable with- to invite others to join me, as peers, and lets inspire each other.
So what are your values? What do you aspire to be an example of for others to follow? Share it with the world and begin stitching together your own vibrant community.