Have you ever gone to the zoo and had a zookeeper tell you, “A zebra can be identified by his stripes because every zebra’s stripe pattern is unique,”? Every time I’m told that, I think to myself, “Wow. Every zebra has a different pattern of stripes. How are there possibly enough designs to go around without re-cycling a pattern?” But people are the same way. God has made so many people, and yet no two people have ever been exactly the same. Not even identical twins! Quite amazing, isn’t it?
The problem is, people don’t believe in the uniqueness of their zebra stripes- they don’t embrace it. Believe me when I tell you, you get yourself into trouble when you don’t embrace the beautiful zebra stripes you have. See, the thing is, comparing yourself to others is fruitless because you can never be exactly the same as someone else, just like a zebra can’t change his stripes to be like another zebra.
So, up until this point, you’re all probably reading this and thinking, “Gee, Girlie, you must be awful sure of yourself, sitting there and telling us to believe in ourselves.” The truth is: I feel inadequate often. Not so much like I used to, but it’s still a personal hurdle for me that I’ve yet to completely overcome. But I’m trying, which is more than a lot of people can say. I refuse to let myself be enslaved by low self-esteem like so many others.
And through trying, I’ve started to find the things about myself that make me special. I’ve even become rather proud of them. There’s just a certain feeling in knowing that no one else has the same combination or replica of attributes and talents that you have. Now that I’ve started finding these things about myself, I’m not okay with feeling inadequate. That’s the first step. Deciding that you no longer feel inadequate. It’s the power of mind over matter. The second step, and I won’t lie to you and tell you it’s not hard, requires you to work to change things. “Change those voices in your head/Make them like you instead,” (Perfect by P!-nk).
Changing your way of thinking will take time, but little by little, you will start to feel more and more confident. Whenever you notice things about yourself that are different from other people, you’ll feel a healthy sense of pride (since not all pride is healthy!). Don’t believe me? Here’s something you can do to start you on your way: Make a list of ten things that are great about you, and keep the list in a safe, private place. Take it out and read it every morning and/or before bed every night to remind yourself of how special you are. Every time you discover something new and great about yourself, add it to your list. And if you’re religious, just offer up a prayer every night asking God to help you to know your self-worth and show you the path that he has in store for you. Speaking from experience, I promise that you’ll come to be proud of your zebra stripes.
“…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” -A.A. Milne in Winnie the Pooh