One of the biggest obstacles I had in my journey of life is being with others when they look at my scars. In the beginning, I hated my scars. I thought I was ugly, broken and unlovable. I didn't want people to see my scars. I had so much noise in my head about my scars and the shame around surviving the fatal car crash that took my friends. At times it was almost too much.
In the early days of being a burn survivor, I ran through life not wanting to deal with life or allow others to see me. I ran away from everything. I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror, all I saw was this ugly broken face, and I was a guy that loved the mirror and fixing my hair, so I looked awesome.
Over time and learning to accept the scars, I learned to love my imperfections. It wasn't overnight, but I have learned to love my scars and how I look with time. They are a part of me, and they are not going anywhere. My dad taught me the most significant lesson; he taught me how to accept my scars. Through his love and conversations, I was able to accept my scars. I learned that they aren't going anywhere, and the doctors will never be able to make me look like I did before. When I gave up resisting my scars, my whole world changed. I could actually look people in the eye without any shame or noise in my head. I have done exercises where I kissed my scars or reflection in the mirror as an act of true acceptance. That exercise shifted my whole world. Powerful!
One of the biggest compliments I get from others is that I look people in the eyes when I talk to them. I don't look down or away. I don't talk to their feet, chest or forehead. Instead, I look them in the eyes and allow them to see me. When I do this, I get to truly experience connection at the human level.
If you are struggling with the noise in your head about how you look, I invite you to do three things.
I often think I am extremely normal like everyone else. I say there is nothing special about me, I'm like everyone else. I even say, wouldn't everyone do what I do. It keeps me small and not really playing full out in life. I don't get to be great or legendary.
But the reality is, I am special, just like you. I deflect the conversation of being special because I am secretly scared of how great I can be. I like being that guy that ever so often inspires and motivates people. I have it that it's hard work to keep it up all the time. But, the funny thing is it's not hard being my great self. I get so much positive feedback and encouragement which fills me up to keep going.
I want you to know that we all have fears and anxiety about things in life. I want you to know that you are awesome. I want you to feel it deep down. I want you to get how truly amazing you are and how lovable you are.
You are worthy of love and being loved. You are enough, flaws and all. You probably have been hurt in the past when you let love in. It's kind of part of the whole experience of finding love.
I was hurt too. I hurt so much I use to cry with the fears I'd never find someone to love me for who I am. I thought I'd be alone forever. I thought I was broken, destroyed and ugly. I couldn't get past how I looked or how I thought I looked. I couldn't even imagine the life I have today with the love of 4 beautiful women (Bri my wife and 3 beautiful girls; Abigail, Bridget and Camilla).
With time I have learned to accept my scars and my body. I learned to accept they were part of me and they weren't going away. I resisted it at first, I had lots of reasons to hate the way I looked and my scars. But, when I stopped resisting my scars my world changed. I stopped being ashamed of them and started to embrace them. I started to love my life again.
I invite you to embrace your flaws or what you consider flaws. They are part of you and they are not going away overnight. What is possible when you let go of all the noise in your head and love yourself? You are worth it!
I am currently booking presentations for schools, companies and organizations to help those struggling with fear, anxiety and life. This is the work I am great at. This is the work that breaths life into me. This is the work that makes me legendary. Reach out to start the conversation of working together. There is no group too small or big.
Survivor - Speaker - Coach
Most people are paralyzed by the fear of failure. I am one of them.
The problem is that failure is often seen as a negative thing. How often have you told yourself, "I can't do something. I just can't do it." That's not how the world works. The truth is that it's all about how you look at failure. You can look at something as negative, or you can look at it as an opportunity for your next success.
I often have that negative voice in my head that says, "I will fail. Do not try.' That voice in my head is trying to keep me safe, or at least not put me in a situation that will cause me harm or pain. I have had to learn to let go of that voice in my head and take risks in order to grow and make the real difference I am out to cause in the world. If I let that fear take over, I would never have gotten into speaking to people about safety or helping other trauma survivors get back into life. I saw an opportunity to make a difference in the world and had to put that negative fear conversation in my head aside. I had to put the fear aside and see the real opportunity that is there. It was not easy, but it was possible with practice.
Over time that voice has diminished in power and volume, but it is still there trying to keep me safe. I now choose to thank it and then ignore it. I want you to know that you can do the same. Focus on what is possible versus the fear of failing. Learn and practise letting go of that internal negative voice, the one that is based on fear. Look at what is possible and choose to focus on that. Get that you are safe and you are growing.
What goals or accomplishments are you putting off because you are fearful of failing? What opportunities are you missing out on because of your fear?
Survivor | Speaker | Coach
John Westhaver (Courageous Leadership)
Hope | Courage | Power
#leadership #success #mentalhealth #motivation #coaching #inspiration #mindset #safety #power #opportunity
In my life there has been a lot of trauma and death. It's hard to escape the thoughts and memories at times. I'm getting better at not letting them control me. This is something that I am working on.