Lesson #9: Embrace Who You Are
Princess Diana was a cross between Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling, Audrey Hepburn, and Mother Theresa. Her charismatic yet shy and soft-spoken demeanor displayed an introverted personality that magically transformed when in the limelight. Her humble, compassionate, and deep caring for the disadvantaged undoubtedly earned her a sainthood-like status. Her global presence captured her individuality, leading her to become the People’s Princess.
Diana entered the royal family as a timid and sensitive young woman and left with a strong sense of selfhood. Along the way, she expressed her individuality by sharing topics of conversation that were once taboo and then became commonplace, such as mental health, HIV/Aids, and banning landmines. Her authenticity made her all the more loveable.
Reflecting on my youth, I remember struggling with living up to high religious expectations. I couldn’t reach the bar. It was too high. Instead, I marched to a different drum. The turning point for me was my first work performance review. I finally felt seen and heard. It was a great feeling! For the first time, I felt valued and appreciated for who I was and what I could do. It gave me the confidence to be myself and pursue my passions.
However, life was not easy. After getting married and starting a family, I faced challenges and disappointments. Slowly the unrealistic expectations of a “happily ever after” and not hitting the bar eroded my self-esteem. Like waves pounding rocks into pebbles and pebbles into the sand, I, like Diana, felt insecure as my self-confidence withered away.
I turned to God and surrendered. White flag and all. My life needed to be nurtured and nourished like a garden of herbs and spices to combat the erosion it was facing. After my failed marriage, I met my life partner, and we learned to tend the garden in tandem. Together is better when two people are in sync and not in a tug-of-war.
Like Princess Diana, I learned that embracing who you are is the key to happiness. It’s important to be true to yourself and not try to live up to unrealistic expectations. By being authentic and genuine, we can inspire others to so too. Diana’s legacy continues to inspire people around the world. We can leave our own legacy by being a blessing to others by being kind, compassionate, and empathetic. By sharing our experiences and being vulnerable, we can encourage and support others who may be going through similar struggles. Doing so can create a ripple effect of positivity that can change the world, one person at a time.