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Inside Out

Do you remember a time when you accidentally put on an article of clothing, inside out? Usually, the way we know we've done that is there is either a tag or seam lines showing. Sometimes we laugh, other times we beat ourselves up, but generally we take the time to reverse the clothing and go about our day.

Living inside out is a little different. Of course, when we approach others we put our best face forward, clothes are coordinated or arranged to compliment our good features and minimize those we aren't so proud of. We tailor our language, friendships, and activities around the perception we want others to have of us. Like the clothing example, we take pains not to let experiences that have negatively "tagged us", or the places we have been broken and "stitched back together", show to the outside world.

But what would happen if we viewed our experiences -- those tags -- only as part of our experience. For example, as a child I stuttered, so helping others who struggle speaking in public is a part of my business. I understand what it feels like to have an important thought that you can't articulate clearly. I do not, however, identify myself as a stutterer.

We must be careful not to make those "tags" or "stitches" our identity. You may have been victimized by abuse and may today still be in a struggle to get free of abusive situations, BUT YOU WERE NOT CREATED AS AN OBJECT OF ABUSE. The tag on clothing only shows the components (wool, rayon, cotton, etc.), but the components don't identify the full product. You may have had to "re-stitch" some new ways of being to cover the rips in your old ways of thinking. Like fabric, those stitches don't make the garment weaker, but stronger.

The "tags" and "stitches" that show up as real-life scars are proof that you survived, and that if you are courageous, primed to thrive. The next time you shrink back from an opportunity to grow because you are afraid someone will see the "inside-out tag", remember that it only tells part of your story. The best part is still unfolding.

You are loved.


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