To feel really great about who you are, it’s important not to compare yourself to others. There will always be someone younger, smarter, richer, and more beautiful just as there will always be those that are older, less smart, and poorer than you. Your empowerment comes from comparing yourself only to yourself and acknowledging the progress you make.
Six years ago my mother told me she wanted to read my book when it was done. I cringed. I didn’t want her reading it. It contains many experiences from my childhood and especially my adult life as an exotic dancer. Over the years, when she’d voice it again, I'd feel anxious.
Within my mind she condemned me, abandoned me and even worse, was hurt by what I wrote (mothers tend to take on guilt and responsibility for what their children experience). A mentor said, “She’ll read it if she wants. Some author’s family members don’t read their books.” My husband said, “Just send her a copy and be done with it.” I had conversations with her in my head but never in person.
One morning though, after years of processing this dilemma and growing confidence and courage within myself, I woke up with the thought that I would never be free to publish until this issue was resolved. I called her up. “Mom,” I said, “there are many things in this book you don’t know and just remember … I have a great life today.” I never mentioned anything about drugs and sex.
Within these last few weeks, since my memoir, From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal has been published, my thoughts have changed to, I have to get my mom her copy because it’s not fair if other people get to read it before she does. This is progress. This is growth. This is authentic confidence and courage. This has taken time.
When you relish every experience as a learning opportunity, when you quit comparing yourself with others, being aware of your own progress and validating that, then you’ll be fully empowered. Getting to the place where you are not shamed by past experiences but instead learn from them, liberates you. When you become less secretive about who you are, in an appropriate, loving way with trusted people, your courage and confidence will be authentic and your personal power will be inexhaustible.