Who I really am

Originally appeared online in the teen series Your Healings -  September 14, 2021.

I felt like I was on top of the world. It was the beginning of my senior year in high school, and I had great friendships, an amazing boyfriend who saw me for who I truly am, parents who loved me, and teachers at school who supported me. 

But one day when looking in the mirror, I started noticing all my “flaws” and picking myself apart. I wished I looked like other girls.

For some reason, after that day I couldn’t get out of that mind-set. I wasn’t acting like myself. I focused more on my looks than my grades. I watched videos on how to make myself look better, and I overworked my body to try to match the standard of beauty I saw on social media. 

The truth is that I was already good because I reflect God, who is only good.

My friends told me I was acting different. I was picking fights with my family and friends, and I didn’t want to be around my boyfriend, because I thought I wasn’t good enough. I started to compare myself to his ex-girlfriend. I cared too much about what others thought about me. I felt lost.

One day, I was in a class at school, and I didn’t really care about being there. I knew I should’ve been doing my class work, but instead I had an idea to look in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for, but in the past when I’ve needed help, I’ve been able to turn to Science and Health and find answers.

I came across a helpful passage where the author writes, “The loss of man’s identity through the understanding which Science confers is impossible; and the notion of such a possibility is more absurd than to conclude that individual musical tones are lost in the origin of harmony” (p. 217). 

This idea really stood out to me because I felt I had lost my identity and wasn’t acting or feeling like myself. But I could see from this passage that I couldn’t lose my individuality because I reflect God, the source of each person’s identity. This identity isn’t a bunch of physical features; it’s good qualities like joy, intelligence, and kindness that always make up what we are.

The truth is that I was already good because I reflect God, who is only good.

I thought back to when I was pushing away my boyfriend and arguing with my friends and family, and I realized that I was fighting with the people who love me no matter what. In spite of how I was acting, they still knew who I really am. They would always see my true, spiritual identity as loving, thoughtful, respectful, hardworking, gracious, and so much more. 

This was a big learning experience for me, because I’d been in a funk, not knowing what to do with myself. I had thought that in order to be OK, I needed to change. But the truth is, I was already good because I reflect God, who is only good, and God loves me.

This realization changed me. I was able to bring my grades back up; my connection with my boyfriend grew stronger; and I argued a lot less with my friends and family. I started seeing the good in my life—and in me. And today when I look in a mirror, I see that I’m already perfect. Not that I am physically “perfect,” but that who I am spiritually can’t help but express God’s perfection.

I’m learning a little more each day about something else Mrs. Eddy wrote about identity in Science and Health: “Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love” (p. 477). We are each God’s reflection, and we are loved exactly as we are.

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