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What would it look like to know you are loved for being exactly who you are? I don’t mean the version of you that you allow the world to see, your friends to see, maybe even your significant other to see… I mean the most raw, authentic version of you that maybe you haven’t ever known or met for a while.

It’s crazy to think, but finally at 28, I am meeting myself for the very first time.  I am so grateful for this because it occurred to me that some people never get to meet themselves, much less allow others to meet the real them.

Somewhere along the path of life, most of us build a belief system that in order to be accepted or loved, we have to be or look a certain way. For me, that has been my very own version of perfection; physically as fit as I could possibly be, perfect life, perfect career, perfect relationships, friends, etc., etc.  The list could go on and on.

This showed up the most in any type of relationship (friendship or love) for me.  I mean all of our “shit” usually shows up most when other humans are involved, right? 

Somewhere along my path, I placed all of my value on my physical appearance and accomplishments and if/when someone loved me, I didn’t really believe they loved ME, but loved the “version” of me I let them see.  I mean, how could they love me if I didn’t even love or know myself? 

Now if you know anything about personal development or this work, you know this has nothing to do with any of the people that were or are in my world and has everything to do with me. At some point over my growth, I decided that I want people to fall in love with me for my soul; to love me for my passion, wit, AND my imperfections and the ugly parts of me.  

Here’s the thing, the only way for people to fall in love with you for your soul is by letting them see it.  That’s the scary part.  To bare it all, to go ALL IN and give people the opportunity to not like THE REAL YOU.  For that to happen could mean REAL rejection, but somewhere along the line, I decided to really be committed to leaning into this and to continue to lean into this because I have realized the payoff is invaluable; to be loved exactly as you are. Imagine the freedom.  Slowly but surely I have allowed people to see the amazing parts of me and the parts of me that I always thought would be “ugly” to others… And here is what I found, some people don’t love me…. and that’s okay….but the people who love me, I mean really love me….LOVE me more.  I don’t have to be anyone or anything to be loved by them or by me.  

Now I will be the first to tell you this still takes work, and I can’t take all the credit for leaning into this because I have some pretty amazing people in my world that created a space that made me want to lean in.  Now don’t play the victim card here and think you can’t do this because you don’t have these people in your world. Maybe you do and you just don’t know it because you haven’t given them the opportunity or maybe you need to decide for you and these people will show up in your life; I believe that is what happened in my life. It starts with you.

It is engrained in most of us to be the person others want us to be to be accepted. I still have to consciously guide myself through things when I feel my “perfect version” wanting to come out to play. Trust me, she still does and I don’t believe everyone gets the honor of meeting the truest, most vulnerable version of me.  Yea I said it, honor.  I believe to meet anyone’s most real, authentic version of themselves is an honor and should be treated as such.

All in all I have realized this: the more I have gotten to meet the parts of myself that I so desperately tried to hide, the more I love myself.  The real me gets to build my very own beliefs in life, pursue my passions in the world, give myself space to be clumsy, to go without makeup, to honor what I want first and foremost, to think or speak those ugly thoughts that I thought would cause people to run screaming from me (you know the thoughts ;); the less I care about the physical body that people see and the more I want people to meet the real me. Now don’t get me wrong, this girl still LOVES to get dolled up and shop for the cutest outfits, but it’s not for others, it’s for me. 

So here’s the thing, you first have to meet yourself to let others meet you.  I mean really meet YOU.  And the only way to find the people who REALLY love you is to let them have all of you.  Not just the parts of you that you want them to see. 

From halfway on the other side (because there is still work to be done), it is worth it.  I have never felt more seen, more comfortable not being perfect, more free than in these moments and I am pushing myself to be seen by more people than ever before. 

So hello, I am Lindsey Mango, it’s nice to meet some of you for the first time ;).  

This isn’t perfect, I am not perfect; and I am still loved and so are you. 

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