I was in my twenties when I realized it was OK to be me. Up until then, I tried so hard to fit into the expectations of those I love. I trusted they really knew me; knew what was best; knew what I should do and how I should act and where I should live and what work I should do.
The more I tried to fit in - the more emotionally lost I became. I resisted who I was. I wanted to be smarter, prettier, more successful, more athletic, and fully engaged in relationships and people groups. When I realized everyone was unique and different, including (and especially) me - something snapped and I was flung into a journey of trying to figure out me and give myself permission to be truly me. There were many errors. Many. Thank God I have lifelong friends who always loved me through every season.
Do you need permission? Are you different like me? Did you not quite "fit" into your family or church or people group?
So here it is - delivered by an older one who wishes someone had said this to me many times until I got it. You have permission to be you - unique, beautiful, created for purpose, and treasured by your Papa - your Creator in Heaven. You are loved and worthy for blessing and love and relationship and goodness. You can be whole and wholly offer yourself to the universe of wonder and miracles. So step forward - be brave - take that risk - stand for who you are - and, yes, love yourself in all your imperfections and goodness.
Ephesians 2:10 - "I am God's workmanship."