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TRU: The Real U

One Woman With Inner Beauty Can Change the World

My Confidence Shift

My Confidence Shift

After my first semester of college, my self-worth had taken a beating. I had fallen into the trap of feeling that I wasn’t “enough,” and that included everything—from being “outgoing enough” to “beautiful enough” for anyone to like. In an attempt to reach out to me, my dad took me on a drive through the canyons. And he said something that struck me. He said, “I’m not going to make this a conversation where I say over and over again that you’re beautiful and you don’t believe me. But I need to start with this—that you are beautiful, and if there’s a word I would use to describe you, it would be elegant.” The word was like a lightning bolt to my head and heart. Elegant. That was more than just a catchphrase. There was power in that word. Power, confidence, and poise. Hearing my father use that word to describe me wasn’t an ego-booster. It caused me to think about what I really wanted to be. I didn’t just want to build my self-worth on media’s distorted perceptions of what it means to be beautiful, my own self-doubts, or what other people said. I wanted confidence. I wanted grace. I wanted to be elegant. I don’t know if my dad knows just how much that talk meant to me. But it shifted my view as to what truly makes a woman beautiful—not her outward appearance, but who she is. And when a girl or woman knows who she is and is happy with that . . . well, that my friends, is confidence. I remember another confidence shift for me happened while I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ukraine. On my mission, in a foreign country without family, friends, or anything familiar to turn to, I came to know what it was like to be forsaken and alone, and how to turn to God completely. It was through these difficulties that a transformation came to me. I can’t even pinpoint how it happened, but slowly and surely, I began to gain true confidence. I realized my worth before God, and I knew that worth was infinite. I wrote these words in my journal, about nine months after I started my mission: “I’ve become more loving during these past nine months. And more sure of myself. . . . I just feel like myself. I know who I am. And I’ve found that I like this girl—I like myself.” Me right before I left for my mission in Ukraine That is, I believe, a desire of all women—to be able to like ourselves. And we should! Because in all reality, we are incredible. We are fighters. We are heroes. We teach, reach, and love. We should be proud of who we are and who we are becoming. We are beautiful. Confidence always shines through. And that confidence is beautiful. Megan A. is a writer, student, and friend who blogs at http://meganbethadventures.blogspot.com/ Share...

Taking Control: What I Learned from PKU

Taking Control: What I Learned from PKU

This isn’t fair! I hate this! It’s not my fault!” We’ve all felt this way at some time or another. Believe me, I’ve been tempted to feel this way as well. I have phenylketonuria or PKU, a rare metabolic disorder, which means my body can’t metabolize one of the amino acids in protein. Because of this, if I were to eat a normal amount of protein there would be a build up of this amino acid, phenylalanine, in my blood. This would cause brain damage and cognitive/emotional problems. Fortunately, just a few decades before I was born it was discovered that being on a low-protein diet for life can prevent this brain damage and people with PKU can have normal healthy lives. What this means for me is that I can’t eat meat or eggs or nuts or even cheese or pasta. I have never eaten a hamburger in my life! Also, in order to get the protein and other nutrients I need I have to drink 32 oz. of a not-so-delicious-tasting formula every day. Me with the formula I drink every day Now, before you start feeling sorry for me you should know that I am totally used to this and I have no problem with it. I have accepted PKU as the way my life is. Following the diet has allowed me to do everything I want to do in life. Being grateful for my situation has allowed me to be content. Helping others who have PKU gives me deep fulfillment and satisfaction. You may have a different challenge in your life than PKU, but we all have challenges outside our control. What we can control is how we react to them. Choosing Not to Be a Victim Complaining and giving up is one way to look at an undesirable situation. But it really doesn’t help you. If that is your outlook you are making yourself a victim of your circumstances. You are giving away your power to things that are outside of your control. Don’t be a victim. It may seem at times that the only way to get attention is to say something negative. I’ve even noticed that sometimes people who don’t know what to say to each other just complain about something and then they feel like they connect with a shared negative feeling. That type of connection isn’t very deep and doesn’t lead to genuine friendships. The truth is, everyone really likes being around a person who is positive and outward focused (meaning aware of those around them). Because PKU is a genetic disorder with no cure, there is literally nothing I can do to change it. If I went around hating that I had PKU every day, I would be pretty miserable. But I can choose my attitude. I can choose to stick to the diet that keeps my mind and body healthy. And I can choose to enjoy the foods I can eat, to be so grateful that I was born after treatment for this disorder was discovered, and to reach out to others who have it and try to help them embrace it as well. Locus of Control In psychology there is a term called locus of control. If you have a high outer locus of control you feel that most of your success, happiness, failure, or disappointment comes from circumstances outside of your control. This is being a victim. This leaves you at the mercy of what happens to you. Having a strong inward locus of control means you believe your choices and attitude determines what your life is like. This is empowering. I was diagnosed with PKU as a baby, so I wasn’t exactly thinking about locus of control at that point. But as I’ve grown up I’ve realized that this attitude has really made a difference in my life and that it can apply to other situations in life as well. Acceptance and Taking Control of Your Life Whenever you feel stressed or upset it may help to pause and consider these questions. What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way? What can I do about it? First you need to figure out what you’re actually feeling. Sometimes we get so busy we don’t have time to pause and think or realize how our feelings are affecting our behavior. This may cause us to take out our stress on those around us or place unfair blame on them. Once you’ve identified the feeling, determine why you are feeling that way. It may be a conversation at work that didn’t go very well, or an expectation you had that was disappointed....