Beliefnet
From 'Just Who Will You Be?' by Maria Shriver. Copyright (c) 2008 Maria Shriver. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.

We worry, "Am I fulfilling my parents' expectations of me?" "What will my friends think of the school I'm going to?" Later on we worry, "Will they like the person I fell in love with?" and "Will people be disappointed with my career choice?" And then it's "What will others think of the way I'm raising my kids?" Or "What will they think if I decide not to have kids? Or decide not to get married? What if I gain weight or show signs of aging?"
 
Well, I now see that who we are has nothing to do with any of that outside stuff. What I've learned on this journey is that I have worth as a human being—not just because of the job I have or the resumé or how I look or who I married or the family I was born into. I've learned we're all worthy of being loved just for being ourselves.
 
I've also learned it's OK to change. Sometimes it's not just OK, but mandatory. You can let go of some beliefs that maybe have served you well along the way, but just don't work for you anymore. We're supposed to grow and evolve. We have to give ourselves the permission and freedom to stay open to change.
 
I'm not talking about running away or having plastic surgery or a dye job. I'm not talking about throwing away our core principles and values and morals. I'm talking about exactly the opposite. I'm talking about letting life's experiences affect you and mature you.
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