My 20-year class reunion was last weekend.
Look at those women in the photo on the right. Aren't they gorgeous? I think so.
But, to be quite honest, I probably wouldn't have said such a thing 25 years ago.
Grade school, junior high and parts of high school were miserable times for me.
I couldn't talk to just anyone the way I thought Jill and Michelle could.
I didn't have the guts to tell people what I really thought of them the way I thought Robin could.
I couldn't play any sport well like everyone knew Stephanie could.
I didn't have Kristin's smarts.
I didn't have Angie's charisma.
And like all girls that age, we each had our cliques. While I spent a lot of time with Kristin, Angie (and Susan, Susan and Lori - pictured there -->), I probably spoke only a handful of words to the others in the years that we were in class together.
At the time, I saw them as part of "the popular crowd." I wasn't that.
Wasn't pretty. Wasn't smart. Wasn't someone people wanted to be around.
I'd gone to school with most of these people for 12 years, and I knew where I belonged. I belonged to that group of people in life that always struggled to squeak by.
I could try really hard to keep my head above water financially. I could try to lose weight. I could try to have the perfect home, drive the perfect car and raise the perfect kids. I could even try to write a book.
But I would always be broke. Always be fat. Always want for the things that were just out of reach. And I could write that book, but it would never be published.
Because I couldn't break the mold of my own perception. In my mind, I was and would always be all of those things.
Then earlier this year, I interviewed a therapist who told me emotional and spiritual depression is the result of believing nothing will ever change. She then asked, "What makes someone think life has to be a certain way?"
And the only response I could think of was: "That's the way it's always been."
For some reason, that conversation caught in my ear. I replayed it over and over, until suddenly I applied it to my own situation. Then I was embarrassed to realize I'd let an insecure junior high girl -- who had acne and was afraid to admit she'd had her period -- form those perceptions.
I completely ignored all of the struggles and accomplishments I'd survived since those "good ol' days" at Sacred Heart.
I've done some pretty cool things in my life. I have some pretty awesome stories to tell.
With that realization, the first step toward emotional peace became as clear as western Nebraska highway in the heat of summer.
It was time to toss out the invalid perceptions that kept me in spinning my wheels in the same old rut.
On Monday: You can see the rut you're in. Now, how do you get out?
In the meantime, talk to me. Leave a comment below. Tweet at me. Find me on Facebook. Or send me an email and tell me: What are some of the false perceptions you have about yourself?