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Welcome to Day 2 of the IN AWE 21-Day Challenge! Today, we spark inspiration, meaning and joy by cultivating ACCEPTANCE.

Do you look in the mirror and see what’s wrong? Do you cover up the scars, hide the wrinkles, cover up the mistake and cake on the makeup? Or do you celebrate who you are, the journey you’ve experienced and wisdom you’ve been given?

CHALLENGE: As the sun rises on your day, glance in the mirror and see the beauty not just the scars. Realize that you are enough.

INSPIRATION: Need more time to reflect? Meet my friend Leigh DuPriest + witness the freedom that comes with self-acceptance.

ACTION: Identify one thing you covered up in the past, that you choose to accept as a gift when you look in the mirror of your life today. A past experience, current issue or mask you’ve worn? Share in the comments below or on social media, tagging me + using #inawe.

My friend, today is your day!  Live IN AWE.
John O’Leary





Did you know? The 21-Day IN AWE Challenge is inspired by John’s book IN AWE. Order your copy + see all the fun behind the scenes at ReadInAwe.com.

61 replies on “In Awe 21-Day Challenge – Day 2”

Day 2. A past experience I choose to accept as a gift today is the many deaths of family friends and hospice patients I cared for in the past four years. By feeling the pain, crying the tears, and now to honor their memories by living my best life. This is a gift, I can live my best life to honor many that were cut short.

My past is a gift. It has made me who I am today. The things I have gone through: abuse, abandonment, and divorce have made me so much stronger as a female and a believer in Christ. I know these things were hard to experience and go through at the time, but I have no fear or shame in hiding them… these events within my past have made me the mom, the friend, the leader within my company that I am. I am blessed.

In the past I struggled with weight and tried to hide it (as best I could) my weight. after having children I started to gain weight and boy can I gain weight I am very good at it.

I often am not as out spoken as others, and I feel like should I say something just because others seem to have an opinion, but I like to listen to all perspectives or those presented and then decide where I land. I like to observe, listen, understand and then participate and engage. This non-reactive sense has proven helpful, though I need to continue to practice this with my kids (and husband) daily.

I will accept that I’m sometimes quiet. Instead of feeling awkward about my silence. I’ll embrace it. I soak up what others say and glean very useful information in my quiet listening.

I choose to accept that I have a stong character and allow my temper to take over, especially when my team does not perform the way I know they can.

I choose to take off the mask and accept that I struggle with depression. I know that the gift of sharing this with others is part of the path to joy.

I always covered up my face with makeup before going out to hide the bags and sometimes darkish circles, and occasionally I have gone out without any makeup but always felt ugly. As I am working on getting healthier and fitter, I am not concerned about going out now as I know my inner self is getting more beautiful every day.

I used to cover up depression, especially from my family I saw it as a weakness. My Mother, who is in her late 80’s has had a hard life and dealt with some devastating things over the years and doesn’t believe in depression! She’s from the “pull your socks up” era and this is what I believed until my sister died suddenly while I was pregnant with my first child – I was dealing with immense grief and Post natal depression – it was horrendous, and hidden. Today, I don’t hide what I went through and still go through, from time to time anymore – I use it to help and support other people and to let them know they are not alone.

My skin- having acne as a teenager really affected my confidence and I used to apply the thickest foundation to cover it up and hide it from the world making me appear more beautiful and confident. As I have gotten older I have accepted myself for who I am and I am not afraid now to go natural and not wear make up. My skin will never be perfect but what is perfection anyway.

That one thing I’ve tried to cover up is a scar I got from when I tried to commit suicide. When I was younger, I tried to slash my wrist hoping to die. My life was miserable and I didn’t see any reason to live. Now that Jesus pursued me, I accept it as a gift that reminds me that God isn’t done with me yet. He has more in store for me.

I always so myself not very beautiful because of my chic. I haven’t nice teeth too.
Now I want to accept my appearance, my jaw.
It is very important to me to look beautiful. I understand that I am pretty now, so I don’t want to be change myself anymore

My thighs – I have always been self-conscious of my thick thighs but even more so after an accident that tore the muscle and left an indentation all the way down my left inner thigh.
Today I accept my thighs as a part of who I am and as a reminder of how blessed I am to have full use my legs (and my hand, where all bones were broken)… and for the life I still get to live, when it was almost taken away.

I am an upbeat, optimistic person, but a lot of things happening lately – personally, at work and in the world at large – have really rattled me. I’m known for my smile and my laugh, but I felt like I was crying every day at some point for most of March and April. Somewhere around the 2nd or 3rd week of work from home, I decided if I felt like crying, I would just cry it out. I discovered others had been doing the same – struggling with trying to keep a smile on their face for their Zoom meeting, or for their kids or spouse. I accepted that sometimes I’m going to feel the feelings, and there will be salt water involved! I’ve accepted that the feelings come and go – and I’m still basically optimistic me.

Acceptance – what a challenge. Being a single parent at the age of 33 with an infant son was definitely not my life’s goal or dream. It has taken me a long time to realize that due to my personal experiences I am AOK. I raised my son totally on my own with full responsibility for his physical, emotional and mental well being. I finally accepted ME for ME and I learned to love and cherish myself and to be the best ME that I could be. Life is good and I daily choose to be joyful no matter the circumstances.

I have a large scar on my head, from having two brain surgeries. In the beginning, I learned, that when it was visible, people reacted strange and rude to it. So, I kept it covered. Now, I am not afraid to have it show. I do not always do this, but if it is visible, I am okay with it. I have learned how to appropriately respond, if anyone reacts strangely as well. I have accepted this part of who I am now.

I used to over eat due to feelings of insecurity about be the new kid and being accepted and then all of a sudden I was over weight and didn’t fit in even more
I have recently lost 60 pounds and realized that people loved me for who I was and that my weight didn’t make them not like me. They love me for who I was and hope I made them feel. Now I know that I am inspiring them That you have to live yourself to help yourself get to where you need to be.

I found this challenge very, well challenging! I kept trying today to come up with a once upon a time story about how I used to do this thing or that thing to cover up and hide myself. Then, the story would continue that one day I was able to make a 180 degree turn in my thinking. Finally, the conclusion of the story would reveal that now I love and accept myself about this thing. I can’t tell that story though.

I can tell myself that I know there have often been epiphanies along the way in my life. Bright ah-ha moments recalling how I had one perspective or another about myself and how in hindsight I often had realization that I actually…
– [ ] Wasn’t that fat
– [ ] Looked good in those jeans
– [ ] Am pretty
– [ ] Am capable of doing hard things
– [ ] Really do know what I’m doing
– [ ] Have a fresh and unique perspective and offer creative solutions to problems.
– [ ] Can tell that a little bounce in the boobs is attractive!
The problem is that the grace of these epiphanies is only given to former versions of me and it’s still withheld from current me.

My key take way from this moment of introspection is that I shouldn’t wait to admire myself in the rear view mirror. Life experience will always have you looking back at the evidence and realizing how hard you were on yourself. So learn the lesson that experience is TRYING to teach you, now! That is, go ahead and love yourself today, “as is”, be content that YOU are enough

I love this Kathi! I agree this was definitely a hard one, but in the final analysis as you said “hat is, go ahead and love yourself today, “as is”, be content that YOU are enough” Thanks!

I’ve covered up my true self for too long. I remember being told things as a kid that caused me to mute a little piece of myself.
As I got older, I then did things to fit in, like drinking and always wanting to be the life of the party. I am grateful that I can recognize these things by daily reflection and journaling. I’m not going to worry anymore about what other people thing….I’m just going to live as my true authentic self.

I want to live as myself too. I hate myself when I’m not a size 0. When I speak my mind, people seem so offended, so I often withhold my opinions. If I let loose and dance or yell, people laugh because it seems so out of character. So I stay prim and quiet and skinny and well dressed. And I’ve often drunk too much too to try to feel comfortable. I beat myself up working out and counting calories but time is catching up with me. As I near 50 my body is changing. My husband loves my body and I’m so afraid of disappointing him. I fear he won’t love me as gravity takes hold.

I am learning that it is ok to be me. I am not glamorous or a model but I am a beautiful person with a big heart. I am giving, sometimes to the detriment of my self so I am learning to set boundaries and accept that it is ok to say no and be ok with that.

I used to cover up my white hair, until about 2010, one of my hair dressers encouraged me to let it grow out. I wasn’t sure about this, but I thought, what the heck, if I don’t like it, I can always go back to coloring it. I don’t hear God’s audible voice, but every time I would think about coloring my white (not gray) hair, a stranger would come up to me and give me a compliment about my “lovely white hair”!! This didn’t happen just once, but several times! As a result, I never did go back to coloring my hair and now it is just a natural part of who I am!! I thank God for coloring my hair just the right shade!! 🙂

I’ve always hated wearing glasses and the way I look in them. When I was a senior in high school, I jumped at the opportunity to wear contacts. Almost 40 years later, even when I wear multi-focal contacts, I now need reading glasses for small print. So today I’m choosing to be thankful for my eye impairment and the ability to wear readily available glasses so I can see clearly. And my prayer is that God gives me lenses to view people and circumstances as He does. John’s first book, On Fire, has challenged me to see things differently. Just this week I was talking with my 3 teenage sons about choosing self-acceptance and asking them to share what makes them unique – the things about themselves they like and that they don’t – and challenging them to embrace, learn from and celebrate who they are as God continues to use their gifts and life experiences for our good and His glory if we allow Him to.

I used to put up a facade about being the super nice, funny, friendly person. Period. I didn’t really acknowledge any unhappiness, anxiety, depression because I didn’t think I had any reason to merit it. And being the fun guy, and relaxing to enjoy life was often tied up with alcohol which seemed to make it easier for me to maintain that image. I stopped drinking 12 months ago and have come to realize that deep down, I still am a fun and friendly person and that I don’t need any assist from alcohol. And in fact, it was contributing to my anxiety and depression that I hadn’t really accepted or understood. Now I can see that even fun and friendly people can suffer from anxiety and depression. But with counseling, medication, support from a loving wife, and the courage to change, life can get better!

I’ve always hid my feelings of not being enough. I’ve always felt not good enough as a parent, wife, friend, daughter, sister, not smart enough,not kind enough. I’ve hid those feelings all these years. The one blessing I’ve found through out all those feelings is that I’ve built a close relationship with God. I’ve learned to turn to Him when I feel like that. I’m learning to accept His humbling message for me.

If I’m being honest, I try to hide and cover-up my weight. I doubt that I’ve ever told anyone how much I weigh. I try to camouflage it with clothing, but I still know it is there. I can’t think of any reason to be grateful for it. I can try to accept it and the reality that I was just never meant to be thin. So as I continue to strive to lose weight I will try to accept where I am each day as the best me that day.

I have hidden my vulnerability with a mask of not needing anyone. I found out last year that the world didn’t stop when I let someone in. So I try to be grateful of the part of me that needs help

I appreciate and agree with most of what’s been previously posted in terms of body image and anxiety, but as I thought about this challenge I realized (and am ashamed) that what I’ve been covering up has to do with my faith. I quote Proverbs 3:5-6 as my “life verse” to others, but I’ve covered up that I don’t always live by this verse. I worry and try to control things, putting my faith in other lesser things. Today, I will start being more transparent that I don’t always trust, I do lean on my understanding without seeking His wisdom and perfect peace. And yet, because of His grace and mercy, I’m not only forgiven but able to accept this insight as a gift. John, thank you for your inspiration to think about such things and stand in awe.

Day 1 of 21 Day IN AWE challenge – My greatest adversity today is a lack of money – and this challenge really did force me to look at how that inspires me and that I am grateful for it. I am grateful for the stimulus check so I can help stimulate the economy – grateful for leaving my job when i did – I got my full payout which they do not do any longer & now I am part of a team that is helping the world continue now in these trying times – I am grateful that we have enough money to have 2 vehicles and that an accident didnt force us to go buy new – LacK of money has also got my spouse and i cooking together again instead of just running through a drivethru everynite — And I am grateful that this gives me a chance to refocus on the important things.

When I was younger, I struggled with being over weight, I hated looking in the mirror and felt unlovable which led to inappropriate sexual behaviors. Desperately looking for love through sex.
Today, I accept myself just as I am and love the person I’ve become.

I have worked to hide my anxiety in the past and still do now. I tell family and friends that all is great when that may not be the case. I don’t want to unload on them or give them more information than they bargained for when they asked, “How are you doing?” However, after reflecting on how I have dealt with this over the years, I realize the importance of not hiding it, but focusing on the good that is happening and reaching out to my sister or talking with my husband. Keeping it all inside has proven not to work well in the past.

Typically I would never head out the door without doing my makeup and hair. Now it just doesn’t seem that important. Not that I’m going many places (groceries once a week). But really, who cares. On Tuesday I will miss my first hair appointment (and maybe my next–scheduled for May 16th). There are some gray roots starting to show near my scalp. It’s the real me. Maybe it’s the new me.

I’m not sure how to view this as a gift yet, but when I look at myself, I see someone who is almost always very restrained. My wife says that I was born 40. I take life too seriously and struggle to let my inner child free. I have and continue to strive to take the chains off and be free and open for others to see my vulnerabilities but definitely still a work in progress. The gift today is that I see it and acknowledge it publicly.

I used to hate the way my toes looked, I never wanted to wear open-toe shoes, but, now I enjoy a pedicure and show them off all summer long. I’ve embraced them and stopped worrying about what other people may think.

I had a feeling of being left out due to that so many of my friends and people in my school came from a wealthy background. It made me shy away from doing things, like trying out for cheerleading ,etc. I am conscious of that today and I encourage my students now in high school to try out and do things in high school. I feel like we have an equal opportunity in my small school environment. I believe I became a high school counselor to share and encourage others, since that was a hard time for me.

Its easy for me to think of masks,etc. Not so easy for me to think of some of my flaws as a gift. I have a lot of free time in the summer because i teach. Since the virus it has felt like summer except activities are limited because of social distancing and businesses being closed. i guess the acceptance can be my spiritual reading, educational reading and other reading to improve myself.

I see flaws and memories come back to me looking in the mirror. The biggest lately is that I’ve either given up on things in my past and I see that it’s time that I get back on it as I see how much time has gone by and I’ve not believed in myself enough to push through. Many things are pointing to me that I need to and want to keep working towards some dreams and goals. One BIG thing with the lock-in that we all see to be on, is that I’ve had not only the time to think about it, but the time to move forward on things…. all from the man in the mirror. 😉

We all want to fit in and be liked. I learned over time that if you are a perfect strawberry with the right taste, shape, color and the person doesn’t like strawberries. It makes no difference, be the best you that you can be.

I had a feeling of being left out due to that so many of my friends and people in my school came from a wealthy background. It made me shy away from doing things, like trying out for cheerleading ,etc. I am conscious of that today and I encourage my students now in high school to try out and do things in high school. I feel like we have an equal opportunity in my small school environment. I believe I became a high school counselor to share and encourage others, since that was a hard time for me.

I used to always hide my anxiety from people and pretend that it didn’t exist. I’d act like everything was fine when inside I was struggling. But as the years have gone by, I have been able to see my anxiety as a gift (most days, not all!). My anxiety has forced me to look into myself and identify the root of it. By realizing the root, I can help myself understand why I have anxiety. I have also been forced to try lots of different tools and strategies to help alleviate my anxiety. I have done SO much personal work on myself which I never would have done unless I had anxiety!!

When I was at my body’s weakest and vulnerable with this horrible invisible myositis disease, very few people other than immediate family and medical staff saw me because we were warned to avoid most public places and sick people because ANY infection would land me back in the hospital. We hunkered down. (Funny how often I’ve heard that word recently.)Then as I recovered enough to go out to church again, many people would say “you look so good”. Seems harmless enough, but I cringed a bit and silently said, ‘tell my body!” Now as I see others with known (and unknown) health issues I prefer a comment like “I am so glad to see you” I try to understand that everyone is fighting some kind of internal battle and not take “looks” comments too seriously. I accept and believe God blessed my doctors to find the right diagnosis and aggressive treatment plan. My response at this point in my life is to manage NAM as best as I can and be supportive of the autoimmune population and caregivers dealing a new normal. After the corona crisis is past, our autoimmune friends will still warrior on.

When I look in the mirror, I find that sometimes I don’t feel good about myself as I’ve struggled with my weight for many years. I have grown to realize that it doesn’t make me who I am nor does it impact what I’m going to accomplish in life. Last year, I was diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer at the age of 41 and it made me realize that nothing matters except being present. I work hard each day to be present and do whatever task I’m working on with others intently and not stray.

I don’t have something specific to share, but my husband changed my perspective on this several years ago. Somehow the conversation with a group of friends turned to regrets. When someone asked him if he had things in his past that he would undo to do differently, he said that he probably wouldn’t, because everything in our past has helped shape who we are. The conversation then turned to how God can take ANY circumstance and use it for good (even if we don’t see it at the time).

I’ve learned through some friends that it’s not about how you look, it’s about how much fun you are and the kindness you display. Yes, people are first drawn to you by your appearance but given time, more are attracted by personality. When you can be transparent and allow people to see all your flaws they feel more comfortable in allowing you into their world. It’s just easier and it deepens your relationships. Of course, I do care about my hygiene and looking presentable but not to a point that it keeps me from enjoying life. I love to just love on people without any expectations of getting something in return. It is so freeing! No disappointments and it’s amazing seeing people react to kindness, especially when they aren’t being kind. The people who are meant to be in your life will be there and the people who aren’t, won’t. Don’t be offended by those who don’t value your kindness or friendship. Just let them go.

On a literal level, I try and cover up my wrinkles and any other imperfections on my face using makeup, Botox, microderms, or any other promising products out there (with the exception of a face lift). I’ve been told I don’t look my age, so I try to keep up with this illusion by doing these things. Does it make me feel better? YES, but it also makes me feel “old” when I can see the wrinkles under these cover-ups. Does this imply I’m covering other issues that aren’t just skin deep? If I look at my imperfections as “life lines” rather than “battle scars” maybe this will change my perception? Hmmm…something to ponder.

This is a tough one. I see many flaws when I look in the mirror. None of these are real. I struggle accepting myself for who I am. Some days are better than others and due to a lot of inner work I have more positive days. You would not know this if you knew me since I come across very self confident. This is a work in progress and people like John and others help me realize how fortunate I am and to live an inspired life!!

This is difficult. Admitting things “out loud” make it seem very real and bring up some sad memories. It’s still not something I am comfortable in addressing. It’s a process. Growing up the oldest of five kids in a small house was no big deal but being a teenager with a mom, who was brilliant but bipolar was really tough. It wasn’t easy to explain why my mom was always yelling, why her moods changed at the drop of a hat, why she was frequently hospitalized, why I had to take care of the younger kids, not being able to fully engage in the “normal” process of being a kid and why she would hit first and ask questions later. In reflection, I gained many skills that I treasure today. I hold dear the bond I have with my siblings. I appreciate my positive attitude and know the person I am today is a result of my early experiences. Not easy, not fun, but part of the foundation of the person I have become and I like that person very much.

Accepting Money struggles. There are many times where making ends meet means being really resourceful in feeding my kids with what I have in the house. Now staring down the barrel of 2-3 weeks at home, I’m seeing this resourcefulness as a gift. I know how to cook, make pantry staples in to good meals. I’m not reliant on processed things and I’m not panicked about how we will eat. When I couldn’t afford a gym membership, I ran laps on my block so my younger kids could see me. Today with my gym closed, I’m running outside again, doing basic exercise. It feels good to be resourceful and to know we will be ok.

Aside from my weight which is a very visible flaw that has made me feel less than positive, The thing that I have kept secret from just about everyone is that a very very rarely say what I am really feeling. I am either unsure of how it will be taken, or unsure of the topic being discussed, I worried about hurting someone’s feelings. I have spent my very long life saying and doing what others expect of me.

My Coverup-Day 2
How ironic that yesterday’s topic of my struggle was acceptance and today that is your challenge for Day 2.

I suppose longing for acceptance is common for all of us.

My laughter, my smile, reassurance to those I love, that I am, “fine, alright, ok, etc…” had really been a coverup to my anxiety and depression.
In recent months I have accepted my inner pain because it allowed me to listen to what was surrounding me. I realized I was the creator of my own truth. That’s when it occurred to me that all along God had been feeding my heart and I had known the truth all along. How freeing!

I’ve tried to hide the shame I have for my body – I’m not thin, I’m short so that extra 15 pounds is more noticeable, I’m not fit enough, etc. In the last few years, I’ve focused on treating myself better, eating more intentionally to stay healthy and being proud of the person I see.

Well, when I look in the mirror, what I see is that I’m not good enough. That’s what every day’s activities covers up and tries to aspire toward changing. Not good enough as a friend, not good enough in my fitness level, not good enough in my business, not good enough in my financial situation, not good enough in my day job, not good enough in getting things done, not good enough in my looks, etc.
I’ve been told that over and over in my life, very often my own voice being the loudest one, and I’ve come to believe it too deeply. It’s not true. Deep down I know that and am affirmed often by those who know me well and speak truth into my life. I am good enough! I am someone who values growth and moving forward. Have I arrived? No. But I’m a great friend, employee, giver, listener. I’m loyal. I have a strong faith in the One who put me here, and draw those around me to consider this in their lives. I am trustworthy, ethical, compassionate. I am appreciative of the amazing things I get to experience every day of my life. I’m a reflector and engager in conversations toward continued growth. I continue to move forward. I need to go back to the mirror and tell myself these things…every day!

Great challenge today…
I have to be myself on the platform. I’ve found that it’s so exhausting to try to be something you are not.
Since my school-age days, I’ve tried hard to be someone else.
I have to give that up! I don’t have the same boldness that I did earlier in life. And that is causing me to doubt myself and what I am capable of accomplishing.
My biggest fear is that no one will find value in who I am or would hire me and bring me in if I was as authentic as I know that I should be.

I used to cover up acne on my face with makeup until I realized it didnt make it go away. I accepted that this is my skin and this is how it looks. I freed myself from daily makeup and in turn have felt lighter all around.

I used to hid my struggles after a car accident left me worth a brain injury. I felt like it made me dumb. I had a stutter and the words wouldn’t come to me as easy. I used to be an excellent speller and now I look words up frequently. I’m still dealing with and accepting different things but never stopping the healing and improving. I embrace the new me. I find humor in it and I have become more passionate. I look for ways to help people in my situation, help them embrace the new person they are and also how to never stop healing and improving. Life is the best!

I am one of those who, on the outside, look like everything is OK and all is well. Inside, I’m a mess. I worry about a lot of things, overthink almost everything, am lazy and really don’t have it all together at all. I’m like a duck — on the surface, all looks good, but underneath, I’m paddling like the dickens. I’m learning to be more real with myself and others, but it’s not easy.

Lori, thank you for sharing so vulnerably! It’s okay to be messy and not okay – and I’m so happy that you are learning to be more real. Enjoy the process, my friend. Often times the most important things are not the easy thing. J

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