Be yourself. – Not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be. – Henry David Thoreau
Are you yourself? Well sure, last time I looked in the mirror. I get that, but are you really you? I suppose to answer that question you have to have a really good handle on who you are first.
Most of my life has been spent trying to “be” somebody. That somebody was based on my perception of what I thought my parents, grandparents, society wanted. Upstanding, hard working, salary earning, mortgage owning, new car buying someone. The thought was, if I can achieve this, I can hold my head up and be proud of my accomplishments.
At 26 I decided I wanted to be a nurse. I was a single parent of three young children at the time. I needed a good paying job, and I like to help people. These were good reasons, yet in the back of my mind a scene played out over and over. I saw my mother talking on the phone telling everyone how successful I was, how well I was doing (money) for myself, and how proud she was of me. I didn’t make it through nursing school. It wasn’t the book work, shots, the yucky stuff. I could handle that. It was catheters. They did me in. I just couldn’t do it.
At thirty, I decided I was going to go to real estate school. I was going to sell houses and make six figures a year. The same scenario with my mother played over in my head. I did well. I passed my test with flying colors and got my license. I returned to the broker my license was under and was handed a phone and a chair, and was told “There you go. You’re all set.” That was the extent of my training.
“But wait a minute.” I said, “I need a paycheck.”
“You have to sell a house first.”
“But that could take weeks.”
“Welcome to real estate. Oh and you need to cover the phone at the front desk every other Sunday.”
Did I really want to be a real estate agent?
Who is the everyone my mother is talking to in my scenario? Who are all these people and why does it matter what they think. It doesn’t. And frankly, it doesn’t matter what my parents think either. nor the pastor, the neighbor, or our second cousin. Nope. Doesn’t matter. They can think what they want, talk all they want, but at the end of the day they aren’t living my life. The whole point being. . .this was my perception. Maybe they didn’t think anything, but for many years it mattered to me.
It’s not just about career choice either. Those are just the examples I used. Maybe it’s sexual orientation. Maybe you want to move to Peru and hand pick coffee beans. Maybe you want to die your hair blue. Maybe you want to shave your head and sing Hare Krishna. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if your parents go into hysterics, the PTA president faints dead away, or the elderly neighbor lady crosses herself every time she sees you.
True joy will never come from being something or not being something that isn’t authentically you. Give yourself permission right this minute to be you. Wholly, completely, wonderfully, authentically you. No apologies necessary,
And you know something. I am somebody. I’ve always been somebody. And so are you.
Wishing you a magic filled day,