Who the hell am I, anyway? This is a the central question I’ve been trying to answer over these last few months. Really, I guess it’s a question I’ve been trying to answer all of my life. Except recently, I’ve begun to define the answer differently.
For so much of my life, I believed I was whoever each person thought I was. If someone thought badly of me then I must be bad. If someone was angry at me then I must be irritating. If someone thought I was boring then I must be boring. But if someone laughed at my jokes then I was funny. If someone liked me a lot then I was likeable. And if someone loved me then I was lovable.
So, to gain people’s approval I would always try my hardest to do what I thought others wanted me to do. Or I’d just shy away.
At times, I became very good at reading crowds or rooms or even a single person. I think that’s what makes me a good public speaker. You want me to speak on a topic? Oh good! I don’t even have to guess what people want. If they showed up to hear me speak then I know what they want. And I can give that to them. Gladly.
But walking into bars or parties is much different. So, I’d always tend to be quiet and reserved. Better for people to now have any thing to judge then to judge me harshly. Right?
I get that there is a certain amount of personality tied into this too. Some people are just quiet and reserved. It’s who they are. And I guess sometimes I would rather be quiet and left alone. But there are also plenty of times when I felt uncomfortable being quiet. I wanted so badly to talk to a stranger or to participate in a conversation with a group of people whom I barely knew. I wasn’t happy being quiet and closed off. Quite the opposite.
But I feared what people would think of me. And I was absolutely affected by other people’s judgement of me.
Now, I have begun to see that all that matters is how I perceive myself. And that is beginning to open-up doors inside of me. And I bet it’s going to open doors outside of me too. I can already feel it changing me.
But it’s a slow process. And the key to the process is being patient and being compassionate with myself. For me, the patience and the compassion are both necessary and I need to practice them together. I know I won’t always act (or think) according to who I want to be. So, I need to be okay with myself when I act in a way that isn’t consistent with who I want to be. And I need to be be patient, knowing that I will act more and more like myself as time goes by. By being patient and compassionate with myself, I give myself permission to be a “different” person sometimes because I recognize that I’m human and that means not always being consistent.
This actually leads to another idea that I’ve been thinking about: We are all made-up of multiple layers within our mind. I won’t call it split personalities. Maybe united personalities is better? I think so. Because we are all a collection of multiple personalities. Really. And I mean that in the most un-crazy way possible. To me, right now in this space and time, it’s more healthy to act differently at different times.
I’m not saying that I should act completely out of character. Meaning, I’m not saying I should act like different people. But I am saying that I won’t be completely consistent at all times. That means I don’t need to try to “act” like myself. Never. Not ever.
I just need to live my life. To lead with love and live my truth. And that will automatically mean I am being who I am. That is who I am. And that is who I want to be.