Finding Myself - How I Became Who I Want To Be
"Sometimes in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself."
- Katherine Sharp
I read this article in a website... Just read it... Interesting...
Before I turned forty, I never thought to ask myself if this is the life I want or if this is the real me. To be asking these questions would have sounded rather silly. Why wouldn't this be what I wanted? I am living this life, am I not? Why wouldn't this be me? Who else am I supposed to be?
Something about turning forty and nearing midlife, however, shoves these questions right at you and pushes you to confront your naked self. Sometimes, the awakening happens gently but if you're like me who can be slow on the uptake, life ultimately strikes you so hard that you land on bended knees. Like what happened to me.
At first I didn't heed the pebbles life threw at me to catch my attention. Then the stones came, cracking my facade wide open. Eventually, the intensity of the breaking forced me to see the shape shifter I had become. I had let others define me and had shaped my life and designed myself according to their expectations, specifications and standards.
Understand and prioritize roles
Deep within must have been an unconscious desire to impress and to win others approval. And so, depending on whom I was dealing with, I'd play a role and take on a certain form. Sometimes, I was daughter, at others, wife, then friend, mother, teacher, student, Catholic, woman, and so on. But regardless of the role, I strove to be the ideal every time.
In my mind, some kind of rule was always dictating my behavior. These rules which were self-imposed or imposed by others convinced me I needed to be a certain size, shape, weight, look, personality and had to be beyond reproach in order to be accepted. I felt like a robot, responding mechanically to internal and external stimuli as though someone had lodged a software program between my ears when I wasn't looking.
Rigidity characterized my life yet I was oblivious of it. I felt claustrophobic but I couldn't figure out why. I just felt driven to please people, disowning my opinions and convictions and putting myself last, as I tried to perform all my different roles. I was striving to be perfect but deep inside I was a mess and a mass of contradictions. This was not only exhausting and constricting but also painful.
By the time I realized this wasn't the life or the "me" I wanted, my true self was almost beyond recognition.
There's no one else like you, so create the best version of you
To get me on track, every so often life would nudge me gently. But I guess I wasn't just in deep slumber. I must have been comatose because life had to hit me hard, push me against the wall, knock me off my feet and beat me up several times to rouse me from my stupor.
It took several humbling experiences, illness, family crises, and an almost 360-degree turnaround from a life that promised worldly success to a simple one before I finally faced who I had become.pawn-queen-shadow
As I stared appalled at this pitiful imitation of my true self, I knew I had to strip myself of all that were false and inauthentic. I also knew I had to pick up and take back all the pieces of the real me that I had lost or given away to others out of fear.
Reclaiming my true self demanded much courage and strength. But I had to do it despite my fears and even if it meant having to hurt the people I loved because I made them uncomfortable with the changes happening to me.
You're never as good or as bad as people say
People around me had difficulty accepting I was no longer the people-pleaser I used to be: the one who was so careful about going against the norm, convention, tradition, about defying authority, or offending anybody; the one who wanted everyone to accept and like her, and who couldn't sleep when someone didn't.
They found it hard to accept this person who's now willing to upset the apple cart, question authority, speak her own mind, stand for what she believes and go after her dreams. The change wasn't easy for me, either, but I knew I couldn't find peace unless I embrace my true self.
No need to prove your worth to the world
Experience had taught me the painful but liberating lesson that what's fundamental is not how others see or value me, but how I see and value myself. If I'm okay with myself, then that should be fine with the rest of the world.
In any case, the rest of the world can just come and go in my life as they please. Whereas I, I'm the one who's here for the long haul - the one who has to live with myself for the rest of my life. I might as well show up as myself instead of all those inauthentic versions of me others want me to be.