Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Year’s Resolution for Everyone: Dare to be YOU

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." ~e.e. cummings


It’s 2010, a new year. And I’ve been thinking a lot about being my authentic self and the beautiful power I can lend to my life if I refuse to be anything but ME this year. Maybe you’ve been thinking the same thing. And if you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to set out on this lifelong adventure.

I read… well, a lot. And I am always looking for passages in literature and spiritual texts, poems, or even songs that will be an inspirational catalyst for my week. A smattering of words have been floating around in my head as of late, and it’s funny they come from such disparate sources, but yet they share a powerful message and give me a great deal of clarity on the subject.

Here’s a few:

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."
~Romans 12:2

“Who says I can’t be free
From all of the things that I used to be?
Re-write my history.
Who says I can’t be free?”
~John Mayer

“Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
‘Cause there’s a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are…

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
‘Cause there’s a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be YOU, be YOU
‘Cause there’s a million things to do
You know that there are…”
~Cat Stevens

I’ve noticed several things about myself in my 27th year. I am a people pleaser. Simply put, I want to—no I have to—be genuinely liked. I hate conflict; it actually makes me sick to my stomach. And lastly, I am a hopeless perfectionist with impossible standards for myself. This combination of attributes causes me a good deal of emotional difficulty. I bristle at the thought of upsetting someone I respect or like. My mind spirals into “what ifs” if things go down an unexpected path or can’t be easily prepared for, and I am always preparing for the worst-case scenario once I enter my “stress zone.” If I have to work with difficult people, I let their bad attitudes or drama affect my well-being, or worse, I let them walk on me just to maintain some peace. So at the cost of compromising my sincere self, I have been quick to hide parts of me, bite my tongue, build walls, or even allow people (not the ones that matter, sadly) to take advantage of me or mistreat me. I think we've all done it a time or two. I know I’ve leveraged myself at the cost of making others “happy.” Well this behavior is NO MORE, my friends. I am all about respect and love and peace, but sometimes, I’ve got to grow a backbone and dare to be myself, even if it means people will talk.

So, I’m doing it! I am going to be me. I am going to protect my heart, my motives, my life, and my choices. I am going to be me, unapologetically. I am going to think for myself, speak for myself, and live my life. If it offends someone that I actually stand up to them or dare to have a differing opinion from them, so be it. We only live this life once, right? And who are we truly living it for? Strangers? Colleagues? Bosses? Acquaintances? I hope not. We are living our lives for a higher-calling, for God, for family, for our children, for ourselves. They know us; they love us, and it’s because we are who we are. So why change it, mute it, or hide it?

My mother always says, and a wise woman she is, that “even in the face of adversity or judgment, you are still God’s child.” No one can deplete or deny your humanity. So please, be you! I know that this year, I am going to be me in every circumstance because I have to believe that in being my true, authentic self, I am leaving a legacy for my future children, my family, and the ones I love most in this life…

“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.” ~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"

3 comments:

  1. i really dig your stuff. all of it, but i randomly decided to put my comment on this one. i'm new to the blog scene. friends suckered me into it, and now i really enjoy it, especially when i come across ones like yours. i hope we can talk some time and you could, perhaps, help me with my blog and make me feel less retarded with it. haha. anyway, my name is troy and i'm at: exmypa.blogspot.com . hope you follow me and critique me so we will have more to talk about. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. yeah, good post and true too. we need to be ourselves even when it's not easy.

    ReplyDelete

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