Advice all of us have heard at one point or another in our lives. But no one explains how to follow this insightful advice. For those of you who aren’t sure where to start, I offer this more specific advice.
Instead of trying to be yourself, know what you aren’t.
In watching those around me I’ve noticed that when people disregard the values they know they have, they lose who they thought they were. By letting other people tell them who they should be, they let go of what they could be and become what someone else wants them to be. I’ve found that by identifying and accepting what I am not, I can stay truer to what I think I am.
To be more specific, I know I’m not super outgoing. I can’t just strike up a converstation with a complete stranger without feeling incredibly nervous. Once I accepted that, I stopped holding myself up to those standards of beings outgoing. I knew better how I could expect myself to act because I eliminated one major possibility.
Now, it’s taken me a long time to realize this. I couldn’t see this in high school and even not until sometime this year. I tried to do many things someone else told me to do, without considering what I thought I should do. I ended up quite miserable. The only time I felt at peace, like myself, was when I wrote.
Creative Writing classes quickly became my safe haven. I knew I could express myself there, so I did. Everywhere else I felt like a shell, only a fraction of who I thought I truly was.
I knew I wasn’t a girl that chased after boys; well, part of me did. But I tried to force myself to do it anyways. I chased after boys and hurt when they didn’t chase me back.
Only after a relationship full of guilt did I realize and respect that I could not be that girl. I couldn’t chase after boys just to be with one.
That’s another important part of remembering who you are. Once you know who you aren’t, you have to respect that knowledge. I know I’m not a visual artist, so I don’t beat myself up when I can’t draw a horse.
Now if you aren’t something, but you want to be, know that you can probably get there. But becoming someone or something else will NEVER happen overnight or without a great amount of work. I could be a visual artist if I wanted, but I would have to practice my skill and actually want to be a visual artist. It’s not someone I wish to pursue, so I will not become it.
From observation, I know I am not:
-a visual artist
-a musical genuis
-a traditional girl
-someone who opens up easily to others
This is what I do know about myself:
-I love writing and I’m good at it
-I’m meant to give truth to the world
-I feel emotions deeply
-I’m fiercely loyal to those who’ve earned my loyalty
-I can see in many ways.
People are complex. It will take our entire life time to know who we are, let alone someone else. But when we know who we aren’t and we steer away from decisions and paths that will take us closer to those things we know we aren’t, we can better know who we are. We can find a peace and not feel so guilty about our decisions later on in life.