“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman, theologian.
Did you ever feel or think “I know exactly WHAT I need to do to be (insert goal here).” Mine was always the same (healthy and happy)… But then you lose your way, or life gets busy and you do exactly the opposite of what you know you SHOULD do? I have spent most of my life doing that exact thing but I think I have found the missing pieces of the puzzle.
In the last 24 hours I have started and finished the book “The Gifts of Imperfection.” by Brene Brown. It is about embracing your vunerabilities and fears and letting go of who you THINK you SHOULD be and just BE WHO YOU ARE.
I realized something while reading the book. Something huge. Something that will change my life forever…
I have spent my whole life trying to be the person I think I should be, or what I believed others wanted me to be. I did that by changing and molding to the people that were around me. As authentic as I am as a person, I have always wanted to make people happy… so I molded to their opinions of me. I would also need their approval for decisions I made. I never trusted my own gut. As authentic as I believe I have been my whole life, that authenticity was based on others opinions of me. A very small number of people actually know ME.
There is something terrifying about putting yourself out there and being ok with who you are. Making your own decisions. Being authentic means that when someone hurts you, or you make a bad decision, or you fail it’s on YOUR BACK. It’s all real. It is raw. And it hurts when it doesn’t work out.
The funny thing is that the decisions I have made without approval (and sometimes against the advice of my advisors) have been the best decisions of my life. They involved BIG RISK and they were SCARY. But as scary as they were, and how doubtful I was about following my gut… I did. I followed what my heart, my head, and my gut was saying… and I will forever be greatful that I had the courage to do so.
Some (including the people I used to listen to) would call it stupidity. Going against the norm.
Every decision that has been courageous and involved risk brought me closer and closer to me. To who I want to be.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work to becoming yourself” – Anna Quinlen
It is a work in progress. When I feel very vunerable I start to doubt myself and those huge decisions… which will usually lead me into a “Shame Spiral” and I start to panic… which usually causes me to make bad decisions. I eat or drink booze to fill the void or even worse I just shut down and do NOTHING. Wasting time doing mindless things to avoid feeling the pain.
I was going to list the things that put me into this spiral but I have come to realize that they are super personal and to be kept to the ones close to me. But I will say it usually goes something like this… “Who is going to love the real me and everything that comes with it and am I ever going to be the person I want to be…and usually also includes something about being able to afford my life and dying alone.” Something like that but with more detail.
The point is that we all feel that way… even the most successful people, the happy ones, the ones that seem to have it all put together. They don’t. No one does. They have insecurities, and struggle. And if they don’t…well… they all fart and poop and have all probably had diarrhea. So there. No one is perfect. And it’s the ones that pretend to be that you should be weary of.
So learn to trust yourself, find your gut and go forth in the world with gusto and pride. Be silly, be yourself. Some people might not like you… and that’s ok. Some people might think you are crazy, or stupid.
I think you are courageous.
There is nothing more courageous then being yourself.
Brene Brown describes hope as having the ability to set realistic goals, figuring out how to acheive those goals (including being flexibile and having alternate routes), and believing we can do it.
So in her words “Hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities”.
So be authentic, courageous, and have hope. It won’t always be sunshine and rainbows but there is no better feeling then self-love and acceptance.
“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want.” -Margaret Young
Note: This post was inspired by the book “The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and all quotes come from the book. If you liked this post you would LOVE this book.