Have you ever wanted to become somebody else?
Perhaps you’re at a party and a friend starts telling hilarious jokes or pulls out her best French accent. You suddenly wish you knew more jokes or had a fun accent ready to go as well.
Then you’re scrolling through Facebook and you see an acquaintance with a perfect bikini body who always seems to be drinking Mai Tais in Cancun. And/or you’re slammed with post after post of perfect engagements or amazing job titles. You wonder why you’re single and pasty white from lack of beach time fun..and also, how come you never tried to become an opera singer? Why didn’t you have the idea 10 years ago to begin computer programming or get an MBA?
Jane recently wrote about five things you should leave behind in your twenties. “Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated” slammed me in the face as the hardest lesson I’ve grappled with this year. It’s a difficult lesson when you’re constantly unsure how to celebrate yourself…because you’re not exactly sure who it is you’re celebrating.
I’m an extremely curious person and I’ve spent a lot of life wanting to be everyone at the same time. I’m in a state of constant wonderment about other lifestyles, other careers, and other ways of living. I make decisions about who I am slowly and carefully…and as I’m trying to pick a lifestyle from an endless array of choices, I ignore the lifestyle I’m already living. The hardest person for me to see has always been myself.
As I’ve realized this in my absolute latest twenties, life has gotten slightly easier. Maybe I don’t have to be the person who has tons of jokes up her sleeve or can command a room with a party quirk…maybe I can keep my natural ways of being a great listener and observer instead. That’s more the person I organically am.
And when I turn away from Facebook for awhile, and alternatively enjoy a morning mediation, I even feel comfortable alone with myself in the moment, far away from the stress of who I might become.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve had trouble knowing how to celebrate yourself. A major key is to find the difference between two desires: the desire to better who you are and the desire to become a different person. One desire is healthy and will push you forward (even though it may feel scary and difficult at times), but the other desire will scatter your energy and throw you out of balance …because it isn’t you.
Bettering yourself can mean anything from embracing your natural tendency towards unique clothing choices to signing up for a half marathon because you love running to letting yourself feel confident while remaining silent. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not naturally sarcastic, or naturally size 0, or a naturally a great software developer.
Yes, of course you can change, but it’s easiest to change into the best version of the self that comes naturally, easily, when no one is looking.
Celebrate that person, no matter where and who you are right now.