Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken
“The day you find yourself will be the most beautiful day, because after that – you will never accept less than what you deserve. – Ruby Dhal
It’s not about “finding yourself” in the terms of you being lost. It’s about remembering yourself – finding that person you were before life started shaping and molding you into who others wanted you to be. There are so many stories of people who go through the proverbial hero’s journey to re-discover and fully accept who they are.
“Don’t spend all of your time trying to FIND yourself. Spend your time CREATING yourself into a person that you’ll be proud of.” – Unknown
From earliest childhood we all knew that one of my sisters was gay. But she never acknowledged it. When she got married we were all shocked. My mom tried to talk to her about it, but my sister just pushed it away. She had a daughter Kelly, and when Kelly was around 4-5 years old my sister was in a car accident. She had fallen asleep at the wheel and went off a ravine. She spent over 6 months in a hospital for back injuries learning how to crawl. She was diagnosed as a parapalegic and told she would never walk again. All those months in the hospital and almost dying scared her enough that she finally came to terms with her sexuality.
You hear similar stories, like the man who was in college to be a lawyer. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 6 months to live. He quit school and started playing the violin. He loved music and it gave him great happiness and joy. 6 months passed, then a year. His cancer had went into remission. He continued his musical career and left behind the legal field that his parents wanted for him.
“There will be very painful moments in your life that will change your entire world in a matter of minutes. These moments will change you. Let them make you stronger, smarter, and kinder. But don’t you go and become someone that you’re not. Cry. Scream if you have to. Then you straighten out that crown and keep moving.” – Unknown
Both these examples highlight, that it wasn’t a matter of the person not knowing themselves. It was a matter of accepting who they were, and pursuing what made them happy. As children you learn to please others. To put others desires above our own. You have to unlearn the thought that pursuing what makes you happy is somehow selfish and wrong.
“Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self – the one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” – Kristin Hannah
When people are in hospice or extended care through the transition of life, the most common thing that they regret are the things they didn’t do for themselves. The things that others wouldn’t have approved of. They realize how much they missed of the life they really wanted to live. That belief that they weren’t good enough or deserving of the happiness that they saw in others lives. They let their fears of judgement and insecurities hold them back.
“To work on yourself is the best thing you can do. Accept that you are not perfect, but you are enough. And then start working on everything that destroys you. Your insecurities, your ego, your dark thoughts. You will see, in the end you’re going to make peace with yourself. And that’s the greatest thing in the world.” – DogTrainingObedienceschool. com
It’s extremely important to accept and acknowledge who you are. To live your own life, your own way – without regret. Let go of the compulsion to conform. Instead be drawn, pulled in the directions of what you love. Creativity, curiousity, exploring playfully whatever grabs your attention.
When my kids were small, I put off writing until they were all in school. Then with working fulltime and having 4 kids, I put off writing until they were all grown up. By that time, the habit was to put off writing for the magical someday, when I had the time. Then my nephew was murdered and the only way I could process the grief was writing. I started posting what I was writing and before you know it LemonadeMakers was born.
“Finding yourself is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. Finding yourself is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering of who you were before the world got its hands on you.” – Emily Mcdowell
I know how hard it can be to let yourself be drawn by what you love. You tell yourself you don’t have any talent for it. Or you can’t make money doing it. It isn’t the career for you. Nobody will want to read what you write. Everything you want to say, has already been said by lots of other people. And so you constantly put it off to someday. Please don’t deprive the world of your talents and gifts any longer. You will be shocked at how much they will be valued and how much they are needed.
“You don’t have to be what other people want you to be. You don’t have to be interesting or agreeable or entertaining. You don’t have to tone yourself down, quiet your voice, or hide your feelings. You don’t have to be outgoing or spontaneous or sociable. You don’t have to be thin or beautiful or anyone’s definition of attractive. You don’t have to be anyone other than who you authentically are, and you sure as hell don’t have to spend your time and energy trying to convince people that you’re worth keeping around. The right people are going to recognize your worth. They are going to respect you, appreciate you, and accept you, without forcing you to compromise who you are.” Daniell Koepke
Just like a fingerprint, you are absolutely unique when you live authentically who you are. The things you find interesting, the things you find humorous. Your sarcasm, your wit, how you approach everything in your life has its own individuality that belongs to you.
It’s self judgement that keeps you from being who you are. When you relinquish judgement, you let go of the feeling that you have to be different than who you are. That is when the beauty of who you are shines out. It is your difference that is the beauty of who you are.
“Finding yourself is a time of harmony because you develop that philosophy or belief system that will carry you throughout the rest of your life. When you love yourself and who you are, you will savor and enjoy both life’s pain and pleasures.” – James Spector
What would your life be about, if you fell so deeply in love with who you are, that you spent the rest of your life doing whatever it was that would make you happy? No guilt, no labels of selfishness. No more living a life to meet others expectations, but rather creating a life of meeting your own expectations for you.
What if you picked up the keys of self discovery and took yourself for a drive? Seeing each new sunrise and sunset with new eyes, breathing in the fresh air of change and transformation. Listen for the symphony of living life to your own music. Hearing the beauty of your own soul.
So lean in. Hear the calling of your own soul. Be brave enough to cross that river, taking only the essential parts of you and letting go of everything else. Be courageous, be authentic, and trust the magic of new beginnings.