Who will you be?
When we look in the mirror, there we are. Our face. Our hair. Our body. But what happens when we go to work? What happens when we meet up with friends? What happens when we interact with strangers? So many of us become different people depending on where we are and who we are with in an effort to please others or fit into some kind of mold that we think we are expected to emulate. I did this for a long time. I think we all do. It’s exhausting, and somewhere along the way I think we lose pieces of our authentic selves. It can be hard to get back to who we really are. Once we find that again, it is important that we not lose it. One of my favorite media personalities says is perfectly:
Does this seem like a no-brainer? Think about all the times that you said something that didn’t really represent your true self. Think about all the times you didn’t say something when you wish you would have. Think of all the times you held back an action or emotion because it wouldn’t have “fit in” with the crowd or occasion. In the moments when we are encouraged to be anything but ourselves, it takes bravery to just be us. It’s really the only thing we can do with complete authenticity and confidence, since no one else can do it.
You are too opinionated. That means you care deeply about something. That means you have passion and know where you stand. Others don’t like it because maybe their opinions are different, or maybe they don’t have the courage to express their opinions like you do. That’s okay; they are not you.
You’re too quiet. That means you watch and listen. You aren’t quick to say something just so that you can hear the sound of your own voice. You want to see and hear other perspectives, process information, and think. Other people say you aren’t assertive enough. That is because your calm and your thoughtfulness make them uncomfortable. That’s okay; they are not you.
You’re too much. That means you embrace everything you are. You don’t hold back when you experience joy, sadness, confusion, anxiety, etc., with equal intensity. Others call you "extra" because they are worried about how your openness makes them look. That’s okay; they are not you.
I have a secret: you are not too of anything. There’s only one of you. Be that one. Unapologetically. No regrets. If others ask questions about who you are, be proud to answer them, because you might be helping them on their journey to become more themselves, too. Be you, bravely. I will if you will.