“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
It sounds so incredibly simple, yet how many of us have truly learned to be ourselves?
In one of my very favorite books by Elaine St. James, “Simplify Your Life”, she asks this question: “Have you ever stopped to think about how much energy you spend - and how much you complicate your life - by pretending to be someone other than who you are?” What if the only person you had to impress was yourself? Would you continue to:
- drive the same car
- live in the same house
- stay in the same job
- wear the same clothes
- be married to the same person
- belong to the same church
- belong to the same club
- say ‘yes’ to things you really wanted to say ‘no’ to
- have the same conversations
- spend time with the same people
Several years ago, when I took a good look at how I was living my life (even though, by all outward appearances, I had a great life), I realized that much of what I had, much of what I did, and much of how I acted were based on other people’s expectations. Actually, it was even worse than that - it was based on what I thought other people might be expecting of me!
Step-by-step, I started creating a life based on how I truly wanted to live. Some steps were fairly easy…letting go of activities that no longer interested me, clearing out lots of stuff (clutter), and simplifying my life. Some of the steps were not so easy…leaving certain relationships that were not supporting me, moving, completely changing my career and starting a new business, and creating a new community of friends. However, every single step was well worth it!
As you look at your own life, you may have some tweaking to do as well (and sometimes a major overhaul is in order!). When you hear yourself say ‘I should’, for example, you’re living your life based on someone else’s expectations.
Awareness is the first step…so become very aware of the choices you are making. And be yourself - it’s your greatest gift in life.
Spend a few minutes going through the major areas of your life (relationships, activities, work, lifestyle) and ask yourself if you’ve chosen them based on someone else’s expectations. Are you living the life you really want to live? Are you ‘being yourself?”
If you notice certain areas you’d like to change, what is one step you could take this week to be yourself?