Staying true to yourself

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have never been one for labeling people. It doesn’t make sense to decide what type of personality someone is and then let that dictate how you will interact with them. Most personality profile tests try to squeeze all humans in to one of 4 to 8 categories. That is never going to work.

But the interesting thing is that I have become more desperate to understand myself better. Being able to label myself would be so reassuring in so many ways. To know why I am like I am,why I react like I react and in so many ways to know that I am not alone in this world. That begins to be so important when I  want to know that other people understand who I am, that someone else knows me better than I know myself.  Don’t we all just want to be understood.

If I could put a label on myself then so can others and having done so they will know and understand me. They will know all about my needs and motivations and I will feel much more understood, accepted and loved. I will also not have feel ant need to explain myself or my behaviour.

I love it when people realise that sometimes I need my space. I don’t like feeling compelled to socialise, but I also don’t want people to think that I am just be rude or arrogant.

I like it when people realise that yes I can be the life of the party, but that that takes so much out of me and then I need my space. Leave me alone.

And I love that understanding myself a little better allows me to indulge my own needs. If I want  to say ‘no’ then i can now say no without all of the associated guilt.

But I am also conscious that sometimes being a better person entails thinking of others ahead of myself, and I want to be a better person, more aware of others and more caring.

So there is this balancing thing between taking better care of my own mental health and becoming a better person.

Give everything that you need. This is karma

When you are feeling low, or depressed one of the hardest things to do is seeing beyond yourself. Your world can seem to collapse in on you and lets face it, when you are struggling to cope with yourself how can you possibly think about others?

Although I was convinced that a big part of my problem was related to the fact that I had probably spent too much of my life looking out for others, starting to think of others really did help me to start refocusing my energies.

But there had to be a balance in my thinking. Thinking too much about other people could remind me that I didn’t want to encumber others with my problems. I did not want to burden the ones that I love, I didn’t want to bring them down.

So you don’t share your problems but you wish that people understood. You crave solitude but that sense of having been abandoned by everyone is crippling.

I am an introvert and I have learned to live as an introvert. I don’t have to live any other way. If I don’t want to be with other people, then I shouldn’t feel compelled to do it.

It all makes real sense. So much so that it has taken me most of a life time to work it out.

If I hide, people will not see me and I will feel alone.

We should focus on making a living, not on making something huge.” … Kevin Kelly

The message is becoming clear: all of this big picture thinking that we are encouraged to do is not necessary to live a happy and rewarding life. In fact it is the big picture thinking that leads to unhappiness and dis-satisfaction.

I love these simple ideas from Derek Sivers (I paraphrase):

  1. Leave in the cracks: we all have them so why spend time and energy papering-over them?
  2. Admit your faults: Its a great way to ask the world to love you. Be yourself or fear being yourself.
  3. Do more favours: Anyone can do this, but do it for yourself first. Learn the skill. Then, do it as a favour for someone else.
  4. Passion is poison: Passion or no passion, you are alive.  “… just follow the little things that interest you. Just notice on a day-to-day basis what you’re drawn towards.”
  5. Only have good goals: A good goal is one that actually changes your actions in the moment. Goals are not about the future. Goals are about changing the present moment, changing your present actions.

Okay, so I have taken these ideas out of context, the conversation was actually about entrepreneurship, but aren’t we the entrepreneurs of our own lives?

Authenticity is the new catch-phrase. Be happy to be yourself. You are enough. You offer more to the world by just doing little things each day, by learning the little lessons from living your life as it is.

Only think about the big questions if it makes you happy to do so (like a hobby).


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