When people have an expectation of who they think or want you to be, they have a difficult time I’m accepting when you become something else.
It could be a permanent thing or perhaps you are just going through a phase but either way who you become is your choice. I think we all need to have the space to explore and experiment in order to find ourselves and figure out the kind of person that we want to be.
Unfortunately, sometimes because of the people around you, you end up pushing self-exploration aside. Instead, you’re so focused on what other people think, people pleasing and wanting to feel accepted that you would rather pretend to be someone you’re not.
Being yourself doesn’t even feel like an option.
I think it’s important to remember that being accepted for the person you’re pretending to be isn’t true acceptance. Once you really take that in, you’ll end up realising that it isn’t worth pretending anymore. You may as well just be yourself.
I think most people have a some idea of who they are, what they like and what they would and wouldn’t do. Sometimes the idea we have of ourselves is flexible. We’re open to the idea of changing even if that means being very different from who we were or who we thought we’d be.
Other times the idea we have of ourselves is rigid. We have a mental note of things we wouldn’t do and we stick to it. There are times when we want to try new things, explore and experiment but we restrict ourselves because it goes against the idea we have of who we are.
But I think there is something wonderful in doing something you thought you’d never do. It’s a reminder that we’re constantly changing and also to remain open to change.
If you don’t think you’re good enough that belief will have a major impact on how you experience life.
You’ll have a hard time identifying when you’re being treated poorly because you have such low standards for yourself. This could be with a friend, romantic partner, family member, colleague or even a stranger.
Perhaps someone is unkind to you and instead of speaking up you sit and internalise it. You find yourself almost justifying it with things like ‘it’s not that bad’, ‘they probably didn’t mean anything by it’ or ‘at least they didn’t…’. Your sense of self is so low that you’re willing to accept below the bare minimum.
This can be an awful thing to experience and can result in mental health problems like anxiety or depression. However, it can also serve as a catalyst for change. You’ll reach a point where you can no longer accept the way that you’re being treated because it feels like a betrayal. When you realise that you shouldn’t be okay with people doing things like ignore you, lie to you and overlook you, you’ll be much less willing to accept it.
Suddenly, the awareness you’ve gained has given you the opprtunity to live a very different life that you didn’t even know was available to you.
It could mean ending friendships, resigning from your job, having conversations that feel difficult, settling firm boundaries, saying no and learning to stand up for yourself.
That might seem daunting but if you focus on the fact that life will be a easier to navigate when you think better of yourself, that should at least give you the motivation to get started.
An easy way to simplify your life and get into the habit of doing things you care about is to create routines.
It could be a morning, evening or exercise routine.
Lets take the morning, start by thinking about what the best way to start your day would be.
In-fact make a list. Maybe you want to feel a certain way or you know that if you don’t do x, y, z your morning won’t run smoothly.
And so that might mean setting an earlier alarm so you have the time to fit in what you want to do, not watching YouTube or going on social media so you can start your day by just focusing on you or preparing things the night before.
Your morning could consist of a combination of things like: meditation, journaling, reading, stretching, Twitter, coffee, tea, Instagram, YouTube, exercise, visualisation, nature sounds, stretches, podcasts, praying, gratitude etc.
You don’t need to do what anyone else does, experiment and find a routine that works well for you.
We can be so quick to find ourselves and figure ourselves out that we end up taking on traits, roles and habits to help us feel less lost.
We then close ourselves off to experimentation and new ideas, it’s too risky.
In turn this leads to you becoming a person that isn’t really you, it’s just the person you’re pretending to be. You either commit to being that person for the rest of your life or you reach a point where you choose to change.
When you truly realise that the person you’ve been showing up as is not only not the ‘real’ you but also not the person you want to be, it allows all that is not you to fall away.
This then opens you up to you, stripped back with nothing to prove.
No matter the kind of life that you live, I think it is important to regularly switch up your routine.
Spend a day or even just a few hours doing something you wouldn’t usually do.
The first reason is just to keep things fresh. It’s good to switch things up and experiment with how you spend your time and structure your days.
But the second reason is to check in with how you’re currently living.
Sometimes it takes time away from your usual routine for you to realise that you are unsatisfied with your present life circumstances.
From a young age it is likely that you were taught to figure out what you wanted to do with your life. That in turn dictated the choices you made and paths you chose for many years that followed.
Sometimes what ends up happening is you end up creating a very specific life where you rarely explore something new.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with knowing what you like and what you’re interested in, you don’t want to be so set in your ways that you’re closed off to the unknown.
Exploring something new every once in a while allows your mind to stay fresh. It could lead you to take a new path or just remind you that you’re exactly where you want to be.
We often get caught up in expectations of the way things should be. But in many cases we’re simply taking on the expectations of others.
When you’re surrounded by people living a certain type of way, you’re less likely to trust a path that leads to a different life. The reason for this is nobody wants to be separate or other.
You might even convince yourself that what you want is no more than a daydream. Furthermore, when others don’t see the vison for the path you’re carving out you’re likely to encounter backlash.
The backlash can be so challenging that you might end up thinking that it’s easier to push your wants aside. Nobody wants to be criticised for being themselves.
We often measure up how well we are doing in life against societies expectations of what we should be doing at certain points of life. However, these expectations leave very little room to experiment and wonder which are the very things you need to do in order to figure out what you want.
Often when a person finds themselves craving something new, it’s because they’re bored with where they’re at.
As much as familiarity can be comforting and pleasant, for many people they find themselves at a point where they want more.
You find yourself wanting something different, not because what you’re used to isn’t working but because you want to remember the feeling of newness.
It’s like taking a different route home every once in a while. You do it to switch things up not because you never want to take your usual route again.
This idea can apply to so many things and one of them is the work you do. When you’re doing the same thing over and over you’ll get sick of it after a while because you’re no longer doing it consciously, you’re not thinking or stretching your mind and you want to be challenged.
So, you put yourself forward for a new type of work. It’s new and unfamiliar and you enjoy it simply because it’s not what you’re used to.
The beauty of this kind of situation is after you’re tried something new, you can go back to what you were doing before often with new found appreciation.
Right now might be the right time to start exercising your creative muscles.
Write, paint, draw, photograph, film, style etc
Make time for the thing that you’re interested in whatever it may be. Use the time you have to practice and experiment, try something that will challenge you.
When you’re just starting out creatively you’ll often find yourself drawn to following what has worked in the past or simply mimicking something you’ve seen.
But the best work will always come from within. However, you have to work your creative muscle to find it.
I’m learning that a big part of that is being vulnerable.