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.
Sometimes it takes accidental escapism to remind you of the kind of person you desire to be.
Catch yourself in the moment and ask yourself questions like ‘Am I being myself?’ or ‘Is this truly where I want to be?’ And then answer them openly and vulnerably.
You might find that you’re quite content with the life you’ve created but perhaps you’re yearning for more. Many people believe that dreams are something that we have to grow out or let go of, that they aren’t to be actualized. But what if they are.
Perhaps that’s the reason for your lack of contentment in life.
All you have to do is figure out what you want and then go for it with full gusto.
Hiding who you are is an easy way to find yourself misunderstood.
If you focus on only being a small fragment of your true self then that is what people will take you as.
That small fragment could be serious and hardworking but deep down you have a silly side.
Maybe you’re embarrassed about the silly side or worried about judged so you hold back.
You don’t join in with certain conversations even when you have something to contribute, as though you’re not allowed to speak.
Yet you walk around feeling misunderstood totally unaware that you’re in a web of your own making.
Reflecting on the part you play in your own life circumstances is a useful exercise.
Like ice cube said ‘check yourself before you wreck yourself’.
So we recently had our annual performance reviews at work and something I took from it was that it’s important to assess yourself throughout the year.
When you let a year go by without assessing how you’re doing there’s a higher chance you’ll be surprised by what your manager tells you at the end of the year.
I think assessing yourself quarterly (or even monthly) will help you better understand how you’re doing and what you need to work on. It doesn’t have to be with your manager, it could be with another colleague or you could do it alone.
That way you can pick up on the things you need to work on, make changes and then later reassess.
You should work on getting better, expanding your knowledge and trying new things for you. Not to appease your boss or because you know it’s ‘just part of the process’.
This is one of those ‘you get out what you put in’ kinda circumstances.
There is power in the meaning we attach to words.
The Bare Minimum Betty concept is something I came up with because I enjoy playing around with ideas and creating characters. But it’s about more than just a made up character that doesn’t go above and beyond.
What started as just part of my writing practice resulted in me reflecting on my own behaviour.
I began identifying moments in my life where I was being bare minimum, not in a critical way but in a gentle way. Like ‘oh, I could put in more effort here’ or ‘I can feel myself holding back’.
And in these moments of reflection I began to understand what it really means to be bare minimum.
It’s complaining or being frustrated with where you’re at because you’re not putting much effort in and not getting much back.
It’s going through life without letting your core self be seen.
It’s following instructions and not being willing to ask questions.
It’s being tossed about by the waves of life because you aren’t willing to pick up an oar.
It’s noticing a problem but waiting for someone else to offer a solution.
That’s not the kind of person I want to be, yet I like many others sometimes fall into being a bare minimum Betty.
But in recognising those things in myself I’m able to push past them. So, when I notice I’m holding back, I’ll push past those feelings and speak up.
On the flipside I’m also aware that some people are totally satisfied with being good enough or bare minimum that is totally okay as long as you don’t pretend you’re offering your best.
They might seem the same but they’re not.
An anxious person will grow to become familiar with the feeling of anxiety and how it manifests in they’re day to day life.
And over time they may find that they knowing doing certain things will trigger there anxiety so they won’t do it.
But not because it’s dangerous or unsafe but because they’re afraid. And the thing with fear is that it’s a feeling and so even when in your mind you know it’s fine your body is sending signals that it’s not.
So just because you know yourself when you’re afraid it’s not the same as knowing yourself because you’re more than your fears.
Chances are there’s so many aspects of you that you’ve not given yourself space to explore.
Let’s start with the letter S for self sacrifice.
When you live your life trying to be a good person you’ll find yourself pulled in every which way.
Often what people judge a persons goodness by is how much you do for them.
And in a bid to keep the title of the most good of all. You might find yourself bending, doing the most and going above and beyond to please people.
But as much as it’s great to go above and beyond (for the things that matter), it’s impossible to please everyone. It’s a losing game.
So it might be much more useful to focus on being generous, kind and thoughtful but don’t do it for other people. Do it for you because it feels good and maybe because you’ve decided that that’s the kind of person you want to be.
Through discovering the kind of person that I want to become I’ve learnt a lot about who I am.
It’s interesting to observe yourself and how you interact with others. Are you kind to yourself, what are your relationships like, how do you show up in different situations.
When you uncover the things you need to work on it can be hard to accept them in a loving way and not get frustrated at how much work you have to do.
But that awareness is important. Being able to see yourself as you are is important and even though you might feel like the work is too much or overwhelming you don’t have to do it all right now.
You just have to start.
Then work your way through it bit by bit, until eventually you’ll be transformed.
How exactly does one discover themselves?
Through exploration, experimentation and being open to the unknown.
If you live your life in the box of what you know, you may think that you know yourself. But actually, there is so much more of you to explore outside of that box.
As much as there is ‘the me I know’ inside of the box, there is also ‘the me I don’t know’ outside of it.
Granted you can’t experience every single thing in life but you can try things that are outside of your usual routine.
It can be big or it can be small.
- Visiting a new city
- Joining a group or class
- Doing the thing you’ve always thought about doing but kept putting off
- Going for a walk
You might think you know yourself or that you’re content with your life. But when you do a journal prompt like ‘Describe your dream life’ you might find you’re nowhere near where you want to be. Maybe you settled for an unfulfilling ‘stable’ job and you never even took the time to figure out what you truly wanted to do for a living.
“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”
For some people there are aspects of themselves that were developed in childhood as coping mechanisms in order to feel comfortable or safe.
And sometimes those habits or behaviour that were developed during childhood become so familiar and comfortable to us that we carry them through into adulthood.
But the thing is how you coped at 6 might not be so useful to you 2 decades later, in fact you might find that it’s more of a hindrance.
This is why it’s important to get to know yourself and have a level of self-awareness where you can know the why behind the things that you do.
If you can identify something that is no longer working for you then you can also change it to something that does.