I have a million things on my mind that I want to blog about today. And of course, knowing me, I am choosing the hardest one. But as I feel it is the most important one, here I go.
Last weekend it was pointed out to me that I have become less authentic to myself. Not personality-wise; I am still the same positive, goofy, spontaneous, organizational freak that I always was, but I am in danger of applying other people’s ideas and life goals verbatim onto my own. In other words, I am failing to take a step back and truly think about what I want for my life and unapologetically issue my personal stamp of approval.
Now, I feel that this happens quite a bit in life. Parents are a big offender: Sarah wants to try to be an actress, but Mom and Dad want her to have a more stable life, so eventually Sarah takes on their thoughts and ideas as her own the more and more they preach about it, forgetting that she actually has a passion for the arts and not for inputting data.
I think the hardest culprit to discern, however, is the one that is the most subtle: the people around us whom we admire, with strong personalities and goals for their own lives who are charging full steam ahead. Oftentimes, their belief in their personal project or path is so strong that they come across as looking down upon anyone not on that path without meaning to.
When you admire someone, you naturally want them to think highly of you. And as the saying goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery. But the thing is, if you are truly admiring the right people, they will want you to become the best version of yourself, not the second-best version of them.
It is only the secretly insincere individuals who crave followers; leaders want to surround themselves with leaders.
This realization that I had moved into fangirl territory was upsetting to me. I pride myself on my strong personality, and I have always thought of myself as independent and able to carry my own torch. The fact that I am in danger of losing my own personal vision for my life is heartbreaking.
This problem could be easily solved if I got rid of everyone in my life and had no outside people influencing me. But that solution sucks, obviously. No one wants to go through life alone, and it’s pretty much impossible to avoid outside forces unless you live out in the woods eating roots and berries and communing with nature.
So how do you keep those strong, admirable individuals in your life yet still stay true to your personal vision?
You have to have a personal vision. Lately I have come to realize that thus far, I have had a vague sense of direction of where I want to go, but I have not taken the time to sit down and specifically map out what I want out of life. As I have discussed in other posts, this is dangerous; a ship without a compass is pretty much just a bathroom toy subject to the whims of any giant two-year old splashing around in the tub. You need to have a sense of direction, and a sense of direction only comes when you have a sense of purpose.
You need to be in tune with yourself. People avoid actually getting to know themselves. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Orange is the New Black, and millions of other ways to entertain ourselves are waiting to be utilized at the snap of a finger. Entertainment in and of itself is hardly a bad thing, but when it is used to avoid introspection and examining your life, it becomes a convenient set of blinders rather than a small moment of fun. It is critical that you spend some time alone; not alone with your music or your books, but really, truly alone with nothing but your thoughts. Who is this person you only slightly know as yourself?
You need to stop living in fear. We are social beings. We want to be liked. And that makes us shy away from anything that may potentially end up in us being put in the outer circle of society. But in all honesty, if you are true to YOU, people who are really true to themselves will recognize that and appreciate it, even if it is different from their truth. If someone doesn’t care for your vision, fuck ’em. People who don’t value an honest and true expression of intent aren’t the type of people who are worth keeping. And it all honesty, it becomes so much easier to shed people you don’t want and attract people you do when you simply commit to your truth.
When we are not fully focused and committed to what WE want to do, we project other people’s judgement onto our lives before they even have a chance to, and for some reason allow this mythical judgement to influence us.
The cliche of ‘dancing in the mirror’ has come to represent freedom, self-expression, and self-acceptance. It sounds hokey, but when you try it, you realize how much of yourself you are hiding from yourself. Back in the day, I couldn’t even watch myself dancing for two seconds without being embarrassed and thinking omg, I look SO dumb and stopping–and I was alone. There was no one to judge but me. Why the hell did I care how dumb I looked? I was looking at myself from an outside perspective, and I found lack because I had not embraced my inner truth that I just wanted to freakin’ dance.
When you take the time to get to know who YOU are, you become dissatisfied with becoming anything that doesn’t align with your desires for your life. Take the time to get to know yourself; at the end of the day, you go to your grave wrapped in solitude, and eternity is a hell of a long time to spend with a stranger.