“If you want to be original just try being yourself, because God has never made two people exactly alike.” – Bernard Meltzer
Each year many of us choose to make resolutions or declarations to become better in some way, and I applaud the effort. Whether it is to lose weight, read a set of specific books or learning how to de-stress and slow down in life a bit more effectively and regularly. Regardless of what we choose, the idea is that we remain committed to some form of growth and improvement. Hey nothing wrong with that right? Most of the time I would agree, but I often wonder as we are making decisions to live better lives, are we asking these poignant questions to ourselves, “Why do I want or need to change, is this truly what I want for myself, will I concurrently remain true to who I am or will I become more like someone else? Perhaps someone not even worthy of following. In this day an age of prolific identity crisis, it is important that we’re asking ourselves these types of questions and more so we don’t find ourselves caught up, becoming like someone else simply because they seem cool, together, hip, smart or financially wealthy, at the expense of losing who we are. As we set goals for our future, it is always smart to have a snapshot of what that future looks like so we have an idea if we are getting close or if we’re way off the mark. For example, I have a desired weight I’m reaching for. So every morning, Monday through Friday I weigh myself to make sure I stay on track. If I am getting off the mark, it will always be easy to identify it before it gets out of control. This works for me, but may add unnecessary pressure for others. At the end of the day, do what works for you, period.
After years of spending time counseling others and helping people get to the next level with their lives, I recall so many that simply did not have a clue of what they wanted or why they even wanted it. So many struggled with the why and quite often were unaware of it. More often than not the struggle stemmed from an outside source versus an inner tugging. An outside source that provided excessive pressure, condemning guilt and an unhealthy way at procuring success. And even if the goal was obtained, it was far from being what they ultimately desired or failed to resonate with their authentic selves, therefore it equally failed to produce the contentment or joy so coveted at the initial phase of the journey.
So more about this struggle piece and the outside sources that we allow in. Typically it’s not that we set out to invite a stranger into the intimate details of our hearts and minds. The influences come from many places like, our childhood experiences, environments we were raised in, our socio-economic statuses, beliefs, friends, education and so many other components.
That new/old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know” rings true here, but I’ll add to that, “Until you know”.
Here lies the struggle and the solution at the same time. We often have no idea that the goal we pursued so insistently for years, or for all of our lives perhaps would become a place of disappointment once we actually achieved it, yet equally a place of new beginnings once the pain dissipated. In that moment, all the hard work, money spent and arduous hours that resembled a lifetime of work seems like nothing more than a waste of time. But alas, could this be the real you peeping from within the seemingly demise and altered course of events? Could this be the real you arising from the ashes of broken dreams, failed promises and a lifetime of commitment that resulted in nothing more than illusions? As you give yourself time to reflect, perhaps the disappointment is not so much about what you lost, or failed to obtain, but more importantly it’s about the clarity you finally have and what you are able to see for the very first time. The clarity to recognize that thing was never going to satisfy you, because it was never God’s dream for you anyway. It was what someone else wanted for you and because like me, you didn’t know any better, off you went to pursue that something or someone who was not meant for you. At the end of the day this certainly can introduce trepidation into our lives, but if we choose to continue on our journey it can also introduce long-lasting confidence and security.
There is nothing like really knowing where you are headed. I commend those that got it right young and the first time around, but if you were anything like me, it took a few tries, heartache and pain to finally get it close to right. But now I know. I know the real me, what I want and why I want it. With this mindset, I pause when things seem off, I wait to make big decisions and no one from the outside is allowed to push my buttons. I pray and wait for the answers and the answers come when they should. I live a life of peace and contentment more often than not, and although turmoil will never be completely eliminated from my life, I do have a say on how it will impact me and if it will remain fresh in my world.
Everyday we are becoming more like something. Since this is an inevitably true, why not become more like “You”? No one else can do you better than you!