From an early age we learn from the societal expectations that we need to be like this famous person or that family member that does everything right and looks the right way. We are told we need to act right and do the responsible thing. We are pressured to do this or that because that is what the family believes in.
Even if we aren’t told who we need to be like, we are told who we shouldn’t be like. This was more of the case in my life, at least externally. I consistently heard how this family member or that was stuck up or self-centered or whatever. I also heard how entitled my parents were to have everyone else do something for them.
While my parents told me who not to be like, I told myself exactly who I needed to be and what type of life I needed to live. I put a ton of pressure on myself to be more than the family I came from. I put the pressure on myself that I described in the first paragraph. Except, I while putting this pressure on myself,I was so lost. I was trying to navigate the trauma of my childhood and growing up mostly feeling alone, without realizing what was impacting my life. It wasn’t until recently that I stopped to figure out who I truly want to be and who I really am.
As I’ve been growing through life the past few years I have been all over the place. I have pushed harder to live up to the societal norms and I have said fuck it, I’m doing my own thing while not actually doing my own thing. It was until some point during late 2020 that I finally started taking small steps towards doing my own thing and being my own person. I started really paying attention to what triggers me and what affects me. I started paying attention to what energizes me and lights my fire. I started being curious and wanting to learn more about me. Even though I thought I was doing it for the last few years, I realized I couldn’t really lean into being true to myself without pausing and exploring who I am.
Learning who I am is not a process that has happened overnight. I’m still learning. I’m still being curious. I ask myself why I do things, why certain things piss me off. I dive deep to figure out what brings me peace and clarity. I am reducing the physical clutter around me. I’m getting rid of things I’ve held onto for the “just in case some year” situations. I’m learning how to make the most of myself while I’m learning who I am.
I know, it sounds weird to not know who you are, but do you truly know who you are and why you do what you do or why you react the way you do or what energizes you to the core? Are you like me and think that you know but the more pressure you put on yourself to be one way, you realize that doesn’t feel right and it isn’t you?
There are things about who I am that I have fought hard against for many years because that thing didn’t fit with the life I was living or the friends I kept or that family I wanted to be close with or I just didn’t want to be seen as “that person”. One of those things is my sensitivity. I have always fought hard to not be a sensitive person. I believe multiple factors contributed to me deep-seated fear of not wanting to be considered as sensitive. As part of this, I never wanted to be seen as a cryer. I know these two are tied together and a lot of it stems from my childhood where I frequently heard “if you want to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about” or simply being told that I’m “too sensitive”.
After I put my body on a roller coaster of hormones with the fertility treatments a few years ago, I can no longer block all of my sensitivity or sudden urges to cry. After meeting my husband and him breaking down all of my walls through the love he gives, I haven’t been able to contain my sensitive nature. I’ve been absolutely ashamed of both of these things. All I knew for so much of my life is that they were not something I could allow to be seen.
As I continue to learn who I am and lean into the character traits that are innate to who I am, I am learning to make the most of myself. I am learning how to stop judging myself and how to speak nicer to myself. I am learning and I am exploring what makes me tick, good and bad. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” You are who you are because that is who you were created to be.
Embrace all of you, all of who you are. If you are sensitive, okay. If you are a cryer, okay. If you desire something and everything about you tells you that you should do it, then pursue it. I have dabbled with the person my soul keeps trying to tell me who I am because making the change is hard. Making the most of who I am means I will be changing my day-to-day habits, changing some of my interactions with people I know or with my friends, changing what I eat or drink, changing how I present myself. Making the most of who I am isn’t an easy, overnight change. It takes work. It takes introspective to learn and listen to who my soul says I am. It means making changes to how I present myself and how I interact with people. It means learning what I like or don’t like. Making the most of myself means I am pulling back every single layer of who I am and who I have been to determine if that is who I truly am and who I want to be or who my soul says I am.
Make the most of yourself and go your own way. Put one foot in front of the other, take one step at a time, even if it is a snail-paced step. All there is of you is who you are, do you truly know who you are?