Be Yourself? Umm… Maybe Try Again …

Some of the worst advice out there is, “Be yourself.”

Want to know a secret? Sometimes ‘yourself” really sucks.

Much better advice is to, “Be the ‘yourself’ you will be ridiculously proud of 30 years from now.”

Unfortunately that slogan doesn’t fit nicely on a t-shirt or billboard. And it requires thoughtful consideration.

Photo

Personally, ‘myself’ can be a bit of a sloth, eats chocolate for breakfast, freely shares her overly sassy opinions and cares way too much about what other people think.

Day to day, most of us don’t really think about who we currently are being, we simply respond without much thought or care. In those moments when you just want to satisfy the part of you that wants revenge, glory or satisfaction, ‘being yourself’ rarely gets you what you want.

  • Hard decisions, easy life.
  • Easy decisions, hard life.

A woman has to live free and own her story.

For reasons that will not be discussed publicly, I left my marriage nearly three years ago. Even mentioning this fact in a public setting such as this tiny corner of the world seems rather daring of me after everything that I went through.

Photo

When people ask me why I stayed in my marriage for as long as I did, shame darkens the doorway of my heart and I wonder the same thing.

Why do we stay where its not good for us?

Looking back, I stayed in an effort to avoid failure and loss.

Failure.

The way I grew up taught me and the culture I was in reiterated to me that:

  • marriage = success and being thought of as perpetually shiny
  • divorce = complete and utter moral failure

Divorced people were second class citizens, marred and broken … never able to be fully repaired or shiny ever again; broken forever.

When we decide that a check mark is worth more than a person, bad things happen.

Spending more than a decade of my life agreeing to keep up appearances despite my personal loss on a daily basis kept me small. It was easier to agree with the dysfunction than stand up for myself.

Photo

Loss.

Making the decision to do what I needed to do for me and then following through on that decision day after day meant I lost way more than I won for quite some time. I lost friends, family, money and that all important check mark. Everything in my life changed dramatically and the hardest thing I have ever done was follow-through on my decision.

The only thing that kept me going was that I knew I wanted to look back on my life and be proud of who I was and the only way to do that was not to ‘be myself‘, but rather to be a woman who is fierce, capable and strong. To be a woman who cares more about what she thinks of herself than what other people think of her.

  • Every single day for nearly 6 months, the hardest decision I made was to get up, go to the gym and then survive the day while trying to be a woman I would be proud of 30 years from now.

After learning the hard way that making the right decision is rarely easy, I find myself living an easy life and suffering less and less as I make the hard decisions.

On being your future self.

The woman I want to be is one who makes the call and follows through. She is a dichotomy –  fierce and kind, strong and soft.

Photo

Choosing the autopilot option in life will sweep you away into an ocean of painful results from always choosing the easy answer because doing what is hard, is, well, hard. In the swells of busy, you will find that being yourself, who is a bit of a sloth and eats chocolate for breakfast, isn’t worth it and the easy choice today most likely won’t make the future easier.

  • So choose. Choose wisely. Do it today.

Decide who you want to be, make the hard decision to be that person and then endure the pain of your decision for a short time.

If you have ever trained for a race, gone on a diet or followed through on epic life change, you know what I am talking about. The small, hard choices which cause momentary pain eventually result in a glorious ease in the every day living.

And whatever you do, don’t wait until you have to dig yourself out of an epic hole to get back to being the person you want to be, but if you’re there it is not to late. Now is your moment to make the hard decision to change whatever you need to change.

Don’t be fooled, it is going to be hard. VERY hard, but you are worth it – just keep going until you find your way again.

The night may be dark, but the morning sunrise at the end of a dark night is glorious.

It is only too late, too dark or too hard if you decide it is. As always, your life is up to you.