by Skye Thomas –
So, it’s time for a change. You have taken that hard look in the mirror and you have decided that you are not who you want to be. Or perhaps you are standing at a fork in the road and the path you would like to take requires you to make some changes. Maybe you are just really bored with your life because you have been in the same old rut for so long that you could start screaming if you spend another day doing the same incredibly boring things all over again. The reasons for change are as varied as the people making the decision to do so.
The only thing you have to remember is that the change must come from you, not from someone else.
It cannot be a gift to someone else; that seldom works out in the long run. We simply cannot muster enough of the continuous self-motivation needed in order to make big personal changes when we do not agree that a change is actually needed.
Ultimately, recreating ourselves is a very personal choice and a very personal decision that others really cannot help us with.
Your wife thinks you drink too much and should quit. Your parents think you screw off too much and need to pull better grades. Your boss thinks you are a slacker and you need to be more productive. If the people in your life are hammering you to change, then it may be time to take a long hard look in the mirror.
To some extent, you have to be open to the idea that they may be right. However, they are not you. They cannot walk in your shoes. Nobody can completely totally understand another person. Only you really know what is right for you. Only you can pick your path in life, your choice of companionship along the way, and what kind of person you will be while traveling.
Some people are misunderstood visionary geniuses. Others are simply rebellious or lazy. Most of us fall somewhere in between. You cannot let others dictate who or what you are to become.
The choice to recreate yourself must come from within.
If you have looked deep within and you have decided that you want to change because you would be happier, then it is time to start.
My personal moment came when I realized that I was only twenty-five and was never ever going to fall in love again and was going to be shattered and heartbroken for another fifty years or so before I would finally roll over and die. Yes, I know that it was a very morbid thought, but that is exactly my point. At some point you do the math asking yourself, “If I stay just like this – on this path – with this mindset – with this income level – with these people surrounding me – with this lifestyle – how will my life look in five years? In ten? In fifty?”
It can be an incredibly sobering and depressing answer. Mine was, so I made a decision to change who I was so that the next fifty years would at least be different with a chance of happiness. You may be reading this because you too have decided that your life will be miserable if you do not make some kind of big changes. So, now that the decision has been made, where do we start?
The first thing I would recommend is looking at your natural gifts.
If you do not know what your gifts, talents and assets are, then you need to spend some time finding out what they are. Take some online personality tests, ask friends and family, spend time with a therapist or figure out some other way to take an honest evaluation of yourself and take note of the good things that you bring to any situation.
The idea is to find those core aspects of ourselves that are never really going to change very much. For example, do you like to work alone or as part of a team? You may be extremely introverted or extroverted. You may be incredibly musical or you may be very mathematical. The gifts and challenges you were born with are part of your authentic real self.
Recreating yourself is not about denying the root of who you are. It is about molding and shaping the other things like attitude, behavior, presentation and such.
In my situation, I looked at what kind of person I would have been if nobody had ever hurt me. If nobody had ever been mean, critical, unfaithful, etc. who would I be today? Who would I have been if I had been raised by ideal perfect parents in an ideal perfect family? I imagined the “unbroken” me as someone much more confident, bubbly, and joyful.
I imagined that I would have been one of those people who laugh aloud without worrying about snorting or making a donkey heehaw noise. I imagined someone fabulous and fearless. I imagined someone who did not have an inner-critic harping and nagging at them that they needed to spend more time self-censoring so as not to make any foolish mistakes and not to give anyone a reason to point and laugh at me.
Ask yourself those same types of questions; who would you be if everything had been emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy in your life and nothing bad had ever happened to you?
Next, I asked myself, “What’s stopping me from being that unbroken version of myself now?” It was easy to look back at everything that had caused me to NOT be that fabulous version of myself. So then the next question was, “Okay, so they screwed you up, they raised you wrong, they cheated on you, they abandoned you, etc. Now what? Will you spend the rest of your life being the person they created or will you be the person you were really meant to be?”
That was the biggest turning point for me. That is the moment when I decided to take “me” back from “them” and to become the person I should have been if nothing bad had ever happened. You can do this too. “Who would you be if nobody ever screwed you over?
Will you allow them to stay in charge of who you are or will you take control of your own personality and decide for yourself who and what you are?”
At first, I had to fake it and pretend to be “the real me”, but eventually over time, I came to realize that it was actually much easier to be this “new” me instead of that “old broken” version of me.
I chose careers that matched my natural likes and dislikes, my natural gifts and talents, etc. I chose partners who liked me when I was not pretending to be some perfect woman for them. I dumped people from my life that did not like the “real” uncensored version of me. I am not saying I ran around burping, farting, and being an annoying brat. I am saying that I did not beat myself up anymore over every tiny little thing anymore.
I learned to quiet my inner-critic and stop letting old fears and doubts rule my every decision. “What if they don’t like me? What if I screw up? What if I fail? What if they are right and I’m just a loser?” I stopped letting those questions hold me back. Who cares what “they” say?!
You too can give yourself permission to be the “real” you, the “unbroken” you.
Now a word of warning: Sometimes the people who knew us before we made all of the personal changes refuse to see us as new and improved. This is especially true of family members. They knew you when you were a whiny kid. They knew you when you went through that really bad divorce and turned into a real nutcase.
Sometimes they have their own ugly issues to work out and are bitter that you are role modeling positive changes. It is easier said than done but believe me when I say this – It is none of your business what they think of you.
You did not change yourself so that they would like you better. You changed so that you would like you better. Hold your head up high and laugh aloud with confidence and joy. Do not allow anyone to take your new life away from you.