The Importance Of Accepting Who We Are
“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
Who are you?
Have you ever really contemplated this question?
I know I have. And the older I’ve become, the more importance I place on my response.
My guess is most people go through a series of transitions—influenced by experiences and relationships—that when combined, mold us into who we ultimately become. No doubt, the woman I was when I graduated from Lehigh and began working at the Philadelphia National Bank presents quite differently than the person I am today. That twenty-two-year-old version isn’t better or worse than my present self. She was exactly who she needed to be at that moment in time, nothing more or nothing less. Otherwise, how could she have encountered those life challenges that were hers to meet?
It’s the lessons we learn from these various phases of our lives that matter most, creating our thoughts, behaviors, habits, and belief systems. Slowly, over time, the accumulation of earth school’s discoveries morphs us, molds us, and hopefully helps us develop into our higher selves. Sometimes we embrace different archetypes during particular periods of life. We may strive to excel, fit in, be funny, make money…do whatever we feel we should do. Often, we wear masks, compromising our true selves to please others or craft a particular image.
But then a funny thing happens. It’s as though we become tired of pretending—even if we were unaware of doing so—and embrace who we are.
Our true selves
When we arrive at this stage—some figure it out at twenty-five, while others are well past sixty when the light bulb goes off—we view our whole self, perfectly imperfect, and we’re fine with who we are. It’s not that we don’t strive to do better, but we stop chastising ourselves for not being enough. No doubt this is exactly what I’ve been experiencing the past several years. And here’s what I discovered about who I am.
The truth is I’m quirky, a bit of a nerd, and I tend to live with my head in the clouds. While math was my strong suit as a kid—and I majored in Finance in college—I’ve become equally comfortable with words as I am with numbers. And though my body is absurdly inflexible, I’ve fallen in love with yoga and enrolled in a yoga teacher training certification. During the past seven years, I’ve found peace in spirituality and finding my purpose in life. I love astrology, crystals, and energy work. But that’s not the whole picture of who I am.
I love drinking a strong cup of coffee, sipping on one of my husband’s delicious Old Fashioneds, and watching reruns of Friends at night. Running provides a release I still cannot feel during meditation, and I’m drawn to golf, though it often frustrates me. I can swear like a truck driver, laugh at myself, and can’t resist the urge to dance whenever “September” is played (often to my family’s embarrassment). Basically, like most, I’m a mixed bag. I love all different types of people, preferring individual friendships over group dynamics. At times, I care too much, feel things that are not mine, and often forget to hold my tongue. I’m opinionated, still I hate conflict, and do my best to mediate when others disagree, often fixing what is not mine.
Be who you are
Yet, somewhere along the way, I stopped caring so much about what others thought. I realize this shift might not make some happy, but it’s finally time I own who I am and stop trying to be someone else. In no way is this meant as a form of disrespect or arrogance. I have no more answers than anyone else and accept many lessons that lie ahead of me in this lifetime, appreciating the unlimited opportunities for growth. I hope others can see me for who I am, but if they can’t, I’m OK with that.
Recently I realized that had I continued to be consumed with what others thought, I never could have published The Invitation. No doubt there are woo-woo elements to this book, aspects that may seem strange or uncomfortable to others. However, this novel is not supposed to be for everyone. I wouldn’t call it vanilla, chocolate, or even strawberry—it’s more of a salted caramel flavor of ice cream…with psychedelic sprinkles.
Accepting who we are is the ultimate act of self-love. And let’s be honest, it’s not easy, as every one of us possesses traits we wish didn’t exist. But when we own our entire beings, we see both our light and dark, and all the gray in between. With this comes the grace of acknowledging our humanness. Doing so doesn’t mean we excuse the areas we don’t like. Rather, we know who we are and own who we are. We see ourselves as unique beings, here to learn, grow, and love.
Know who you are. Love who you are. Because only then, can we fully love another.
“Once we are able to accept ourselves just the way we are, everything can start changing from that point forward.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
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