Do You Regret Who You've Become?
When I was five I loved to wear hats. I found them exciting and adorable. I never thought about whether I liked myself in them or not. That wasn't the point. The point was that I really liked hats.
However, at some point in my life, someone made a silly remark about how round my face looked in hats. They laughed at me when I wore them. Suddenly, that opinion of me in hats mattered more to me than my love of hats.
I have looked at many wonderful hats since then, but I admire them only. I chose, for what ever reason that day, that I would trade a piece of myself (something I loved) for a piece of society's admiration. And by doing so became a little less of myself and a little more of the person I wanted others to think I was.
Conformity vs Non-Conformity
I believe if you put together all of those things we really wanted in life but chose to do without, for whatever reason, we would get a very fine-tuned picture of who we really are deep inside. By that definition, it makes sense that by our daily choices we are, in essence, telling the world who we have chosen to appear to be.
How full those halls of rejected personalities must be! We are living day to day, judging each other based on the personas we have chosen rather than based on who we really are. And those who are judging us are coming from spaces of rejection themselves!
Imagine, each time you stood transfixed by a thought or an item that somehow seemed familiar or exciting to you, you were actually choosing between who you want to appear to be and who you really are.
What choices have you made through the years? Can you be honest enough with yourself to realize that, at times, you have chosen, based on the criteria of others, to be what is contrary to your very nature?
Each time you abandoned an idea, a treasure, a thought, a class, a teacher, a way of life, a dream, or even that velvet cape in the antique shop (where would you wear it anyway?) you have somehow traded (and for what?) a small piece of yourself. You have laid your true self upon the altar of social graces and conformity.
I think about it a lot lately. I’m getting older I guess. Now, when I'm debating over whether to hold back or go for it, I ask myself, "Who will I become if I don't do this?"
Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle.
- On one side list all the things that you ever loved but didn’t pursue, buy or follow.
- This part is harder: On the other side list the way it changed you. Maybe it made it kept you from going to college or maybe your choice, like mine above, got me sunburn pretty often because I refused to wear a cap. Maybe it just felt, also like me, that you were born fat.
- Now take another piece of paper and draw a line.
- List all the things you really want to do, or see or be.
- Again a hard thing: On the other side list what you will lose out on if you don’t do it. A promotion? A sense of accomplishment?
I don’t, for one minute, think this exercise is easy and we shouldn't expect it to be. This exercise isn’t really done to give you concrete answers…it’s to make you think. It's to create a longing in you for your real self.
After all, who will you become if you don’t do it?
Who are YOU?
As of this day, do YOU regret who you've become?
© 2009 Anita GoodIdea