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To Thine Own Self be True, Even if it Takes a While

Updated on April 19, 2015

This above all else

Polonius in Hamlet told his son, "This above all: to thine ownself be true."

I'm watching an episode of "Austin and Ally" with my daughter, and that is the theme.

From Renaissance England to twenty-first century teeny-bopper America, the idea of just being yourself weaves through the culture. But it's easier said than done. I have always struggled with being what I am as opposed to being what people think I should be. In fact, I wasn't going to even write this because I am worried at how people will react.

Now, don't think that I worry about what everyone thinks of me. I don't. It's just that at some point I decided to change myself to please the important people in my life. I have very low self esteem. (There, I said it publicly.) And I'm a people-pleaser. My father, my brother, and my husband all three are worriers. I'm not by nature. As a young girl, I would just shrug things off and trust everything will turn out all right. But I was made to feel that that was foolish. So I began fretting with the fretters. Their fears fed mine, and I became a worry-wort. I fit into their mold.

Another part of my personality that I changed to fit in was my easy-going attitude toward rules. A couple of my co-workers were sticklers for following every policy to the n-th degree. Deep down, I never saw the need to do that, but I loved these coworkers so I became as strict a rule enforcer as I could be. I was afraid to offer my opinion because I didn't want to ruffle their uptight feathers.

And then the worst happened. My husband of thirteen years decided he'd had enough of me. One of the reasons he gave is that I needed to become my own person. I was, I thought. But now that I'm living on my own with just my daughter, I know that I had become someone I didn't recognize.

I had lost myself in trying to be what I thought I should become. So, here is what I am, at least right now:

I'm a Christian, which means I need to leave my problems in God's hands. I will not worry.

I'm a rule breaker, if possible, but I respect law and order. Exceptions may be made if possible. If not possible, I'll enforce the rules.

I'm messy. I can't help it. My house gets cluttered and my laundry piles up. I feel awful about it, but that's the way it is.I envy those who can keep their houses pristine.

I'm working poor. I have spent practically every day of my life working since I turned eighteen, and I have little to show for it. I'm living on my father-in-law's charity, I'll be unemployed in a couple of weeks, and I have very little savings. Oh, well.

I do have a master's degree and my car is paid for. I guess I own half a house. :/ And I am the mommy of a beautiful, smart, healthy and creative girl. I hope she doesn't have identity crises like I do.

Obviously, that's not an exhaustive list. Maybe I'll discover more about myself. Stay tuned.


Self Awareness

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