You probably know the type. Just trying to be helpful and make things clear for you. All the while you’re wondering how you’ll dispose of the body, but smiling politely and gritting your teeth.
That was me yesterday when we were talking about relaxing into who we really are and having the strength to understand and accept that. But as I was getting into my happy place, my friend chimes in with one of her classic lines – ‘But obviously you can only ever be yourself. That’s who you are! Who else are you going to be?’.
Must admit she made me think – is that true? Are we stuck with what we’ve become as adults? After some musing I decided that’s definitely not true. Change is possible, and actually necessary sometimes. So here are my 5 reasons why being yourself, and changing, are such an important part of life as an adult.
1. Living in line with your values and beliefs. This is number one because this truly defines us, but also changes as we go through life. Having children dramatically alters our values and beliefs, maybe more so than anything else. But generally, being clear about this stops us being overly affected by the values of other people and helps us stay strong, especially in challenging times.
2. A sense of identity. This one tends to come about as a result of the point above. When we actually do the things that are right for us and our family, pursue what matters to us and don’t settle or give in to things that could be changed with some effort – that gives us a strong sense of who we are. Out of that flows dignity and self-respect.
3. Taking courageous steps. Courage comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn’t have to mean changing the world. Changing a habit is courageous. Moving on from being a full time parent and going back to work takes serious inner strength! It’s different for us all, but all forms of courage involve changing things in some way or striking out on our own, especially when others are nay-saying. To make life move forward – that takes courage.
4. Keeping your boundaries. Boundaries matter if we want people to respect us and know that we value ourselves and our time. Not giving time and space to those who add nothing good to our lives may be hard, but it’s central to self-respect. Even harder when it’s family and friends, but there’s a price to pay if we become the go-to person for favours. Respecting your own boundaries may cause short term pain, but the gains last a lifetime.
5. Focus and direction. Doing what’s right for ourselves, rather than what other people think we should be doing, is a huge part of what matters most in life. Finding our purpose, developing that direction and seeing it through to completion makes us feel great about ourselves and gives us something real to feel good about. Again, it doesn’t have to be a life-changing project – just something we’ve committed to, with goals to achieve, and followed through to the end. Who knows where it could lead?
All seems pretty obvious I must admit, but actually living like this…! It’s all work in progress.