I Choose Who I Am

"To be nobody but yourself, in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle that any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." ~E.E. Cummings

I mentioned briefly in my last journal entry how I was working on being who I wanted to be and not who others thought I should be. A lovely comment was left that brought back this memory from my eighth grade retreat and the above insightful quote from E.E. Cummings. During this retreat, we were sitting around in our small groups talking about ourselves and this girl, to my surprise, was so envious of me because others thought me to be this quiet girl who didn’t say much so I was never expected to say much. She was what some would call the class clown and always felt the need to perform for others because that’s the role others expected her to play. She wished that she could just be quiet sometimes like me. Even then, she knew that when people put labels on us, we then naturally become what others expect us to be. What she didn’t know, and of course what I didn’t share at the time, was that I was not this shy quiet girl. I felt I was actually quite friendly and outgoing on the inside but it never came to the surface because from my childlike perspective I thought I must be wrong and what others saw must be right.

Moving into young adulthood, I carried that label with me until someone saw something different. I was in a marketing class I loved and at the end of the class my teacher told me how friendly, well spoken, and charismatic I was and it completely shattered the inaccurate mold I had been suffering in all those long years and reinforced what I had always believed deep in my heart. She never knew what an incredible gift she gave me by shining the light on who I truly was but I am indebted to her for her clear vision. One person absolutely helped changed my world and I promised myself to continue to live up to who I truly was thereafter. I think we spend so much time living up to others people’s expectations that we tend to forget who we really are and what we really want. Then there are times that we have been living with this mislabeled life so long that we do not know how to let our true selves out.

Fear and guilt may hinder our true light from shining. I was definitely the devoted daughter who always cleaned up everyone else’s mess. I was the friend who always said yes even when I didn’t want to. I was the passive girl who did not take a stand when I felt wronged. I was all these things and realized I was destroying myself by not honoring who I actually was. I learned that if I stepped back, the people I always used to take care of, would begin taking care of themselves; and if they didn’t know how then they would learn because that is part of being a responsible adult. It was not my job to take charge of anyone else’s life or to change it.

People will not fall apart without your help. They can and will go on but if you choose to remain in a role that enables them to misuse you then they will never learn what they need to. You are actually impeding their growth. I learned that people needed someone like me to take on a supporting role in their life because it made them feel better and it meant they didn’t have to work as hard. Upon this realization, I no longer felt obligated to play second best. There was no reason living a life less than I deserved. I was miserable existing with the label others placed upon me. I had my own life in which I was the starring role and it was time to start living it. Even though other people expect us to serve certain roles for their own purposes, we do not have to become them. I may entertain a character every so often but not so much that it overtakes who I am. 

The late, great Jim Rohn stated, “If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much."

Say it loud and proud: I deserve to be happy and I will no longer be what everyone else needs me to be. I am my own person who follows my heart and will become who I want to be. I will live my life, choose my role and make my rules all for me.

In certain moments, at certain times in your life, a stand must be taken and a choice must be made. You are never who others say you are. No one gets to decide who you are except you. It is always your choice to choose who you want to be. Who do you really want to be?

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