People would say – you have to be comfortable in your own skin, like who you are, love yourself even. And I always thought in response – well I do! And I would reflect on the aspects of myself that I viewed in a positive light, my successes, my best personality traits, the parts of me I felt most proud of.
And the not-so-proud parts? My view was – well those are opportunities for growth. Nobody’s perfect, but people can change, and personal growth is a good goal to have.
Sounds healthy, doesn’t it?
But here’s the thing. Personal growth shouldn’t equate to developing a completely different personality. It’s not realistic and maybe (really?) not necessary. Consider this. What if some of those personality traits we deem as faults are actually not faults at all? What if there’s nothing wrong with those parts of us just as they are? What if that realization is the actual growth that’s needed?
Case in point. All of my life I have been told by various people that I need to be more social. And I believed them. And I tried really hard to be that way. I’m an only child and have always figured my “antisocial” nature and “weirdness” were negative byproducts of growing up “spoiled” and spending more time alone or with adults than other kids. So I have been trying to fix this part of me, I guess by ignoring it as best I could and doing whatever was expected whether I wanted to or not. As you can imagine, struggling against my nature means sometimes (often) faking it. And of course, somewhere along the way I figured out wine made the faking it easier and a lot more fun.
Since the dishonest fake-it-with-wine method is now off the table, I’ve been thinking about honesty and what it means to be more open about how I really feel. I’ve spent a lot of my life worrying about what other people think and trying to be the way other people wanted me to be. And failing at it! That’s the crazy part. I struggle to create the appearance of being more social than I am, yet no one is fooled! So it’s really been a big huge painful waste of time.
Now what then? I’m not sure exactly. But I’m trying to tell the truth more – about what I want and how I feel. And leaving it at that. No more apologies for who I am, for just being me. The first time I did this, I felt very uncomfortable, and sort of held my breath, waiting for my world to begin to fall apart. Of course it didn’t. Not even close. I stepped out of my comfort zone, but in the opposite direction from where I would usually have pushed myself to go. I went with honesty and decided to let the chips fall where they may. And there turned out to be very few chips to worry about anyway.
I hope it’s not the wrong thing to do, but I think for me this is personal growth in a way I never imagined before.
Happy Sober Monday,