Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Knowing Yourself

I've been watching American Idol for years, listening to the judges say the same trite things over and over and not taking any notice of it, but last night their advice to "be yourself" really stood out to me. All of the judges, but particularly Simon, reminded each contestant not to copy other performers, but to discover their own unique personality and be original when on stage. This old advice seemed fresh to me as I understood it in terms of writing. I have been searching for years to find my own voice, to recognize it as mine and own it. We are all on a journey to know ourselves and I don't think that searching ends until our lives are over. Every now and again it's good to turn around and see how far we have come, as progress in life can be incrementally slow.

As I pursue this dream of writing, I am finding my own words and expressing them in my own way. There is no point in beating myself up for wasting valuable writing time at certain points in my life because I wasn't ready before now. We have to be open to discovering what life is trying to teach us. We learn as we age, experience new things, meet different people and understand our beliefs in deeper ways. There is a real freedom to personal change. I hope I never stop changing for the rest of my life. I want to constantly discover new things about myself. To stay the same is to stop growing. Sometimes change is painful and I long for a safe place where life is constant and predictable, but I don't grow much in the easy times. When I look back, the stressful times are where the seeds of change take root, and then they bloom in the sunshine.

There is no point in trying to be like others. Our goal should be to know who we are, and express ourselves without fear of consequences. This is easier to say than to do, as we won't always have the approval of the people in our lives. Coming to terms with this and accepting it is a big part of forming your own unique identity and living as yourself in this world. All of the growing pains are worth it. One day you'll realize that you are deeply rooted in your own personality, with all of your strengths and weaknesses, that you like who you are, and that the struggle to own yourself is one of the greatest accomplishments of your life.

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