Like 99% of the world, you probably think you need to become someone.
Well, you don’t. The only thing you need to become is who you are. Because if you’re like most people, you’re probably not who you really are all the time. You might be yourself when the situation is comfortable. You might be yourself when the risk of defending your ego is minimal.
But you’re probably not who you really are all the time.
It’s weird how when we’re little kids, our parents tell us “You can be anything you want when you grow up.” As if we should be anything other than ourselves, right?
Well they have good intentions, anyway. Maybe they should have said “You can do anything you want when you grow up.” I think that would have been a little more appropriate.
But then something happens when you get a little older. Into junior high and high school, your parents and teachers start telling you “You need to make something out of yourself.”
Now, wait a minute. What happened to “I can be anything I want”? Now I have to make something out of myself? I guess it’s easy to tell innocent kids that their potential is limitless. But when you get older, it’s time to “get real,” right? It’s time to “grow up” we’re told, and “become an adult.”
I really think that this is where it all starts. Our dissatisfaction complex takes root at an early age, and somewhere around our teen years it blooms.
Then we start looking for something outside of ourselves. We search for an identity in our possessions. Once we get that car, that apartment, and all that stuff, then we’ll be a “real person.” Or so we think.
Because it doesn’t stop there…
Now we need the image.
We need the clothes, the friends, and the trappings that make us feel legitimate. I used to feel this way when I was doing graphic design. I thought that in order to be a real artist, I needed cool books, a certain attitude and style, and other artsy friends. I needed to go to artsy places and do artistic things. I needed to make it clear to others that I am, in fact, a definite “serious” artist.
But as soon as I have all those things, I’m still not satisfied. There’s always something else I need to do, some thing or status I need to achieve to really, finally, be the person I want to become.
Newsflash: If you think this way, you will NEVER become who you want to be. You will NEVER be satisfied, because you don’t NEED to BECOME ANYTHING.
(end big dramatic type.)
So here’s a different way to be
Become who you are. Walk through the fire.
Instead of trying to become something, and then find fulfillment, find fulfillment through being who you are. That is the only way you will ever find contentment.
Now, you can still add or subtract whatever you want in your life:
- You can add people to your life that are more in alignment with you are, but subtract doing it to validate yourself.
- You can add ideas and principles that align with the core of who you are and what you believe in.
- You can subtract doing all the things that don’t make you come alive.
- You can subtract the job that doesn’t make you excited to wake up, and add a career that does.
- You can subtract materialism and replace chasing things with cultivating freedom.
- You can add authentic experiences instead of hiding behind facades.
You can even seek new ways to improve your life, but your identity doesn’t depend on it. You won’t feel bad or worse if you become a super fast typist or an Olympic gymnast. Even though you might take great pleasure in seeking new heights of self-cultivation (like I do), not achieving your goals doesn’t ruin your day.
You need to realize that even if you reach a new level, there will always be another level to aspire to. There will always be something next. And you should care less. Because even though it might be fun for you to play the game, you need to realize that it’s just a game.
Even though you might seek something “better” or more desirable, you are not attached to it. Because you realize that contentment is more valuable than gold. Your peace cannot be traded for the attainment of any credentials. Fitting in can’t replace being authentic.
You know this is the secret to sustainable contentment. And because you know it, you never have to compare yourself to others, or seek anything to be okay with who you are.
You become who you are first.
You leave becoming anything else to those who think the game is real.
So are you willing to sell your cleverness, and purchase bewilderment? Are you willing to set fire to the facade? Are you willing to be naked? Are you ready to walk unafraid?
The fire is there, waiting for you. Walk through it.
Burn the cloak. Burn the mask.
Come out unclothed, just as you came into this world… and reclaim your freedom.