What Do You See?

Take a look around, Tell me what you see. Is who you think you are, Who you wanna be?” – Everybody’s Broken – Bon Jovi

I listened to this song one day last week while at work and it stopped me in my tracks. I replayed it on my iPod over and over again. What an interesting question to ponder – and that I did – a lot (yes, I’m easily distracted.)  It took me 3 days to write this post as a result.

I’m looking around, what do I see? I see a world full of possibilities and opportunities. I see so many places to visit. I see beauty in all, even in the darkest of places. I see how the rain drops can be cleansing to the soul. I can see how a crumb on the living room floor means that someone’s hunger has been satisfied. I see that arguments with family, although frustrating at time, also means that there are people who care about you. I see kindness in all people, all walks of life, even those who are difficult to get along with. But most of all I see me – finally. Crazy, beautiful me.

Now for the next question “Is who you think you are, who you wanna be?”

If I was asked this question six months ago, maybe a year ago, or even five years ago, I probably would have said no, who I saw then, wasn’t who I wanted to be. I was trying to be what everybody else wanted me to be.  It was exhausting, frustrating, and depressing because I wasn’t satisfied with myself, and I every time I wasn’t able to live up to the expectations of others, I felt like a failure.  I couldn’t clearly define what I wanted in my life, as so I tried to live by other people’s rules and principles.

But today, I can proudly say yes. YES! Who I think I am IS who I wanna be. With all my vulnerabilities, insecurities, quirky ways, chaotic mind, odd sense of humour, desire for life – wouldn’t give up any of it. I would not change one single thing.

Why? It is because I have finally reached the point where I have discovered something – myself.  Me. I have also given myself permission to change to suit my needs. One day I may like something, and the next I may think otherwise, and it’s all ok. Looking back into my past, I have found that I needed to have my entire life planned out, and had to live my life accordingly, especially compromising myself, my beliefs and my needs to the opinions and judgements of others.  I was afraid to detour from this path for fear of being casted out, being alone.  As a result if something was thrown into my path, blocking it, I would try very hard to move it, albeit unsuccessfully most of the time.  Because this is what I thought was expected of me.  What I expected from myself.

But maybe the blockage was placed as a way to show me that I’m not supposed to go down that path, it wasn’t for me, that I should take an alternate route? I didn’t see that.  Of course I didn’t see that because I didn’t see me. I was lost in in the actions of trying to move it, which was my only goal. But now I understand that life will always be this way, there will always be things thrown onto my path and that adjustments will always have to be made. I see that when it happens, I will have to take a different route.

It’s hard to change your thought patterns, especially when you have been accustomed to a community or group mind way of thinking. There are many examples of this, and one is living with your significant other prior to getting married. In my culture, that is unheard of! How dare you live with someone prior to getting married? Another examples is learning about your spirituality and seeking answers from someone outside our religion is a big no-no, it’s viewed as turning your back on God, when in actual fact you’re wanting to know more.  Another is moving to a different city or country for work. My culture prides itself on togetherness.  You don’t leave your family, especially when someone gets married; they welcome the other person into the family – enlarging it. Other cultures see marriage as a growth and time for independence, as in launching the person into society. You don’t move far away as it’s seen as abandonment.  And to look outside the family for help – it doesn’t matter if it’s for financial, religious or any reason for that matter, it’s seen as betrayal. There isn’t much emphasis on self.

To move away from this way of thinking is extremely difficult, courageous and downright distressing and the risk of not doing so, is not living your life the way you want to, not being your true authentic self.  When someone chooses not to, it’s usually about not having the courage to take the steps to truly becoming the real you for fear of “rocking the boat” and being labelled as the black sheep, selfish, the screw up of the family or the problem child.  Yes, these WILL happen, you will be labelled as such, and anxiety in your relationships with these very people will increase to new heights.  But have a look at those relationships prior to your changing.  Wasn’t anxiety already there?

Present along with the anxiety is the other emotions of anger, disappointment and resentment too.  And the price of not moving to become your true self is eventually an increase in these emotions which will lead to a deterioration of the relationship, a bitter you with many illnesses and ailments and an unsatisfied, unfulfilled life with a lot of regrets.  It has been proven that people who are unsatisfied with their life will host a range of illnesses.  And with time, they become sicker and sicker because of not taking the steps to do something with their life as they look  or satisfaction.  Nobody can make you satisfied with your own life. This isn’t possible because we make our own happiness, by setting our own goals, choosing who we want to be with, defining how we live our own life.  I know that since taking the reins back to my life, I have suffered less physically and I feel a greater sense of wholeness.

The work you will need to put into taking the reins back to your life is significant, and it’s hard and uncomfortable work because with every new step you introduce into the dance of intimacy with others will create a ripple effect in your life and theirs. You’re ready for change, but they aren’t.  And as a result there will be resistance met.  It will be lucrative to move back to your old patters, but remember that the short term pains will be worth the lifetime of gains of living your life to meet the goals and achievements you have set out for YOURSELF based on your OWN needs and wants.  You cannot wait for them to be ready for change before you begin.  They may never be ready, which means you will never get to live your life.

So, as I said before, I give myself permission to change my mind about things.  So my answer to the question “Is who you think you are, Who you wanna be?” will still be a No.  It isn’t who I “think” I am, who I wanna be.  It’s who I AM, is who I wanna be!

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