I admit it. There have been many years in which I vowed to be someone different, starting January 1st. Some years I resolved to be healthier, slimmer, more fit. In other years I resolved to be smarter or kinder or more organized. And there were years when I planned for the new year to be the one where I found the perfect job, wrote the best-selling book, or traveled extensively.
No matter the goal – the overarching theme was I’d be someone different in the coming year.
Not that any of these goals were faulty. What was amiss was my quest to ignore who I was in the attempt to shape myself into what I believed others thought I should be. Couple that with the desire to completely turn the corner based on a calendar day rather than a solid plan with incremental, but the consistent movement forward.
The funny thing is that now that I have abandoned the “new you” mentality, most of what I longed for in my life has materialized. Not because of a new year’s resolution, but as the result of a personal commitment to honor who I am, who I can become, and an understanding that transformation seldom happens overnight. Instead, it happens when you make a personal commitment to your health, your relationships, or your work.
I do have a job/career that I love. But only when I abandoned the traditional job quest and struck out on my own. And even then, only when I put in years of effort to shape my business around my gifts, talents, and passions.
I am enjoying travels and adventures, yet only after I really started to focus on the places I really wanted to experience, rather than the slick travel brochures. Travelling my way means more time in the woods and nature and less time chasing from city to city on a whirlwind tour.
I’ve abandoned running endurance races and instead regularly hike in the wood, regular yoga, and almost daily walks. That feels more like “me”, and as a result, it is much easier to follow through and do what serves me well.
Granted, it can be scary to walk your own path. First of all, you have to unearth it by peeling off all those cultural expectations that we carry – about what your body, your life, your career, your relationships, and your passions “should” be.
Then you must find and claim the “true you”. This is not an easy process – for we are far too conditioned to find our deficits rather than our gifts. To see our darkness and short comings rather than our lights and uniqueness.
This process starts once you scape off all those expectations you carry from others and begin to notice yourself. What gives you joy? When do you become absorbed in an activity? What does your heart yearn for? What is your body telling you (for your body seldom lies, if you pay attention).
Then, my friend, just begin to reclaim the True You. Bring more of who you are into your days. Bit by bit, piece by piece. Without apology or guilt or self-flagellation.
Stepping into our true selves, our true gifts, and our true talents is the work of a lifetime. It is a journey of the soul. Albeit long, at times confusing, and requires much, it is a quest worth pursuing.
So my wish for you on this new year’s day is not that you become a “new you” but that you step more and more into the person you already are. Deep inside. Bit by bit- the True You will emerge.
Trust me, It will be messy. You’ll find your uniqueness unapologetically. And it will be just what you need it to be.
I close this blog with a beautiful piece of poetry from my friend and colleague, Emily Bopp.
Becoming, uniquely, must be by faith, not sight
To allow an emergence of what has never been before
Means leaving what will be an open blank
Ready to receive the new strokes of color
The new form
Of course, the current state
Somehow births the new one
But if a seed insists it will be round and smooth once it has sprouted
Because a round, smooth existence is what it thinks it is to be
It may never sprout
Or if it does, it may perceive its new life as its undoing
Rather than its becoming
Faith means being open
To the re-organization of what is known
Into the emergence of what has never been known before
It is the path of life.
Thank you for reading Emily Christine Bopp. Emily’s is public so feel free to share it.