My fears, my strengths, and my expectations from myself!
Now a days I love being Me.
But there was a time when I wasn’t so sure of who I wanted to be. I too, would try to model myself on this or the other person. Whenever I would meet someone inspiring and the way they spoke or presented themsleves or interacted with others was awe-inspiring, I would try to be like them. Looking back, I now think that for everyone to discover who they really are, it is necessary to try out different things, different ways of interacting, different ways of reacting till one finds the perfect fit for oneself too.
So, it was for me.
Yet the absurd part was that I decided to me myself after being rebuffed many times and after not being liked for being like someone else. I shall explain what may seem conflicting and confusing – what you have just read.
Years ago, when Dale Carnegie wrote his famous book: How to win friends and influence people, I had got hold of it to read. My Dad had told me about it with a tag line: “Read it and learn from it, you need it”, he had said then. He has this forever habit of pulling our leg thus. I had read it and found it to be extremely full of good common sense. I had also started my first lessons in trying out something I liked and something which the world was saying is ‘so amazing’, that one does need to try it!!! As I did with so many other people or books I read. But the biggest lesson which I came away from it sub-consciously was that even if one does not like something, it makes more sense to be nice about it and not be mean. I would also learn to be extremely appreciative of the efforts of others around me and be full of praise even though in my own life it was common place and it was something I had known or had been doing since long.
So far so good.
But then the world changed a bit.
Being aggressive became the new confident.
Usurping the ideas of others as you casually shared it with them became the norm rather than an exception.
Being extremely pushy about anything was considered the new rule. It was increasingly accepted.
Being loud and boisterous was the new sign of self-confidence.
Beating one’s own trumpet ceased to be considered rude and offensive.
Small is big became the new mantra.
In short, ‘empty vessels make the most noise’ was one proverb given the deaf ear completely. And more the sound emanating from a person more his/her flock & following increased. It was here that I started to find myself outnumbered and out heard. It was here that I withdrew from the rat-race and decided to be Me.
This is what I meant when I said that “that I decided to me myself after many a times I was rebuffed and not liked for being like someone else”. Every time I tried to be nice and ignore a shithead, more came at me. Each time I tried to genuinely praise someone even for a pathetically half-hearted attempt at something, to not hurt that person – that pathetic work became recognised as a work of art and became that person’s calling card as against mine. Each time I made the other person’s dreams my own they thought they owned me. Each time I gave my 100 % people wanted to read between the lines for intentions which never did exist. Each time I tried to be nice to everyone the crowd interpreted that to be my weakness.
It was then decades ago that I reverted to being Me.
I spoke my mind.
I spoke my feelings.
I wore my strengths of honesty and integrity on my sleeve.
I cared two hoots for what the world wanted me to be.
I followed my heart and listened deeply to my instincts.
I gave the world ME, finally.
I continued and still do continue to have my fears. But I overcome that with my strengths. I calm down my expectations of myself. I have stopped being hard on myself about not being understood widely. I now concentrate on small. My world is my canvas but only a very small group of people feature in my palette to offer colour to my life. I state now what I’d earlier hope others to understand and decipher about me – I spell it out for them now. I am unapologetically scathing about grey areas which harm or may harm others. I have become more rigid about my value systems and pride openly in who I am and due to what. I am unashamedly proud of my upbringing and my learnings from it. I have learned technology like no one else and hit the ‘delete’ button instantly without remorse when I encounter people who sap my positivity. I have learned to live in the now and enjoy my present. I do not fret about things which are not in my control. Yet I slip up many a times and delve into the dark world of unforgiving feelings. I continue to have my bad days. I continue to over think and overreact. I continue to have a temper which scares me too sometimes.
But I have learned to identify those weak and unsavoury moments as I pass through them and I change it when I face them again, next time. I still slip sometimes in those aware endeavours, but I have my mental lists ready, and my mind’s alarm set to ‘think, deep breadth and ignore it’ mode. It works most of the time. When it doesn’t, I have a very valid reason for the fuse to go off.
But I am still working on it.
I expect nothing from myself these days except being able to enjoy what I have. My heart was always grateful for what I had and have. The grass was never greener on the other side of my life. I continue to enjoy my time with my family and close circle of friends. I continue to be me and am okay if people take time to understand and appreciate me – I remain in no hurry to be liked. For me appreciation is in the fact that those who have known me and have understood me, the right way, realise the true meaning of ‘limited edition’.
For I am that along with being a bit weird. But I am still an authentic: Me!!