Do you struggle to hold true to who you are at your core? Through our lives, many of us “shift” depending on the roles we have been handed…oftentimes without our conscious awareness. We just become. Pause and think for a moment of someone who has compromised who he/she genuinely is based on a promotion or a heightened level of responsibility. Perhaps the high demands of work (or life in general) push one into looking at how quickly goals can be achieved. The mantra becomes: I need change…NOW. In order to establish that quick change, a new way of “being” is called into action.
This is what happens when we enter the race of life. As goals multiply we focus with laser accuracy on a plan to accomplish them, the new barometer for success. The more goals we achieve, the more we move up the ladder or responsibility…the bigger our title, and perhaps with it comes a bigger home, a nicer car, and that new I-phone you’ve been dreaming about. Personal success is ultimately defined by you, based on what you want in your life.
At 15 years old, I remember my older brother telling me I needed to stop being “too nice.” He warned me that people would take advantage of me…that I would get hurt. Back then, I shrugged it off thinking his words of wisdom were empty. I found that the giving of myself is simply the person I wanted to be. So through the years I held on to his words with a little bit of stinging resentment, but also as words of caution that I may be stabbed in the back a few times along the way.
Being who I am…being nice….comes with its rewards and consequences. It’s like Brené Brown states in her work…if you’re gonna get in the ring expect to be punched. So I’ve taken my punches throughout my life and I’ve gotten back up. I’ve become more conscious about how long I work to “help” someone and despite getting burned by people (i.e. that “being taken advantage of” thing my brother warned me about) I recognize that ultimately this says more about them than it does about me. This world is full of kind people and, conversely, those not so kind. It’s just the balance of life.
So, although I may be taken advantage of, I also recognize the capacity I have to enhance the lives of others merely by offering my support to them. The personal nourishment of helping another significantly outweighs the negative experiences I’ve had to overcome from merely being my genuine self. As my awareness of self grows, my integrity to keeping true to who I am remains uncompromised….despite the punches. As I lead, being nice remains at the core of who I am. It continues to serve me well and I find my life richer because of it.
As you embark on into this new year, I encourage you to examine who you are…deep in your core…and who you want to be. How do remain true to the authentic you?