During my tumultuous teenage years, I fondly remember my older brother encouraging me, in his caring and gentle way, to just “be myself”.
I loved that he believed that being myself was worth being, if you know what I mean.
I didn’t have to be anyone but me, and all this entailed.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to know who “myself” really is, and we can spend a lifetime performing a role meant for someone else.
This can lead to relationship problems, and a mistaken identity that can result in depression and a feeling that life is immensely futile.
I remember a young friend saying she felt like a chameleon, always adapting herself to her surroundings – or rather, to the perceived expectations of others.
A lot of us feel that way in our early 20s, then in our 30s we seem to find an increasing comfort in our own skin, and the life we’ve created. That’s before the cliched mid-life crisis hits, and many start to question whether they’re on the right path at all.
“Sometimes the story we’re telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us,” writes Donald Miller in Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy.
Miller points out that sometimes we maintain a way of relating to the world that doesn’t reflect our truest self, and we often don’t realise this till we’re in our 30s.
He suggests that maybe we’re hiding something – the true me, and the story – or life – that’s really worth telling and living.
What story aren’t you telling the world? What ‘comfortable’, well-practiced way of doing life are you hiding behind?
What story is yet to emerge from the recesses?
And do you believe that your true story – or your true self – is powerful enough to impact others?