Welcome to the final installment of our Know, Like, Be Who You Are series! While this is the end of the series, it’s not the end of the discussion. Hopefully this is just the beginning as you progress in knowing and understanding who you are, learning to appreciate and like that person, and being authentic and genuine in expressing what you find. Please keep sharing both on this site, and on the Audacious Blog Facebook page.
In the past two weeks we’ve broken down some steps to knowing who you are, and explored how to like the self you discovered. You know who you are. You’ve been asking yourself questions and uncovering new elements. There are things you want to change and things you’ve learned to accept. You have decided that it is worth the work to learn to like this person you’ve discovered, flaws and frustrations and all. You’ve even started to appreciate the things that used to bring you guilt and shame for the protection and insight they bring. Now comes the deceptively challenging task of being who you are.
I can summarize the most important learning I’ve done on this subject into two lessons:
- Who you are and who you were meant to be are more important than other peoples’ perceptions.
- Cast not your pearls before swine…
I’ve talked before here about the work I did to learn that my ideas, opinions and purpose are more significant and important than my fears of the perceptions of others. Being who you are starts by believing that what’s inside of you is worthy, is valuable, has merit and purpose. Those thoughts you think and the ideas you have are worth sharing and exploring. Your desires and the things you find fun are beautiful and shouldn’t be judged. You are free and welcome to enjoy and enthuse about your vintage doll collection, the most recent war documentary series you binge watched, and the superb paella you had last night. I want to encourage you to let your true self shine. You are valid. Your enthusiasm for the things you love is wonderful and special and beautiful. Your fashion sense is inspired. That new makeup look is incredible. Your creativity is brilliant. You are free to say ‘no’ to any popular trend you decide to forego without losing any value.
If you need additional support of this fact here you go: It’s You I Like from the man himself.
I want you to decide to let yourself shine, however that looks to you. The key is to know how much of yourself to let glow in each setting and with each group.
or maybe, more accurately, here’s us. All of our hopes and dream and traits and interests. A kaleidoscope of unique and beautiful things. We have just been encouraged to share all these miraculous and wonderful characteristics and tastes with the world! But therein lies the vulnerability. It’s super intimidating and scary to expose these parts of ourselves, even when we do believe that we can handle whatever other people may think about them. We’ve decided that it is in our own and the world’s best interest if we let ourselves shine, but how to do that when we’ve been so burned by others before?
By keeping your personal self-expression to an elevator pitch with the new kid at work, conversations over coffee with the girls from book club, and saving crying on the couch in your pajamas for your bestie and your mum.
The Biblical source of that second lesson discusses Biblical truth that would be ill-received by people who have disdain for faith and righteousness. I’m drawing a parallel here. The things that make up you are precious; your ideas and dreams. There are people who like pigs have no interest or use for such precious things. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve shared something deep and meaningful only to have the other person laugh, ignore you, or openly mock what you’ve shared. Pearls before swine, baby.
See that circle with passersby, elevator companions and ‘everybody else’ in it? That’s the random strangers circle. The parts of yourself that you share with them should be genuine, but surface. Your taste in shoes, the books you read on the Subway, your preferred flavor of ice cream, your appreciation of Chevys over Fords, all are authentic expressions of yourself and honestly, are most all of what you probably want to share with this outer circle. This seems super basic, but the times that I have felt most disappointed in my attempts to be myself were the times I didn’t think about this. In order to figure out how to be myself was to learn that some people just haven’t earned the right to see deeper than the surface. This is about learning to be who you are, and when you share those intimate things with people who aren’t worthy of hearing them, you will inevitably get burned, retreat and wonder if being yourself is really worth it.
I found great value in learning who to keep at the surface level of sharing myself, and as much value in discovering people with whom I can safely share it all. I have a wonderful husband who embraces all the weird self-expression I throw at him. I have a few dynamic, supportive and honest friends who welcome my zany ideas, random rants and gushing about my hobbies.
There are people in your life who want to laugh with you until you’re both crying. You deserve to have a friend who will go with you to that show, help you buy that vintage rug, and hold your basket at the craft store. Just as there is reason to be cautious with just how much of yourself you share with people who haven’t earned it, there are people who will love you as you open yourself to them with reckless abandon.
May we find them. May we be them to others. May we learn to truly be who we are.