If you’re like me, you grew up being told you could be whatever you wanted to be. You were told to be yourself, embrace your differences, and to not let others put you down. As long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t you do and be who you want? Right?
But the truth is that the implementation of this concept seems to be much different, and much more difficult, than we might’ve imagined. We go from being told we will be accepted for our true selves to being expected to be really good at learning how to fit in or be whoever someone else expects us to be. To know how to behave at family functions, at birthday parties, in church or school, at work, etc. We learn which parts of ourselves to hide or even showcase depending on the situation. And we do this over and over again until it becomes a natural part of our daily lives. Why? What benefit does society have of just getting little snippets of ourselves, our ideas or talents?
We tend to align ourselves into these pretty little boxes: I am a Wife/Husband. Mom/Dad. Daughter/Son. Sister/Brother. Aunt/Uncle. Friend. Co-worker. Employee. Boss. Philanthropist. Baptist/Methodist/Catholic/Muslim/Atheist. Democrat/Republican. Banker. Doctor. Lawyer. Teacher. Nurse. Fat/Skinny. Ugly/Beautiful. And the list goes on and on…
We can get stuck and tend to hide behind labels when we have to answer the question: Who am I? And I’ve seen so many people going through life just doing and saying the things they think others want them to. And I’m guilty! I’ve done it for years.
But YOU are not just your title. I am not just a wife, mother, daughter, sister, or employee. I am a unique energy on this earth with a purpose other than adding more labels to my bio. And I am okay with my labels changing as I grow. I don’t want to be the same person 20 years from now. Or 20 days from now. But to do that, I have to take a solid, and sometimes uncomfortable, look at who I am, or who others think I am, and be willing to make changes. To do that, I have to recognize what labels I’ve put on myself that were expectations of other people instead of what I truly wanted to be.
One of my all time favorite quotes about this is:
“I cannot continue to live as half of myself simply because it’s hard for others to handle all of me.” - Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face
There is power in the ability to show up every day and intentionally tell the world, “here I am!” I can put on my supermom face, my professional face, my daughter-in- law face, or my friend face, for whichever situation is appropriate. I can… I’ve done if for years and it’s exhausting. Or, I can put on my Devin face, make sure I am the best version of myself I can possibly be, unapologetically show that to the world, and be truly happy. As a true people-pleaser who gets sick to my stomach if I think someone is mad at me or if I say/do the ‘wrong’ thing, I know this will be hard. But you know what? It’s gonna be fun.
If you're wanting to grow, stay tuned! I'll have more to share on self-care and self-development tips and tricks, books that make my heart happy, and podcasts that will change your life! (If you let them)