“If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants to be. Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I really wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become. Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seems to admire, I would really begin to live after all. I would be liberated from the painful duty of saying what I really do not think and acting in a way that betrays God’s truth and the integrity of my own soul.” – Thomas Merton
This quote resonated with me today.
Over the last few years I have realized how important it is to be true to myself. I have spent so much time in the past trying to live up to some ideal. And the thing is, in many ways I achieved it. But when it came down to it, I wasn’t happy. I have had to rethink a lot of roles I used to play. I have had to let go and leave some behind for my own well-being.
I don’t think anyone is happy when they are living a life that is not true to who they really are.
I remember being in my late teens and leaving home. That first taste of independence and freedom is so precious. I recall entering the residence at the university I was attending, and this song was playing:
Lately that old song has come to mind again. I know there are times when I make mistakes – when I mess up – and I can be really hard on myself. I used to get embarrassed when my behaviour was less than steller, especially if it drew some attention. But in the last year, I have been more accepting of myself. After all, these little imperfections are part of who I am. They will be the fodder for memories and loving jokes when I am no longer here. They form part of my imprint on this world. They distinguish me as uniquely myself. This is true for all of us. I have come to realize that sometimes you just have to let go of who you think you should be – what you believe is expected of you – and “raise a little hell of your own”.
Perfection is not required around here. Nobody needs to fit into a small box of a role with me.
I have found a lot of peace in this.