The courage of being you

It is a pity that being who you truly are requires so much courage. But it does. It takes enormous courage at times.” – Bronnie Ware

When I decided to quit, it wasn’t just because I needed a new challenge and was (quite frankly) slightly bored. It was also because the job just didn’t feel like me at all; it wasn’t fulfilling or meaningful enough. I did however absolutely love the people there, I said it a million times before; I made friends that I consider my UK family, and friends who taught me much and more. And I used to love going around the building chatting with all the different people, having a blast. In all honesty I do miss that. But I don’t miss that feeling of discomfort for not knowing what I wanted, but knowing that that wasn’t it.

That being said, I have to say I have been very lucky. Even though the job wasn’t quite me, soon after I first joined I dropped the ‘corporate act’ and became myself, and was always true to who I am for the whole four years I spent at the company. And that’s very fortunate as I know most people don’t feel like they can fully be themselves at work… but then does that mean you’re going to pretend to be someone else your whole life?

My hubby usually tells me I am a terrible liar, I am not too sure about that, but it’s true that I am not good at pretending to be someone else. At some point in my life, mostly teen years (ah, the horror) I did try to be someone else. I tried to fit in better, tried to look as everyone else, wear the jeans everyone was wearing, and the hip trainers you ‘needed to have’. I even pretended not to know the entire lyrics to Britney’s ‘One more time’ or even cheesier pop tunes. But something in me was always trying to still be different and I couldn’t quite keep up with my parts. Thank the unicorns for that.

Thus after a small period of insecurity I started to become more and more aware of who I was, better yet, liking me for who I was. And I was fortunate that, of all the corporate companies I could have ended up at, I ended up at one that embraced my quirkiness. Someone even told me ‘don’t EVER be anyone other than who you are.’ That’s one of the nicest and dearest things someone’s ever said to me.

Still, after those four years, even though I was in a place where people accepted me for who I am, the corporate ‘direction and values’ weren’t my cup of tea. I should have left earlier, as towards the end it was changing me slightly and I often felt like I was wasting time, but sometimes it’s just not that simple. It takes courage. It takes responsibility. It requires a whole new life assessment that sometimes people aren’t ready for.

Since I left and started to rethink my life, I find myself closer to who I am. I still don’t know exactly what I want to do but I’ve certainly narrowed it down. As before the sole question of ‘what would you like to do with your life’ would send me into a very stressful-ugly-cry, now I feel calm, and serene, knowing that I am working to find out. It also helps that in my journey I found a place where I can work part-time, that I actually enjoy, and where I feel my work makes a difference. But make no mistakes I had to shift some behaviours and my perspective on several things; it all depends where your priorities lie.

Being who you are, whoever that is, sometimes cannot even be articulated at first, not even to yourself. All you know is there is a yearning within that is not being fulfilled by the life you are currently living. ” – Bronnie Ware

I guess as Bronnie puts it, I am still looking to ‘articulate’ who I am, and what used to be a stressful path has become a joyful journey, hopefully a very long one. Before not knowing the destination would kind of freak me out, now I get it that that’s the whole point, to explore and discover. And that’s all because I took that first step, after acknowledging the longing for something different, to actually pursue it.

Having decided to quit my job without really having a clue of what I wanted to do, really changed things for me. Now I often find myself thinking about others who didn’t or couldn’t, but were clearly in desperate need of it. I am trying to learn to leave all judgment behind and try to understand people’s reasons, after all we can’t possibly ever know what people are dealing with. But from what I hear I get a sense that most times people just bring barriers upon themselves. They’re the ones standing in their own way, by placing their priorities in something other than their happiness. But who am I to advise anyone?

I can only say this, life is too short for not being who you are, to give in to other people’s expectations of what you should be, to give in to whatever pressures you think you have to give in to, to live a life that brings you no joy or fulfilment. And most times the solution is right there, you’re just too blind to see it. So close your eyes, take a deep breath and open your mind.

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