By Skye Thomas
So it’s time for a change. You’ve taken that hard look in the mirror and you’ve decided that who you are is not who you want to be. Or perhaps you’re standing at a fork in the road and where you’d like to go requires that you make some changes. Maybe you’re just really bored with your life as you’ve been in that same old rut for so long that you just want to scream if you spend another day doing the same amazingly boring things all over again. The reasons for change are as varied as the people making the decision to do so. The only thing you have to remember is that the change must come from you, not from someone else. And it can’t be a gift to someone else, it won’t work. Ultimately, recreating ourselves is a very personal choice and a very personal decision that others really can’t help us with.
Your wife thinks you drink too much and should quit. Your parents think you screw off too much and need to pull better grades. Your boss thinks you’re a slacker and you need to be more professional. If the people in your life are hammering you to change, then it may be time to take a long hard look in the mirror. To some extent you have to be open to the idea that they may be right. However, they aren’t you. They can’t walk in your shoes. Nobody can completely totally understand another person. Only you really know what is right for you. Only you can pick your path in life, who you choose to walk with along the way, and what kind of person you are while traveling. Some people are misunderstood visionary geniuses. Others are simply rebellious and lazy. Most of us fall somewhere in between. You cannot let others dictate who or what you are to become. The choice to recreate yourself must come from within.
Now if you’ve looked deep within and you’ve decided that you want to change because you would be happier, then it’s time to start. My personal moment came when I realized that I was only twenty-five and was never ever going to fall in love again and was going to be shattered and heartbroken for another fifty years or so before I’d finally get to roll over and die. A very morbid thought I know, but that’s exactly my point. At some point you do the math asking yourself, “If I stay just like this – on this path – with this mindset – with this income level – with these people surrounding me – with this lifestyle – How will my life look in five years? In ten? In fifty?” It can be an incredibly sobering and depressing answer. Mine was, so I made a decision to change who I was so that the next fifty years would at least be different with a chance of happiness. I think we can safely assume that if you’re reading this, then you aren’t one of those people who is happily moving through life on a path they love, with people they love, and an attitude that is a joy to behold. If that is you, thank you! Please continue to role model it for everyone else and whenever possible cheer someone on as they make the changes to do the same. As for the rest of us who’ve hit that point where after analysis we’ve decided to make a fresh start as someone else other than who we are, where do we start?
The first thing I would recommend is looking at your natural gifts. In some other articles I’ve given some exercises and such to find some of the core pieces of yourself. It doesn’t matter if you take some of those personality tests like the Meyers-Briggs or any others. The idea is that there are certain core aspects of ourselves that are never really going to change very much. For example, you like to work alone or as part of a team. You may be extremely introverted or extroverted. You may be incredibly musical or you may be very mathematical. Whatever the gifts and challenges you were born with are what they are. Recreating yourself isn’t about denying the root of who you are. It’s about molding and shaping the other things like attitude and such.
I wanted to become one of those people who had lots of self-confidence and was dynamic and bubbly. I wanted to be one of those people who could laugh out loud at a joke and not feel self-conscious that I might sound like a donkey – hee haaaaaw!! Along with picking a new career path that flattered my real skills and the lifestyle I wanted to move towards, I began pretending that I was one of those women who walked tall and proud. I pretended that people liked me and found me fascinating. I pretended that I had my act together. There came a day about a year later when I realized that I wasn’t faking it anymore. I’ve been quite a character ever since!
Now a word of warning… sometimes the people who knew us before we made all of the personal changes refuse to see us as new and improved. That’s especially true of family members. They knew you when you were a whiny kid. They knew you when you went through that really bad divorce and turned into a real nutcase. Sometimes they have their own ugly issues to work out and are bitter that you are role modeling positive changes. This is easier said then done, but believe me when I say this – It’s none of your business what they think of you. You didn’t change yourself so that they would like you better. You changed so that you would like you better. Hold your head up high and laugh out loud with confidence and joy. Don’t allow anyone to take your new life away from you.