I have a theory. Hear me out. I think that as adults, we are supposed to be who we were when we were kids – personality wise. The stories you hear from your parents about how stubborn, brave, funny, serious or sarcastic you were as a child could probably be said about you as an adult.
The thing is, we spend a good 20-30 years trying really hard to be who we WANT to be (or even what others want us to be) instead of accepting who we already are. Some call it identity issues. I’ve also heard people say “that’s what your 20’s are about”. We use up so much brain activity, money, resources, and counseling hours trying to “figure ourselves out”.
But why do we do that? When I was a child, my mother would (and has) described me as dramatic, caring, loving, dreamy and impatient. My family and friends still describe me this way now. Yes, there are other traits to my personality but for sake of my theory, let’s unpack these.
What I realize now is that I didn’t embrace my dramatic reactions, how much I care (for things? People?), how spacy I am with my head in the clouds most of the time, and I certainly would not say I am impatient. For a good 20+ years, I have been on an unrealistic journey to create someone I just am not. Someone who I thought should be fierce (snap, snap), laid back and drama free, patient with my children and people in general (this is arguably the most ridiculous one) and driven. Do I have some of those traits in me somewhere? Sure I do. Sometimes they even show up when I need them. But discussing the basic general makeup of a personality, my mom was dead on. I am getting a little sick of the contradiction between my outside persona and the inside persona of myself. It’s exhausting and manifests as insecurity. I’m driven alright – I drive right up to a line and then self-doubt creeps in and I freeze up. See, you can’t ward off self-doubt when you are not being your true self. When you try to hide yourself, you always have a secret you are trying to protect, whether you know it or not. If I was showing up as my actual self, who knows where life would have taken me.
Now I feel like I’ve wasted time. If I had owned my drama, I probably would not have passively let so much into my life. I could have created my own life? in a much more meaningful and constructive way. If I really was honest with myself about having my head in the clouds, I could have worked harder to set more realistic life goals – or ANY goals. If I learned to be more vulnerable sooner, I would have let my (slight?) rigidness work to my advantage instead of hiding behind this laid-back facade I thought I was pulling off … and pulling off poorly at that. And patience? Nothing about me is patient. I am not even sure who I thought I was kidding. I have mental meltdowns if a webpage takes too long to load. To be fair, strong and loving are two things I have always owned completely. I love hard and completely – not in terms of men, but all living things even though me and crickets have a real hard time getting along.
I am not sure what to do with this revelation I am having, but it has to mean something. Living in happiness is still something I can achieve. No matter what age we are, humans are meant to continue to grow, learn and improve. Change who we naturally are is not something we need to do and I am kind of tired of the fad of changing who we are to be “better.” I say, don’t change who you are – change who you have been pretending to be. I will keep learning new ways to be me and better ways to reach goals, handle life’s dramas, and use some of my general “lesser” qualities in the right ways.
This is a reflective moment where I am asking myself – is this really you showing up or someone you think you want to be? Valid question, but I think I will keep channeling child-me to keep me on the path of accepting who I am….impatience and all, and instead of changing who I am, work on being a better me, not necessarily a different me.
Questions: Do you think your basic personality is similar or the same now as it was when you were a child?