Friday, 2 March 2012

Become who you are

A couple of years ago I jumped on the, then latest, now old hat, interior design bandwagon and furnished my kitchen with a series of postcards each bestowing words of wisdom. The obligatory “Keep calm and carry on” (now so over exposed in can be found in mud huts in the far reaches of outer Mongolia, but still conveys a good message), “Many hands make light work”, “Work hard and be nice to people” etc. But my very favourite of all of these is “Become who you are.” It reminds me every day that I can always reach higher, try harder or change anything about myself that I don’t like that day.

Still reading my Robin Sieger book (Natural Born Winners for those who missed my last post), he puts forth a theory that what we hear becomes real in our minds. So a small child who breaks something and is repeatedly told is clumsy, will forevermore believe himself to be clumsy. And as he believes it to be so, it comes true. We are all susceptible to this, whatever age we are. But it’s not just what we are told by others, it is also what we tell ourselves.

Take me and my BFF for instance. She is anally tidy, I am messy. We have a long running joke about how tidy she is, and what a slattern I am. This is in built in me now. So when I do decide to get the house tidy, it feels far more of an effort than it does for her, because I am constantly reminding myself that I will never, ever get the last Lightning McQueen sticker off my stripped pine doors, a pair of knickers rolled up on my bedroom floor has become a permanent Tracey Emin style design element of the room, and every time I open my purse a thousand receipts will always spring out because I never get round to clearing it out. That’s because I’m just messy and that is what I expect of myself. And in the same way, BFF would never dream of leaving the washing up until later (when it might be more convenient/less stressful) because she is being constantly reminded, not just by me but by herself, that she has neatness OCD.

But we all need to listen to ourselves and remember that nothing is set in stone. Who we are as people is constantly evolving, through life style, the company we keep, the jobs we do, and the organic nature of the human spirit means that we can all become who we are, whatever we want ourselves to be.

We all hate being put into boxes, and people seeing us a stereo type. Just because I’m a stay at home mum doesn’t mean I watch Jeremy Kyle every day (only sometimes, as a treat), just because someone is gay doesn’t mean they are camp etc. However irritating it is, many people will always expect us to be a certain way because of our lifestyle, how we look, religion, whatever. But so often we do it to ourselves, “I’m messy”, “I’m boring”, “I don’t like tomatoes”… but if we would allow ourselves to be anything we want, we usually can be.

According to Sieger, the key is listening to, and then challenging, the inner stereotypes we have of ourselves and remembering that we all have the choice to change, if we want to.

I have a short attention span, and an unquenchable thirst for trying new things. Over the years I have come to dislike this side of myself “I’m too faddy” “I never see anything through”. One day I’m in sensible shoes trying to be supermum, sewing my own curtains, getting early nights and worrying whether or not the sons have got their five a day, the next I’m throwing on a mini skirt and going out on the lash, without a care that I’m going to want to tear out my own eyes when the kids start jumping on me at 6am. But maturing as a person is all about becoming comfortable in your own skin, and I am learning that the ability to change and adapt is part of the journey, if we allow it to be.

So no longer am I shameful of my chameleon nature. I embrace reinvention and all the ups and downs that await me as a result. We can all choose to be anything or anyone we want, and enjoy the adventure as we become who we are.


  1. I like chameleons.

  2. Well thanks for sharing that Anon, I like chameleons too! :-)