20. Be Yourself
It’s pretty clichéd to say “be yourself.” But as I’ve recently discovered, sometimes the hardest person to be IS yourself. At the start of this year, I promised myself to be…Monica – not the Monica I think I should be. For example, I like the idea of being politically-inclined, so I read politics and attempt to discuss it, but do I genuinely enjoy it? Not really. I know it’s good to have a general sense of politics but I’ve decided to stop investing in things I don’t truly enjoy for the sake of “feeling up to par” and start investing in things that I actually enjoy. For example, reading more about ancient history or fashion! And why should I be ashamed of admitting that I love to shop and dressing up and occasionally like indulging in celebrity news? Because admittedly, I kind of was! But no more! Looking back, I wasted so much time in my 20s trying to be someone else: I pretended to like wine to appear more sophisticated (this was in my early 20s, I actually enjoy wine now lol); I majored in Journalism when I wanted to major in English because Journalism seemed “edgier” (no offense to those who take pride in their Journalism and English degrees – they’re both awesome if that was what you wanted! I just regretted not choosing something I personally wanted more for the sake of my misguided perceptions); I would read certain books to say I’ve read it to appear more “cultured” when I should’ve read the books I really wanted to read (which I did when I got older). The list could go on. So you see, I found it difficult to be myself, but these days, it’s getting easier with more practice.
So, lesson learned from my 20s: be yourself! Even if it means not going with the crowd or going with the crowd or occasionally getting criticized. To heck with those peeps. Don’t compromise yourself. Ask yourself – in the absence of external influences – the media, your peers, history, etc. – who would you be, really? As I’ve experienced, it takes so much introspection to know yourself, which allows you to be yourself. After cultivating my self-awareness all these years, I identified why it was so hard to be myself: it’s because I have this inclination to please others, to be accepted, to be loved. But I’ve learned to ignore that inclination. Perhaps it will always be there, but that’s the thing about getting to know yourself better – you know what you should cultivate and what you should accept and ignore. The truth is (as stated in my last entry): you can’t please everybody and that you are already loved. So you might as well…be yourself. At least for me, I have found (quite recently actually) that it is when I am happiest.
Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan