I think we can spend our whole lives getting to know ourselves and still not quite have it right.
So I’ve been trying to get to know myself better lately. Partly in conjunction with reading The Happiness Project–in the book, one of her rules is “Be Gretchen.”
How can I “Be Heather”?
Some thoughts I’ve had:
- I am happiest when I’m with family.
I love my little family here and they are the most important thing in my life. I would rather spend time with Dillon, MM, and BB than anyone else in this whole world.
But I’ve been sort of homesick lately. Moving eight hours away from any extended family has been difficult for me, and I realized that part of the reason for this is that I love being with my family. My family has always been my closest friends–particularly my twin sister, Liz. And my mom. And my other sisters. And my grandmas. Talking on the phone and emailing and blogging is great, but it’s not the same as sitting down with someone in person.
- It matters more what you like than what you’re good at.
I tried to list out some talents I had, and felt discouraged. And then I made a list of things that I love to do, and I felt much happier and encouraged about life. I tend to worry about if I’m really good at something or not, and if I’m not very good at it, I don’t want to do it because I get discouraged easily.
Archery, for example. I am not very good at shooting a bow. So I’ve focused on that way too much and almost ruined archery for myself. But when it comes down to it, I like archery. Whether or not I’m good at it.
The same thing can be said about writing/cooking/decorating/hand lettering/drawing/any other hobby I enjoy–I worry too much whether I’m good at it instead of just doing it for fun and because I like doing it.
I’m trying to reverse a mindset in myself. That mindset got me straight A’s all throughout high school and college. I like to be good at something. I like my gold star. But focusing on that gold star really sucks the fun out of stuff.
And I can also give myself permission to do things even if I’m not very good at it, or don’t perceive myself at being good at it.
- Friendships for me are less about having fun and more about connecting with people.
I really am not a very fun person, in a way. I don’t like large crowds and I find staying up late coding a website really fun. Which is sort of weird, I know. So the friendships I have and I cherish are not really about good times we’ve had, but connecting with a person by listening and talking and sharing. I’ve sort of realized that I’m never going to be the life of the party (sort of the opposite of that), but that isn’t a bad thing.
- Differences shouldn’t matter.
I’m not very good at this. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on differences, or why you don’t really like a person. But we can still be friends even if we have a lot of differences. The other day, I was thinking, I wish I could find someone who was more like me. And then I realized that when I looked at the friends and relationships I have and I cherish, those people weren’t necessarily very much like me at all. We have different interests, different backgrounds, different lives–but we all have some similarities too, and the similarities are sometimes more important than differences.
- Connecting with people matters a whole lot more than doing things.
I struggle with loneliness, and sometimes I don’t reach out to people as much as I should. Sometimes, I sort of paint myself as the black sheep and sit on the sidelines and feel like an outsider.
Sometimes I focus more on things because they are easier and more predictable. You can check things off a list. But people bring much more happiness into your life. People are much more important.
- I’m not popular.
I have never been interested in being popular or being the same as everyone else. I’ve always sort of done things my own way. Like everyone else will be doing a craft by the book, how it’s supposed to be done, and I’ll change it up. Usually not really for the better. I don’t have tons of friends, I’m not outgoing, and I’m not particularly relatable or humorous or whatever. I don’t have a charismatic personality. I’m good with the fact that I’m never going to be popular or famous because, well, I don’t really want to be.
- I am an awkward person.
I will probably never stop being an awkward person. When Dillon met me, he was rather intimidated by me because I was really tall and had really short hair. My hair is longer now, but I’m still tall and clumsy and don’t always say the right things. But that’s okay.
- I am a minimalist in a lot of ways.
I don’t like to spend money. I like to wear about one pair of canvas shoes until they wear out and then I switch them out. I get rid of stuff on a regular basis. I’m not very sentimental and I have to spend a lot of effort remembering to celebrate holidays and such.
I don’t like to be that busy or have a lot on my plate. I work better being focused on a few things than having lots and lots that I’m worrying about.
- I can’t be commercial.
I can’t sell things. I can’t even recommend products to people very well. I once tried to sell something for a school fundraiser and ended up crying because it felt so wrong. I’m not good at marketing and I don’t think I would be a particularly good businessman.
So those are some thoughts I’ve had. I’m trying to be the best sort of myself–not like someone else, just like me. I’m trying to be more honest with myself in everything. It’s a work in progress. Life is always a work in progress.