I have a pretty introspective post for you today, and I hope you enjoy it!
Last night, I got back from a 4 1/2 day trip in Colorado, and it was a trip I didn’t know I needed. Not only did I get to spend quality time with my family, but I spent a lot of time pondering on life, myself, and my path. Our hotel was about an hour away from the park where the 5k and half-marathon were located (which is why we were there), so each day we drove an hour up into the mountains, losing service and suddenly surrounded entirely by mountains and never-ending valleys. It was absolutely breathtaking, a big change of scenery from the flat charm of Texas that I see every day.
On one of the days we were there, my family and I went hiking to the peak of the Rocky Mountains, and I fell in love with the feeling of my body moving higher and higher into the rocky peaks, completely immersed in the wilderness and the trees. I felt connected to myself and to the environment in a way I hadn’t really before. Everything felt right, standing among nature. And while there, looking up at the mountains above, running my fingers along with the mossy stones and leaves as I propelled forward, everything I had been previously worried about disappeared, no longer carrying the importance I thought it did. All I wanted to do was throw myself into the trees and join the deers, leap off the mountains and spread my wings, settle on the grass with a cup of tea and a book and read endlessly.
In those moments, I wasn’t a reader, or a writer, or a blogger, or a college student, or even an adventurer–I was me. But while hiking, and during those long car rides through the mountains, I came to the realization that while I felt like “me”, I didn’t really know what “me” meant anymore.
We live in a time where everyone and everything is connected. We know what everyone is working on, where everyone is, and we listen to the advice and guidance of hundreds of people a day. We like to label ourselves to differentiate ourselves from others and stand out from the crowds. Labels like Book Nerd, Movie Buff, Explorer, Swimmer. We may even choose a style of fashion or interior decor and wrap ourselves up in the aesthetics.
I’m grateful to have been born during this time of social media and flowing knowledge from all over the world, but it’s definitely easy to get tangled up and end up lost along the way, reaching for things that seem cool or trendy and not really paying attention to our own wants and needs.
I am a 4w3, a Taurus, an INFP, and I’ll admit that when I come across any issue in my personal, social, or work life, I turn to these personality types looking for answers or solutions. And usually, I find them, but when I do, I fall deeper and deeper into that rabbit hole of boxing myself in, restraining myself to one personality, a handful of reactions, reading detailed solutions to my own problems, but written by someone else.
When we label ourselves, when we attach ourselves to one group, when we turn to our personality types for answers, we’re stripping away what we actually are and in a way, taking away our voice. Reading too many self-help books can do this as well.
I’ve come to realize that life is too short to box ourselves into one belief system, one way of life, one path to the end. We are always changing, adapting, our priorities shifting as quickly as the rushing wind. To expect ourselves to be the same person we’ve always been is impossible.
Stripping away the labels and the identities can be scary. Suddenly, you no longer know who you thought you were. Without the friend group, without the writing, without the video games, without the daily running, who are you, really?
The answer is not as distant as you may think. In fact, it’s already within you, beating at a steady rate, rising and falling with every breath. You are already you, exactly as you are, exactly where you are.
When I was on top of that mountain, the labels slid off me like flowing streams along my arms and I became that strong, independent, creative, adventurous girl I always wanted to be, because that’s who I was at the core, only it was buried deep down by bookstagram, being an author, being a friend, a blogger, a student, a teacher, and so on. While these things are great accomplishments, they don’t make me who I am. None of those things truly define who we are.
What defines who we are are the little moments that oftentimes go unnoticed. The direction our mind goes in a moment of silence, how we wake up, how we fall asleep, the clothes we wear on a lazy day in, the shows we watch when no one’s watching, the things we create but never share.
We aren’t as different as we think we are. We are all curious, creative, adventurous beings that want to understand everything but also crave those quiet moments and wild experiences. Rather than comparing, competing, racing to the finish line, we can have patience, be kind, and realize that none of us need to stand out because we are already uniquely ourselves being exactly as we are.
Allow yourself the freedom to be who you are, create what calls to you, and avoid reaching to others for their opinions and even guidance when things become uncertain. You don’t have to immerse yourself in one trend, one group, to fit in, to find yourself. You don’t have to restrict yourself to one label, one passion, to be someone.
In the Lavendaire Lifestyle podcast, Lavendaire shared something she heard from Elizabeth Gilbert, which I will share with you now: there are two types of people, the hummingbird, and the jackhammer. The jackhammers have one goal, one passion, and they work toward that their entire life. The hummingbirds are always trying new things, changing ever so slightly each day, tasting all the flavors of the world.
I just wanted to throw this out there, too, because perhaps you’re a hummingbird, like me, and perhaps its time to lift the walls, shake off the judgment and words of others, and spread your wings.
Only in the confusing times, during the unknowns, exploring new territory, after we’ve taken off and fully trusted in the way of the Universe, do we truly discover who we are.
Something that has encouraged me to lose myself to find who I am happened while on a coaching call. I remember ranting to my life coach, “Sometimes I wish I could delete it all, start over, remove the pressure of being someone I’m not, and just be me. I wish I could be me.”
And she said, calmly, “You can.”
And you can, too.