“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
Being yourself is one of the hardest things. We are surrounded by people who either try to tell us how we should be or idolize the way someone else lives. We start to live in the stereotypes of every high school movie from the eighties, and then get lost in all the titles and expectations of these labels. The thing is, labels and stereotypes don’t work in real life. We live in the view of who we should be, and we then lose who we are. We can’t live trying to fit in. We have all been designed in unique ways- no one person is like someone else. Similarities, yes, but an exact copy, no. The reason I’m talking about this and the reason I think the concept of being you is so important, is because life is filled with unknowns. Our identity helps us weather this adventure.
I’m sure that you all have experienced the many ups and downs in life, because well, you’re human. We are all human, we make mistakes, and we all spend too much time trying to please others. We try to copy our friends and relationships because we see others as the pictures they present. I love Donald Glover, I think he’s a brilliant creative and I strive to be at that level, but you know what? I’ll never be him, but I can be the best Joshua Thomas I can be. My dear Danielle and I have made a big move and I could easily try to change my whole personality to be someone different, but I want to make a constant effort to be the best and truest version of myself. When you create masks and make versions of yourself depending on who you find yourself with, you lose the essence of your design. Then as life throws its’ challenges, it becomes difficult to take those masks off. When you stop thinking about what others think of you and start being you, the unknowns don’t seem so difficult.
Start to understand who you are.
It’s important in your life to have self-reflection. Take time to be introspective; what are your passions, what makes you happy, what are your dreams? These are high level, but it’s also important to know the smaller stuff too. Like, what makes you laugh, what are your favorite types of stories, if you had a day to yourself, what would you do? Cut away all the expectations you perceive others to have about you, and think about you. What you’ll find is that God has made you pretty special. The best part is, that these traits and joys can be used for a purpose. I really like people, I like telling stories and making people laugh. What I’ve learned is that I can encourage others in the way I treat them. I know I can’t change someone’s emotions, but if I can help just a little, I think that’s pretty cool. One of the reasons I started this blog was because I had a desire to write and empower others, so I just tapped into a talent that I loved. The same can be true in your life. How can you start to change the world with who you are? It begins with understanding who you see in the mirror.
Cut away at what will hold you back.
I have a habit of always putting on the emergency break when I park my car. It’s funny when I forget to take it off before driving. Sure, the car still moves, but there’s a blockage that needs to be removed if I want to get where I want to be. Some of us are living with some blockages in our lives. We still move forward, but not in the most efficient way. What’s holding you back? Is it a relationship you know needs to end, a habit you gotta quit, a place you need to leave? While we need to live into who God made us to be, there are parts of us that he didn’t put there, and it’s time to address them. This is for tangible and intangible things. For me, I know I’ve got a short temper and need to control my anger. So, I make steps to remove myself from situations that can set me off and if I can’t physically leave, I take deep breaths and clear my mind. It’s not easy, trust me, you can ask Danielle some time about the jerk from Verizon I almost lost my cool with. It’s important to cut negative baggage from your life, it’s only going to hold you back from where you want to go.
I think it’s vital to be you. In every situation and every event, just be you. There are too many other factors you can’t control around you, but the one thing you can is the essence of who you are. Take time this week to journal about what makes you tick. Share it with people if you want, but take time for yourself to focus on yourself. Take the Myers Briggs or Enneagram tests if those help uncover deeper things about you, just make sure you learn who God has made you to be. Take time to understand who you are and the things you need to cut off in order to step into who you have been uniquely designed into.
It’s time to get rid of the masks and just be you.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__