My life journey over the past few years has been one involving lots of change and transformation. While change is hard enough in and of itself, this particular bout of change has had the additional challenge in that so much of it has involved moving away from what’s expected of me to dance to the beat of my own drum.
While learning to be more authentically myself has been a wonderfully freeing experience, choosing to be different from the culture around me has often been challenging. The set of links that I have collected for tonight are all about learning to be oneself in a world that would really prefer that we conform to the mold. These are great encouragement!
The first post I came across on this theme is Confessions of a Corporate Misfit by Srinivas of The Skool of Life blog. In this post, he shares his unsuccessful attempts to fit into the expected corporate culture and how he finally let go of those expectations enough to realize that he just wasn’t cut out for the corporate world. By embracing this and being willing to go his own way, he’s found work that fits him much better.
The thing that got my attention most about this post was the following comment: “Given that my first job was so miserable, no other job seemed bad in comparison. As a result I was completely unaware of just how much I hated each job.” This describes my experience so perfectly (except that my first “job” was my graduate school experience). I never realized that this is why it took me so long to realize how miserable I was in so many later attempts to fit into the kinds of jobs I thought I “should” have; I was comparing them to such an awful situation that it seemed like I had no right to complain about the others. But miserable is miserable, and while I still don’t know where I’m headed career-wise, I am much better able to let go of what’s “expected” for success and recognize what does and doesn’t work for me.
The next post was Are They Telling You You’re Crazy? by Ash from The Middle Finger Project blog. This post is a magnificent poster reminding us that we have the right to live our lives our own way no matter who might think we are crazy for doing so. It’s a whole page of inspiration assuring us that we are NOT crazy for living our lives outside the box that others want to stick us in. Great stuff!
The next post was from the One Hot Mess(age) blog and was called Following your own path—How to be a socially acceptable non-conformist. She talks about how so many of us are afraid of climbing outside those boxes that society places us in and the consequences that come from denying our own truth to try to fit into those confining boxes. Her story is a beautiful example of the good that can come from refusing to carry around those expectations any more. She has turned her life around by finding ways to live her own truth without alienating the people around her—even those who may not understand her choices—because she no longer has anything to prove to any one else.
Finally, Cordelia of the Cordelia Calls It Quits blog wrote a great piece recently called My T-Rex Kills Your Brontosaurus. To begin with, this is just a totally cool blog post title! But her point is that, like the T-Rex and the Brontosaurus, each of us has a unique skill set. When we spend our time wishing we had someone else’s skill set or trying to fit into someone else’s mold of who we should be, we miss the chance to the be the person we were created to be. All that matters is that I be the best ME that I can be. That’s success. And her method of making this point is both funny and one that sticks in the mind—especially if you’ve ever obsessed about some perceived shortcoming!
I’m getting better at letting go of expectations (mine, society’s, other people’s) and climbing out of the box to discover who it is that I am really meant to be. It’s liberating and it’s scary, and I love having encouraging messages like these to help keep me on track when I need it.
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.