Who Do You Want to Be?
We want to be happy, with more good days and fewer bad.
We want to feel kindness towards others, even those who irritate us.
We want to be confident and brave in social situations.
We want to be gracious and thankful.
We want to be patient with our kids and our spouse.
The list goes on and on. So how can we do that? How can we be who we want to be?
Actions should be grounded in core values. We do the things that speak to what matters to us. For example, if you want to be kind, and you are about to send a nasty, ill-advised text to your sister who annoyed the *(&# out of you, stop and think: how does this allow me to be kind? Yeah - it doesn't. Put the phone down. What can you do to communicate with her effectively while still holding on to your core value to be kind? Figure it out, and do that instead. Every action doesn't warrant such deep reflection, as some things are just easier to do than others, but living without any reflection of behaviors leads us to betray our desire to be exactly who we want to be.
We get to decide who we are going to be.
We get to decide how we are going to show up in the world.
We get to look at a quality we covet in others and stop longing for it by living it instead.
Let no one else and nothing out of your control define how you feel. Let nothing restrict your capacity to affect the changes you want or to hamper the power of your own agency. Figure out how you want to feel and how you want to behave. Then make sure it aligns with your overall values. And then go be that, without hesitation or trepidation.
No one is going to grant it to you or pass it out. There are no tickets for happiness, love, success, confidence. The universe doesn't work that way. It is waiting for you - waiting for you to say it, live it and believe it, so that it can start reflecting it and showing you how quickly it multiplies. How much more powerful can you get than that?
Take happiness. Some people are indeed just lucky - born into easy circumstances, given opportunities, granted with brilliant minds, grace and flat abs. They are lucky. Being happy comes easy for them. Or at least, we think it should. The rest of us have to realize that in the absence of those gifts we are still allowed to succeed and thrive and most definitely feel happy, if we decide to be so. Every lucky person is not happy, and every unlucky person is not destined to be unhappy. Being happy, or any other list of qualities, is not a function of what we have been given, or what is happening in the world around us. It is completely a function of how we are thinking about what we have, what we see, and what we do.
We are what we think we are. We become who we want by deciding first who it is we want to be. Stop saying "I'm not and I can't" and start insisting that you are and you can. Only you know the difference, so create little space between your beliefs and your words and your actions. Then the space between your desires and your reality will shrink into oblivion.
I used to participate in community theater. For one particular production, my friend Anne Marie would always be the first to arrive at her dressing table, having come straight from work to start the tedious process of wrangling her long, red hair into beautiful curls each night for the show. I'd walk in the dressing room to find her there, bobby pins in mouth, a fire hazard of curling irons around her.
"Whatcha doing, Anne Marie?"
"I'm just sitting here, being awesome."
It would always make me smile. And that was always her answer. Not "I'm so tired of doing my hair on this 29th performance" or "I'm nervous" or "I'm irritated by my work colleague". All of those other things might have been true, but Anne Marie chose to say she was awesome. And once she said it, the rest of us just had to accept it and move on. Awesome or not, I wasn't about to question Anne Marie's clear and powerful declaration of self.
Decide who you want to be. Be that. Say that. And if you don't know where to start, just think about Anne Marie. And just be awesome.