(It has been a very long time since I posted here, but at 5:30 this morning I awoke with this “directive” and the words flowed. I hope they are helpful.)
At this juncture in my life, I have decided that I don’t have to apologize for who I am. I’ve spent my life being cautious about what I say, how I say it, to whom, etc. Recently a friend said to me, “stop saying you’re sorry all the time.”
Now, does that mean I aim to be mean or unkind? No. But it does mean that at this juncture I am going to be more open about who I am, what I think and not always nicy, nicy.
I am open-minded in that I’ll listen to others, try to understand where they are coming from, even if I don’t agree. I believe we are all entitled to our beliefs and that it’s not up to us to change someone else’s beliefs. Educate, share our rationale, but not change.
We all come from where we come and our beliefs are based on what we’ve learned, where we grew up, what we’ve experienced, the dynamics of our up-bringing/ family life. We are shaped into who we are. BUT, this often changes when we leave home, start our adult lives. Many maintain the feelings of their family values; others, change base on their profession, where they might re-settle, who they partner with, etc.
Why am I writing this at this point in my life?
I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve done extraordinary work, I’ve interacted with so many different groups of people. Underneath it, I think we, as people are generally similarly-minded. We are goodhearted, aim to be compassionate and helpful. Of course, there are a few “bad apples,” but for the most part we are good. Our biggest differences usually stem from our religion and our politics.
I’m sometimes cautious to express my feelings with others about those two things for fear of putting them off OR having them not like me. In fact, many of my actions have come from fear of not being liked or accepted.
In fact, my life has been driven to this: Be a nice person, don’t make waves, suppress much of what you think unless you feel safe SO that people will like me.
There, I’ve said it.
But, how do I THRIVE in that type of thinking?
I see myself also as a role model for others. People look up to me.
Here’s the contradiction: I’m very open. I’m pretty transparent. I often say “too much” or share too much. BUT, not all of it. I suppress that which might offend or turn people away or that might have others judge me.
Well, not anymore. I’m still not going to be rude (except maybe under my breath). I’m going to be more courageous, which is saying something because most people who know me think I’m very courageous.
If you knew where I come from, what I’ve attained, you’d know I’m courageous. Not in the type of courage where I climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, but in the things I’ve overcome and the moves I’ve made and the “start-overs.”
All of this is a way of saying, “I’m coming out even more.” I’m coming out in a more bold way to be more direct, say who I am, what I want, disagree out loud.
I’m saying this today from the space of this being Thanksgiving Day. It’s my way of being grateful to myself for who I am, the good deeds I do, the people I help AND for appreciating the people who love me and encourage me to be all I can be.
Thanks for listening.
And, in the future, if you hear me being quiet (as in suppressing what needs to be said) feel free to call me on it. I give you permission. But, be kind. And, know that “not suppressing” doesn’t suggest being “mean” – it means being honest, kind, generous but deliberate and unafraid.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and pat yourself on the back for all that you are. Then take a few moments to be grateful. I am grateful for being cancer-free, for my incredible son, Gabriel and his girlfriend Megan, for family and for delicious friends.