So much of life is how we define and present ourselves. Even to ourselves.
Our identities can be held captive- not only by the most well intending of
friends and family, but by us. Cultivating and sharing our identity can trap us in titles and beliefs that seem
disingenuous to change abruptly. But actually, most self discovery is
exactly like that- sudden bursts of realization and breakthroughs from
which there is no turning back.
We desperately need to
normalize changing our minds. This requires checking in with ourselves
as often as possible about what we truly want and need. Asking tough
questions, being willing to shock and even offend our previous thoughts
and beliefs; statements and promises we've made with total
conviction. Agreements, contracts, and commitments we made and now
find doubt or disillusionment in. Stepping out of the shadows where we
hide our most eccentric parts and allowing our ever
evolving desires to see the light of day. Practicing saying "I've changed my mind" without needing to explain ourselves further in every instance.
also means that we have to learn how to receive and accept the
sometimes painful reality that everyone else will change their mind as
well, even if they turn away from us in the process. Somehow we have to
grow closer to an ultimate understanding that nothing is promised or set
in stone, whether emotional or tangible.
“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.”
-W. Somerset Maugham
In the chaos of self development and expression our truest selves can be pretty easily overtaken by outside noise, trends, and comparison. Often we default to wanting a version of something we've seen modeled to us already. We can be shaped by representation: what we see in the lives of those around us, or in the specific media we consume, rather than pure self discovery.
Stripping ourselves of the programming of
what "success"or "joy" means is hard to do when we're bombarded with
imagery of what they look like for everyone else. Cultivating wildly unique dreams and goals that aren't pre-programmed takes sincere effort and
an immense amount of confidence.
We have no idea how passionate and committed we can be- towards a person, interest or pursuit, until we discover it. Following a track laid out for us by example can feel safe and even good until we're exposed to something that rocks our spirit in an undeniable way. The more random our passions or ideas, the more suited they are to guide us on our personal journey.
Trust yourself and your instincts- even if you
contradict a previous version of yourself in the process. Everything is temporary. It doesn't necessarily feel secure to acknowledge the
constant change we are capable of, but it should definitely feel liberating. There is a limitless bounty of paths your life can take. A new
one can start any time with the words I've changed my mind.
*Photo: Otter Falls*