To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble. —Bill Watterson
I recently came across a quote by Bill Watterson that has deepened what I’ve been thinking about while I’ve been away from here.
Before I share what Bill said, I need to know something. Have you ever changed yourself for someone to accept you? Have you ever changed your appearance (clothes or makeup) or even your beliefs or interests just to be accepted by someone?
I know I have. And you want to know what’s frustrating to me? Looking back, I regret I ever changed any aspect of myself because the people I wanted to be accepted by are no longer in my life.
You want to know what’s even more frustrating?
I still catch myself doing it from time to time.
Nothing infuriates me more than when someone tells you to “be yourself” and when you start being yourself, s/he then says, “but not in that way.”
If you love fashion, you must not care about the environment. If you like beauty and makeup, you must be superficial. And here’s a doozy: if you’re a Christian, you can’t mess up. Yes, I’ve been told something similar to that. “You can’t be angry! You’re a Christian!” Um, what?
I get so fired up just thinking about this topic!
It also blows my mind that in 2021, people are still conforming to others’ opinions, changing themselves and/or holding back their real selves because they’re afraid of what others think of them.People's opinions cannot change your life. Your response to their opinions does. Click To Tweet
The divisiveness, cancel culture, “my way or the highway” kind of thinking has been so damaging. It all has caused people to be silent, prevent some people from having opportunities to learn from their mistakes, and for us to have relationships with others who have different opinions/ways of thinking.
The saddest part?
I’m pretty sure some people have lost or are losing touch with who they really are by pretending to be someone they’re not.
If any of us has been silent on something we care about, we’ve lost a piece of ourselves.
If any of us have posted something on social media about a “trending” topic, but haven’t done the work behind the scenes, we’ve lost a piece of ourselves.
And if we’ve severed relationships with someone just because they have different opinions than us, we’ve lost a piece of ourselves.
Note, cutting off ties with a toxic person is different than cutting off ties with someone who has different opinions.
It’s already difficult enough to figure out what we want to do with our lives, much less know who who we are as individuals. Throw others’ opinions into the mix and we all feel/are lost, am I right?
Victoria asked a great question in her recent article and I want to ask a similar question:
Why is it that we’re expected or even encouraged to be one-dimensional?
Why can’t I be love many things, have differing opinions and still be me?
I tell you, I had such a hard time figuring out who I was that I began to going through Bible plans on identity.
It wasn’t until I started studying God’s word more that I learned who I was and who He said I was: fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am Huong.
I am a Christian.
And I am also not perfect.
I am Vietnamese.
I am part French and Chinese.
And I am also an American.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
And I am also a granddaughter, niece, and aunt.
I am a best friend.
I am an employee.
And I am also an entrepreneur in training.
I am a lover of social retail.
I am a first-generation college graduate.
And I am also a creative.
I am definitely a writer.
I am an encourager.
And I am also a worrier.
I am a giver (sometimes to my detriment).
I am a dreamer.
And I am also a doer.
I am a book lover.
I am a food lover.
And I am also a lover of learning.
I am a fashion lover.
I am a beauty lover.
And I also have a heart for animals.
I am a lover of traveling.
I am a sucker for living a luxury lifestyle.
And I am also an advocate for our protecting our planet.
I am someone who speaks with conviction.
I am certified in emotional intelligence.
And I also can lose my patience.
I am bold.
I am passionate.
And I am also an ambivert.
I am multifaceted.
I am ALL of these things.
Some days, I am some of these things. Other days, I’m other things on this list. The real me is still all of these things (and more) because these things make up who I am: multifaceted.
And that is okay because out of nearly eight billion people in this world, there’s only one perfectly imperfect me.
To end this article, let me share with you what Bill said:
“In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success.
Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.
You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.
To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”
What are your experiences with this topic? Let me know your thoughts on being multifaceted!
This article was inspired by Victoria of InTheFrow.