I remember being in fourth grade saying, “I will never kiss anybody.” Then in sixth grade I kissed somebody and I was so ashamed to tell any of my friends because I had said “never.” I wondered, “Who am I?”
Sometimes we get fixated on this idea of ourselves to the point where we feel a way about changing, but those sorts of shifts are natural. You may have always loved your job and then start to feel differently. You may have loved being around big groups of people, but now it feels like too much.
I find that we like to look at ourselves as “is/or people.” I get this question on Instagram all the time, “Are you a tea or coffee person?” I am a tea person, but I think coffee is very purposeful. If you invite me out after 7pm, I may have a shot of espresso so I can actually be present and not yawn the whole time. So, while I am definitely a tea person, I also drink coffee.
We don’t have to hang our hat up on one way of being or one way of thinking. We can change our minds. We can find new perspectives. When I think about myself last year compared with who I am today so many things about me have changed. Not huge things, but for one thing, last year I said I would never get on TikTok, and now here I am trying TikTok.
When we are about to say things like “I would never…”, we should really think about changing our language to, “I don’t think I would ever,” or “I’m not yet in a place where I would…” And we can express preferences without excluding other options. Most of us have not lived enough to commit to “never.”
Maturity teaches us that never is not a term that you need to use very often because in the course of life you will change your mind again and again. You don’t have to stick to the self you were in fourth grade or even last year. You don’t have to resist something you want to try because of your commitment to never change.
We generate a lot of shame when we don’t allow ourselves to change, because not only are we stuck on, “Who am I?” but we’re afraid to tell anyone else who we are. Flexibility around who we are allows us to be more of ourselves, and be more open and honest with people.
What is something you never thought you would do that you have done?
What is something that you are too afraid to tell other people that you actually do?
We Need to Talk About Cosby. This docu-series depicts how a person can be more than one thing, though not always in a good way. You can watch it on Showtime.
I'd love to hear what multiple truths you've accepted about yourself in the comments.
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