Do you ever think about who you are? I mean, really think about it? Who you are as an individual?
If you really analyze, you will realize that you perceive yourself differently from the way your family, friends, work colleagues, boyfriend(s), girlfriend(s) etc., perceive you.
In other words, the person you are to your family is different from the person you are to your friends, work colleagues or boyfriend.
I mean, that’s why your family thinks you are an angel and your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend thinks you’re completely insane, right?
Often time, we are only allowed to exhibit one personality and suppress the others. Society says so. For example, as an extrovert, people around you would be surprised if you went quiet for a lengthy period. Their first question would be, ‘what wrong?’
Because of this, we have learnt to portray certain expected behaviors to keep everyone around us comfortable or even to keep ourselves comfortable.
Picture this. A finance guy is programmed to minimize costs and say no to unnecessary spending. At home, because he believes he is meant to be -ahem- stingy in life, he is convinced that it’s his responsibility to cut costs and ensure the kids don’t waste his money on useless things i.e teddy bears and fancy chocolates.
Do you see a pattern? He is so convinced that the person he is at work is the exact person he must be at home lest he is called a ‘fraud’ or ‘fake’ or ‘inauthentic’. Who came up with these terms anyway? I will tell you. Someone fake, inauthentic and a fraudster for sure.
But what if instead of allowing society to dictate who you are, you embraced all the different versions of yourself? What if you accepted all the different versions that make you who you are and didn’t feel the need to suppress any of them? What would happen?
A finance guy can indulge occasionally, right? It’s alright to eat chicken on Christmas and be a vegetarian for the rest of the year, right? (Vegetarians…calm down! Just a little white meat humor, no?)
In fact, should we blame society for suppressing us or are we to blame?
A few years back, I discovered that I love to travel. So, I decided to become a travel writer. I had a blog, contributed articles for the Daily Monitor (Ugandan newspaper). But when the desire to make an ‘authentic’ living became too obvious to ignore, I got a job in a bank.
For some peculiar reason, I convinced myself that one can’t be a teller/struggling writer. So, I stopped writing. When I left the bank and moved back to Kenya for school, I faced the same struggle once again. Could I become a student/struggling writer/start-up entrepreneur all at the same time?
Then I had a deep conversation with myself (yes, I do talk to myself sometimes. It’s healthy, you know. Now stop judging.)
I took about 3 months deeply thinking about who I was as an individual and what I wanted to become. Did I have to choose between being a writer, a student and an entrepreneur? And the answer was, no.
I wanted to be all those things and more.
There are several things to love about the different versions of yourself. The attributes that we try to suppress because of societal expectations are usually exactly who we are. Suppressing them is the reason why the term mid-life crisis or quarter life crisis are too common today.
So, hold onto the different versions of yourself and let them work for you and not against you.
I have decided to embrace the different versions of myself because they make me the Angelica I am. Here is a quick intro:
Angelica the adrenaline junkie.
If you have read this blog before, you have interacted with her. She is fearless. She will travel on a motorbike for 3 hours straight to track gorillas, she has traveled from Paris to Germany with 15 euros to her name, she has climbed the Gadhafi mosque tower when it was still under construction. She is truly a thrill-seeker.
Angelica the laid-back girl.
More than happy to stay at home for a month straight. Devoted to her family. Keeps a small circle. Lives in her head a lot. Quiet and reserved. When she gets like this, know that she is planning something. There is always something cooking in her brain.
Angelica the business creative.
I love her. She is always looking at different angles to make a situation work. Makes sacrifices. An entrepreneur at heart. Loves the rush that comes with starting something new. As a matter of fact, she just launched a new product onto the Kenyan market. (Check out liafroproducts to learn more)
Angelica the artist.
She reads a lot. Autobiographies, business books, historical romance, you name it. She designed this website. Oh, she writes too.
Overtime, I have learnt to embrace the different versions of myself. I am still a work in process, for sure. But I hope you take time to discover who you are, and work on embracing the different versions of yourself.
On that note, I would love to learn about you. So, please do re-introduce yourself in the comment section below. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?