I’ve always been a chameleon, shifting my mannerisms depending on who I’m around. I’ll alter my attitude, the way I talk and the way I do certain things depending on who I’m around without even thinking about it; it just happens.
On one hand, this has been a positive quality of mine because I tend to get along with almost anyone. I can carry a conversation and I know how to make people feel comfortable. On the other hand, my being able to do this has caused me to lose something extremely important—myself.
This did not dawn on me until my little sister asked me a simple question: “What is something you have always wanted to do?” I drew a blank. Like, a complete and total blank. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, because I had no idea what it was I liked to do.
I looked at her with a stunned expression on my face. “Maria, I literally don’t know.” I couldn’t answer her simple question, and it freaked me out. How, at 23 years old, do I not know myself enough to come up with an answer to this simple question?
I’ve done for others, not for myself
Because of my chameleon tendencies, I am eager to try new things. In my past relationships, I have always been willing to learn about what my significant other likes and immerse myself in it. Partially because I enjoyed the new experiences, partially because it was something to do together, and (probably) partially because I wanted to impress them.
I don’t necessarily think this is a bad quality, but it isn’t exactly a good one either.
In blending in with the people around me and immersing myself in new things, somewhere along the way I lost myself. I lost who I am, and I’m not sure of who I will be. I lost myself so much, that I couldn’t even answer the simple question of “What is something you have always wanted to do?”
So I sat down, determined to figure it out.
Is writing my only unique quality?
If there is one thing I am certain of, it is that I love to write. Perhaps I don’t dedicate nearly enough time to doing so (Cue my inconsistent posts. I’m sorry 🙁 but I’m getting better!), but it’s one thing I know I love to do. However, when it comes to thinking of something I have always wanted to do, I get stuck.
One this is for sure: I have always wanted to write a book. I can say that with clear confidence, but I’m facing an internal struggle with making writing my only interest. There are so many things I can try to do, so why am I limiting myself to one unique characteristic? When people ask about my hobbies or desires, I want to be able to say more than “I like writing” or “I’m a blogger.” I want that to be a unique part of me, not my entire being.
I was struggling with this until it dawned on me—I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I am sure there are others who define themselves in one single characteristic. If I asked you to tell me something you have always wanted to do, what would your answer be?
Does your answer coincide with who you are today? Does it center on a unique characteristic that you define yourself as, or is it something completely different—something you have never imagined yourself doing?
Deep down in my heart and soul, I feel like we most of you are in the same boat I am. You thought of one thing, one aspect of yourself that you are good at, and you based your decision off that. Why on earth is it that when someone asks, “What is something you have always wanted to do?” we all turn to familiar territory instead of branching out to new sights.
You are more than a ________
Let’s turn our attention to LeBron James. Super-talented, ultra-athletic, basketball star. I can’t even put into words how incredible of an athlete he is. He’s just that good. He can do the impossible on the court and (despite his leaving Cleveland) you can’t help but admire him for that.
We all worship him for his athletic abilities, because that’s what he’s best known for. He’s known for being an incredible athlete, but his talents go beyond that. Lebron James is more than an athlete.
He’s a family man. A business mogul. A father. A husband. An all-around good person. So good, in fact, that he opened up a school (Yes, a school) in Akron, Ohio for children in the area. Children that, among other things, have the opportunity to attend college completely free of charge. All thanks to LeBron James.
LeBron James epitomizes this idea of doing something you have always wanted to do that does not coincide with one unique quality. He’s an NBA player (superstar, legend, the GOAT if you will) who opened an elementary school.
I’m sure that years ago this was something he only dreamed of doing. Something he always wanted to do. People probably expected him to want to set records, which he did…
(And those are just a few.)
But LeBron did something that no one expected him to do. He did something that I’m sure he was incredibly nervous and scared to do. He set his sights high and proved to everyone that he is so much more than an athlete.
It’s time for you to do the same
Think of something outside of your realm of expertise that you’ve always wanted to do. And, when you think of it, don’t make excuses of why you can’t accomplish it. Instead, imagine yourself actually doing it.
Maybe you’re not planning on doing something as intense as opening a school (Or maybe you are. In which case, more power to ya), but there’s something about putting yourself completely outside of your comfort zone, even if that involves truly diving deep into yourself to discover something you have always wanted to do.
Sit down, jot some ideas down and figure out something that you really want to do. Something that, after doing so, you will step back and say “Wow. That was incredible.”
That’s the first step. Now, you just have find a way to make that a reality one day. After all, they always say where there’s a will there’s a way.
P.S. I’ve always wanted to surf. I can’t swim, and I’m terrified of sharks, but one day it’ll be a reality. Even if it’s just me standing on the board in the middle of the ocean. Baby steps, remember?