I discovered this prompt via Filling the Jars, and I thought this would be an interesting, self-reflective exercise, that we could all do with from time to time.
In the past, I had moments of insecurity around who I was. On occasion, the traits that I feel make me me, were derided or criticised. The desire – perhaps the requirement – to fit in, to conform, blunted what it means to be Ben Berwick. Yes, I could be a goofball. Yes, sometimes that was a mechanism to break the ice, or have people feel I’m unthreatening. Sometimes I am still a goofball. I have a quirky nature, and I have reached a stage in my life where disguising who I am is no longer on the agenda. You take me as I am, or not at all.
Once upon a time, if I felt strangers in the street were giving me funny looks (they probably weren’t, but you know how it can seem that way), it would make me paranoid, and worry me. Nowadays, I don’t give a shit (pardon the language!) what random strangers might think. The opinions of nameless faces are not relevant to me. I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin. Ben Berwick is a quirky, sometimes irreverent, more-relaxed-than-he’s-ever-been guy, and more focused at work than he’s ever been, having learned to balance the personal and work halves of himself. I will be myself, for who else can I be? If that is too much, or not enough, all I will do is shrug my shoulders. It is only reasonable to modify my behaviour to fit different circumstances, but I will not fundamentally compromise who I am, to suit someone else.
We can (and I certainly have) tried in the past to bend over backwards to please everybody. I’ve done myself no favours jumping through such hoops. In the race to try and keep everyone happy, do we do any work to make ourselves happy? Not as much as we should.